To New Orleans sports fans, Bobby Hebert is an institution, first as a successful quarterback during the Saints’ first victorious era of football in the late 1980s and early 90s, then as one of the city’s premier sports voices on WWL radio. Nearly three decades after leading the Saints to the franchise’s first playoff appearance in 1987, Hebert is still making Big Easy sports fans smile, trading touchdowns for table service at his restaurant, Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon. Known as the “Cajun Cannon” because of his bayou roots and powerful arm, the former quarterback’s restaurant is making a name for itself by attracting sports fans, foodies, and families alike.
Located in Metairie on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon blends sports bar vibes with classic Louisiana dishes to create a laidback and delicious dining experience. “I liked the concept of having great food with a fun atmosphere that not only is awesome for watching spots, but a place where you can bring your family, too,” Hebert says.
The restaurant serves up a range of dishes including steaks, fried seafood, poboys, pastas, and Hebert’s favorite: crab cakes with crawfish sauce. “I don’t think anyone else in the city serves them like that, and they are full of lump crabmeat,” Hebert says.
If a patron is feeling exceptionally ambitious (or gluttonous), he or she can attempt the Cannon Burger Challenge: a gargantuan burger with seven patties and seven slices of cheese. The burger is free to those who can finish it, but those who fail to complete the challenge are stuck paying the $50 price tag. Hebert admits he’s not up to the challenge. “I can put some food down, for sure, but I don’t think I could do it in the time allowed,” he says.
Cannon Burger Challenge aside, Hebert considers himself a foodie, often sampling “exotic foods from all different cultures.” But his all-time favorite dish is a Cajun specialty: white beans with green peppers, served with speckled trout.
When he’s not enjoying his own restaurant, Hebert says Café Giovanni, Baru, and Cava are three of his favorite spots to grab a bite. “My wife and I love tapas,” Hebert says. “I love eating a whole fish, and Baru has an awesome one.”
Customers entering Hebert’s restaurant will certainly recognize its appeal to sports fans, with plenty of massive televisions to watch the biggest sporting events and an impressive collection of sports memorabilia decorating the restaurant. Hebert’s favorite piece of memorabilia in the restaurant is his 1991 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, displayed by the side of the bar. After sitting out the 1990 season because of a contract dispute with Saints management, Hebert returned for the 1991 season to lead New Orleans to its first division title in franchise history. “I had to overcome adversity and learn how to deal with it,” Hebert says.
That award is but one of the many ways Hebert has woven his persona into the fabric of the restaurant. Glance through the menu, and you’ll find dishes named after his kids and wife, including T-Bob’s Seafood Gumbo and the Thibo”Beaux” Burger. “Even our beloved dog Lucy has a drink named after her—the Lucy Goosey,” Hebert says of the canine-inspired cosmopolitan martini.
Despite the obvious sports theme, Hebert has refused to be pigeonholed as a “sports restaurant,” instead providing a well-rounded dining experience for a date night or for families, in addition to the city’s armchair quarterbacks. “I didn’t want it to be thought of as a sports restaurant, but a place to go with great food and atmosphere,” Hebert explains.
In a city world-renowned for its delectable cuisine, Hebert knows it sometimes takes more than just great food to attract patrons, and that’s why he takes pride in having exceptional customer service at his restaurant. “One thing that was most important was to get food out quickly and have excellent service,” Hebert says. “I’d say the most comments I get, besides liking the food, is how great our wait staff is.”
Hebert is quick to point out that any business, whether it’s a football team or a restaurant, requires great teamwork. “It starts from the top and on down,” Hebert says. “In sports and in broadcasting, it takes a whole team effort to pull it off. Being in the restaurant business, you have to be a people person, and in broadcasting, we are always in touch with the common man.”
Staying in touch with customers is Hebert’s best piece of advice to aspiring restaurateurs and is one of the key reasons he believes his restaurant has survived against fierce culinary competition in New Orleans. “I think if you have great food, great service, and food that comes out quickly, you’ve got it made,” Hebert explains. “We’ve got all of those covered.”
Another thing Hebert has covered is strong opinions, especially on the local sports teams. Sports talk radio fans are familiar with Hebert’s daily afternoon radio show with Deke Bellavia on WWL, where the “Cajun Cannon” and “The Big Chief” discuss—and rant—about popular sports topics of the day, including the New Orleans Saints.
Overall, Hebert gives the Saints’ offseason a “solid B.” “I think [Adrian] Peterson will keep the offense top five if not number one,” Hebert says. “I like the moves they’ve made, except I think they are lacking a true edge rusher to affect the opposing side of the quarterback.”
Undoubtedly, whether at a table or the bar, customers in Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon can be overheard dissecting the same topics the restaurant’s namesake discusses on-air each afternoon, wondering when the Saints will return to the playoffs or if they should try their hand at the Cannon Burger Challenge. One thing you certainly will not hear at Hebert’s establishment is any discussion of the pronunciation of the man’s last name, a la George Costanza in Seinfeld, because Hebert has etched his name in the sporting annals of the city, and he’s working on establishing a culinary legacy to rival his athletic feats. “We are always trying to improve and make it a great experience for our customers.”