SEASIDE - Following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark as they ventured through the Louisiana Territory to the Oregon Coast, John Sowa and Debbie Anderson trekked cross-country in December 1999 to serve the flavors of Louisiana in Seaside.

The duo left New York City in a U-Haul and survived ice in Pennsylvania, snow in Illinois, winds and tumbleweeds in Nebraska, bad diesel fuel in Wyoming and finally high water on the outskirts of Seaside. On April 11, 2000, they opened Lil' Bayou on Holladay Drive with the help of Anderson's sister, Cindy, and the rest of her family.

The 36-seat eatery that served gumbo, jambalaya and crawfish pie, among other specialties, has grown to 75 seats plus a full bar area, the Magnolia Lounge. The menu now sports more Creole dishes, along with fusion specials and continental offerings. In June 2003, live music was added to Lil' Bayou's attractions, featuring local and regional blues, jazz and old time rock and roll acts.

To celebrate four years of successful business, Lil' Bayou presents a free buffet in the Magnolia Lounge April 9 and 10, with a surprise live band. Throughout the month, diners can enjoy a "buy one entree, get half off a second" special Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. For information, call (503) 717-0624.

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