Almost everyone he met at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette told him that sooner or later he had to open a food truck or restaurant. The food they cooked was very tasty and well prepared to be kept with friends and family.
Now that his playing career is over, he decides to just follow the advice.
Shane Vallot, a former Cajuns line operator, recently opened Big Thane’s, a food truck that serves Cajun cuisine. The grand opening took place in a warehouse in front of the Daiquiri Supreme on Johnston Street, where it will be there every Wednesday at 11 a.m., offering a preliminary version of the full menu, which, he said, will be out by the end of the month.
“That’s just to get started. I love to cook,” said Vallot, who played five seasons with the Cajuns. “Well, I simply don’t know how to cook a little food.”
Fallot said the first version of the business plan was pieced together last year. The idea for Big Thane was conceived in August, while on vacation with his family. He had just finished cooking for his family that day, when he told his uncle of his intention to open a food truck in the future.
“He just told me that if I was serious, he could help me. I was damn serious. So he supported me throughout the process and became my business partner.
It took them a short time to find a good truck company in Houston to cut a deal. It took a few weeks to design and customize the sign he had in mind: a truck perched on a wave of flame in the image of a grill.
At the bottom is a sign in Cajun French that says “Ga de dón, ça c’est bon!” And it means, “Well, look at this, it’s good!”.
“I simply loved him,” Fallot said. “They did a great job, and I think we found the perfect way to express what Big Thane is all about: good Cajun food that makes you feel good about life.”
A former offensive lineman from Comeaux High, Vallott has always accepted roles of responsibility on the field. When coach Billy Napier moved him to the center after 2017, he wasn’t shaken by the challenge for a second. He’s moved steadily from Series 4 to 2 on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ offensive line depth chart and has done the job his team needed.
In 2021, he started all 14 games in position, became one of the leaders of the Ragin’ Cajuns attacking line that ranked fourth in the Sun Belt and impressed football fans at Lafayette.
“I have to tell you this: Playing football in high school and then at UL taught me everything I need to know about driving,” he said.
“I’ve played football for many years and have always enjoyed my time doing it with friends and teammates. Now, I’m just trying to bring the same fun and focus to Big Thane, and put in the same energy that I used on the field.”
Big Thane’s launch menu offers sausage, jambalaya, corn, and next week red beans. Almost the full list is here, Fallot said. He promised that everything would be fresh and interesting, but added that if he had to choose what to start with, he would go with one of his specialties.
“I called it a quesadilla burger, and it’s basically a quesadilla style burger with fresh meat,” Fallot said. “But let me also say the other best options would be the crab balls, the mac and cheese burger, the seafood burger, and the chicken sandwich. We’ll have Cajun fries too.”
Vallot said he hopes Big Thane will launch a second food truck location by the end of the first business year with the goal of starting a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the future.
“But for me this is really a dream come true,” he said. “I hope we do a great job.”