Sal’s Gumbo Shack Brings a Bit of the Bayou to North Long Beach • Long Beach Post

salsgumboshack

Owner Sally Bevans. Photo by Charles Snyder. 


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On the corner of East Allington Street and Long Beach Boulevard in North Long Beach sits a quaint family restaurant with the taste and feel of the Big Easy.

Crossing through the threshold, imagination carries you away to Louisiana–to New Orleans, specifically–by the rich, mouthwatering aromas of gumbo and jambalaya coupled with great southern hospitality from owner Sally Bevans. As you approach the register, Bevans–the owner and head chef–greets you with such a smile that the day’s stresses just evaporate. And if you stay awhile, you soon become family and realize you are home.

Sal’s Gumbo Shack is the hub for gumbo and soul food in Long Beach and Bevans has worked diligently to get this far.

Sal’s opened in 2012 and celebrated its one-year anniversary on May 3–a great feat for a small, self-funded, no bank loan, sole proprietorship. But Bevan’s is no stranger to struggle.

salsgumboshackboofriesThe so-called “Gumbo Queen of Long Beach” started from humble beginnings. In 2009, she moved to Coolidge Triangle in uptown and worked two jobs to pay the mortgage and provide for her two children. Over the years, about 25 to be exact, to supplement her two jobs during the holidays, she would cook gumbo and homestyle Belizean food for friends and family.

In 2011, she ventured out with friends to start a tax business that didn’t bode too well and in 2012 Bevans found her day job’s position on the chopping block. Her job was saved, but the near-cut gave her just enough juice to pursue her dreams of opening up her own business.

In 2012, Bevans quit her job, took out her 401k, stepped out on faith and decided to open up a Louisiana-style soul food restaurant on the north side. Sal’s Gumbo Shack was born. 

A restaurant owners day-to-day is met with unseen variables, gains and losses. Bevans makes it work with grace.

Her day begin’s at 7:30AM, shopping for all the ingredients to make her gumbos daily. Bevans cooks from 8AM until the doors open at 11AM and doesn’t leave until after 9PM most days. Being the only cook and head manager can be a daunting task and it seems it can spread Bevan’s thin at times.

salsgumboshackjambalaya“Hardest thing is how do I clone myself? Make somebody think and cook like me?” Bevans says. “Keeping the integrity of the food is important to our success.”

Bevans has already made an indelible mark on Long Beach and has her sights set on the future. Her five-year vision is to build a state-of-the art Sal’s that includes a million-dollar kitchen, live music and larger space, making it feel like a lounge and restaurant. Bevans wants to stay in North Long Beach; she loves the community in the north that has given her so much.

Though she is new to the restaurant industry and at times Bevans has been driven to her wits end, “failure is not an option” she says.

Sal’s Gumbo Shack is located at 6148 Long Beach Blvd., (562) 422-8100, salsgumboshack.com

Notable Menu Items

  • Swamp H20: Sweet nectar and great companion when washing down Sal’s spicier dishes. Tastes like a combination of Southern sweet tea and lemonade.
  • Gumbo:All the great ingredients you love in a Gumbo-crab, shrimp, sausage, rice, but the rue is the prize-a cacophony of spice and perfect viscosity; it’ll have you talking about it for day’s afterward and surely will provoke you to visit again.
  • Jambalaya:green peppers and spice with cut up sausage-a Louisiana staple that sticks to your palate and never lets up.
  • The Rex Special (Named after 9th District Chief of Staff Rex Richardson): A Po’ Boy on a French roll with fried catfish and shrimp glazed in Sal’s house sauce with lettuce and tomato surround by a field of seasoned fries-almost enough food for two. A great combination of creamy, spicy, and fried food.
  • Boo Fries: shredded smothered beef laid above golden fries topped with cheese. If you are a meat and potato kinds of person, you’ll love this!

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