Long Islanders celebrating Mardi Gras need not travel to New Orleans to join in Louisiana’s epic annual Fat Tuesday festivities because local Cajun-style restaurants and bars also host events marking the occasion.
Try as they may, few establishments on LI are bound to throw parties as lively or serve food as authentic as these half dozen Cajun joints that have menus featuring crawfish, alligator and of course, jambalaya.
This year, the party starts on Feb. 9, regardless of whether revelers plan on participating in the Christian observance of Lent that starts the following day.
Big Daddy’s Restaurant
1 Park Ln., Massapequa. 516-799-8877. bigdaddysny.com
This place takes Fat Tuesday so seriously it holds a “Mardi Madness Week” celebration featuring seven nights of live music and specials, culminating in a massive feast featuring a full buffet, music and costumes. With a welcoming feel, festive atmosphere and a large menu changing daily full of Cajun comfort food, Big Daddy’s is known as the go to place for a Cajun Creole Fix. Big Daddy’s offers a variety of Cajun specialties, from seafood dishes such as Motor Mouth Stuffed Shrimp and Jambalaya to Vieux Carre Pork and Waffles and BBQ Beef Po’Boy. Patrons be warned: This restaurant goes full-on Cajun with the spices. The Bayou
2823 Jerusalem Ave., Bellmore. 516-785-9263. bayou4bigfun.com
The week-long Mardis Gras party continues with Cajun eats and live music at this lively eatery with great ambiance. A go-to for the right atmosphere to “get you in the Mardi-Gras mood,” this small and quirky restaurant serves strong drinks and has a lively bar scene, catering to a less child-oriented crowd. With creative food/drink presentation and an authentic feel, this is among the most festive places to celebrate.
Storyville American Table Restaurant
43 Green St., Huntington. 631-351-3446. storyvilleamericantable.com
Storyville is also hosting “Mardi Gras Madness” celebrations for more than week culminating with a big celebration on the day itself. With an authentic and sophisticated feel, Storyville American Table Restaurant gives a true Louisiana experience. Committed to fresh food, this eatery boasts homemade pickles, authentic house sauces and house-ground meat for their burgers. This lively spot caters to all tastes with a large varied menu and is great for a night out. Dishes not to miss include the gumbo, beignets, catfish and mussels.
Treme Blues and Jazz Club
553 Main St., Islip. 631-277-2008. tremeislip.com
One of the few intimate upscale live music venues of its kind on LI, named for the French Quarter neighborhood where jazz was born, this Blues bar is normally open Thursday through Sunday—except for their epic annual Fat Tuesday party. Headlining this year’s show is the Gulf Coast-inspired Dave Clive’s Nawlins Funk Band. Although the club is more known for their music than their food, specials on cocktails, Gumbo and Mardis Gras King Cake are among the mouthwatering items on their menu that includes small plates and desserts. There will be beads!
Biscuits and Barbeque
106 East 2nd St., Mineola. 516-493-9797. biscuitsandbarbecue.com
The weekend-long Mardis Gras festivities at this diner-style eatery consist of specials on Crawfish Pie, Alligator Ribs, Louisiana Smothered Shrimp, Gator Sausage and Mardis Gras King Cake, plus too many more to list here. A casual joint housed in a converted trailer, this neighborhood haunt is a cosy spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner in a lively atmosphere. Dishes not to miss include the biscuits and gravy (but be warned, get this to share—it is huge), the brisket, the mac n cheese and the shrimp po’boy.
236 West Jericho Tpke., Syosset. 516-682-9200. marashomemade.com
OK, this place isn’t hosting any Mardis Gras festivities, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include them in our roundup of local Cajun eateries. Mara’s is a Cajun barbeque joint great for casual eats, with must-have dishes including the crawfish-stuffed baguette, lobster, gator bites (yes alligator!) and the andouille crusted tilapia. The owner herself often comes to check in on patrons, contributing to the hospitable atmosphere. Don’t forget to save room for their famous bluegrass pie, homemade beignets and fresh seasonal fruit pies as a delicious way to have an authentic Mardi Gras experience.
*Nawlins Seafood Co.
301 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport. nawlinsseafood.com
So, this place won’t give the Nautical Mile a taste of The Big Easy until they open for business this spring. But, their sister restaurant, Rachel’s Waterside Grill, will host a Mardis Gras party featuring samples of the Nawlins Seafood Co.’s menu, including gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, hurricanes and more. The party features live music by The Zone.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!