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A couple in Lawton, Oklahoma has residents of their hometown loosening belt buckles as they serve up new plates of sizzling seafood dishes.

Recent newlyweds Jorion and Quotesia Rouege held a soft opening on Thursday, Nov. 4 for their new food truck business, TJ’s Seafood Shack.

“I wasn’t going out there looking to compete. I just wanted to take a small dream and turn it into a reality,” co-owner Jorion Rouege told The Black Wall Street Times.

The popular couple, who moved from New Orleans and Jesup, Georgia at a young age to Lawton, a city of roughly 91,000 residents, ended up doubling their goal on opening day. They eventually made Lawton their new home, but when it comes to their Cajun and Southern roots, the proof is in the pudding.

What started out as a few plates for friends and family in 2019 eventually turned into a savory seasoning of entrepreneurship. The food truck offers seafood favorites like catfish with a Cajun style. 

TJ’s Seafood Shack opens in Lawton, Oklahoma

Jorion, a full time semi-truck driver, may be the master chef whipping up the delectable dishes, but it was his wife Quotesia who birthed the idea, he said.

Jorion’s longtime passion for cooking led Quotesia to challenge him to dream bigger. 

“It started with my wife. It was her idea,” Rouege said.

And after a conversation in 2019 with his parents, who pushed the couple to form an LLC, a dozen dishes here and there morphed into a desire to follow their dreams.

“I have a passion for cooking. I love people’s reactions. It’s therapy for me,” Rouege said.

The couple took their time researching food trucks and the ins and outs of running a business. 

Now, they operate TJ’s Seafood Shack once or twice a week in the Lawton community at various locations.

“People want to see that you’re on top of your game. Nobody wants to support something that you don’t put your all into. So, when I get in that truck, when I get in that zone, I’m giving what I would want,” Rouege said.

It’s giving Cajun delight

Their food truck’s soft opening, held at the Arvest Bank parking lot on Cache Road in Lawton, didn’t disappoint customers.

“Dinner was fantabulous,” Bethany Isme posted on Facebook.

“Hands down some of BEST if not the best food being cooked by hand here in town!!!! If you want real home cooking this is your place and these are your people,” Pretti Escobar posted in a review.

Customers line up to order food from TJ’s Seafood Shack in Lawton, Oklahoma during their soft opening at the Arvest Bank parking lot on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Photo courtesy of: Jorion Rouege)

Embodying the spirit of Black excellence and entrepreneurship, the couple’s love for each other led them to opening the mobile food joint less than two years after getting married in March of 2021.

But their love wasn’t always on full display. In high school, Quotesia wouldn’t give Jorion the time of day.

“But I was grateful that she didn’t ‘cuz I was on bullsh*t,” Rouege said.

“As we got older, we kind of ran into each other, and she set the record straight: ‘If you’re gonna come to me, you need to come correct.’”

That was the first time he’d ever heard someone talk to him like that, Jorion said.

“It made me want her even more,” said Rouege, a proud parent of their kids, Bre’ly and Truu.

It’s about “more than money”

With a full menu of Cajun seafood, savory sides, and delicious desserts, Rouege said both he and his wife are used to working 12-hour days with a hustle mentality.

“That’s why I decided to marry her,” he said.

Ultimately, it’s about more than money for the Lawton couple.

“I’m not just selling food, I’m actually building relationships with these people, and that’s what got me where I am today.

Wanting to create a positive vibe for his customers, Rouege said he doesn’t want it to feel like a job.

 “I just want it to be fun. I play music there just to give people a vibe. We ain’t competing. We’re trying to feed our families.”

And when it comes to support from the community, Rouege wants people to know it means everything to them.

“It’s not about the physical dollar. Even if you don’t have the money, a simple post or share. That’s important,” he said.

To follow TJ’s Seafood Shack and stay up to date on their next mobile pop-up, visit their Facebook page or Instagram.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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