Saturday, I joined a group of ladies who are fellow members of the Arkansas Women Bloggers to check out Cajun's. Unlike most of the attendees, I have a history here. I've been visiting Cajun's since the 1970s, on-and-off towed there with different individuals and later hanging out there a bit myself. I don't visit as often as I should, but that probably needs to change.
Then in the 1990s the Landrys folks came knocking, and it was a good time to go do something else like the international travel Ringgold wanted to try. Landry's came in, and (this, of course, is editorializing), there was a collective groan from some of the restaurant's regulars (okay, not so much editorializing, I remember the groans personally). Without its original team and under the auspices of a company that runs hundreds of other joints, Cajun's lost its soul.
|Mary Beth Ringgold.|
"To do that, I assembled three partners, one of whom was my sister, who had vacated from Vermont, her kids were both in college and she was empty nesting. I said 'come down here and we'll figure out what we can do.' So my sister (Sandy Chance), Marilyn Green - who I hired back in 1986 and did all my banquet and catering and helped us develop that whole department - and James Willis, who's back in the kitchen today and started at 16 years old as a dishwasher. So those were my three business partners. We're not stockholders by day, We do this 100 percent of the time."
The group Ringgold assembled opened Caper's in west Little Rock on Highway 10 back in 1997. And in 1999, Landry's came calling.
In 2007, Ringgold stepped out again with another idea and sparked up Copper Grill downtown. I'll be talking about Copper Grill at some other point, you betcha.
|Dan Kovach, general manager, gives a wine tasting round.|
Actually, the big reason I don't do a lot of Cajun's is, it's an evening dining place. I have a young child, and... I dunno, it's out on the river and close to downtown and once I get settled after working all day it's just... I almost said too far away, but I'm not going to. Frankly, there's no good reason and I'm going to rectify that soon.
|Crab au Gratin.|
Okay, I'm a cheapskate. Or budget-minded, as it were. I'm trying to pinch every bit out of every penny, which
So Cajun's Wharf is doing something new. It's open for lunch now. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., it'll be open for folks
We tried a lot of stuff... and for once, I did not get the shrimp enchiladas, surprise there. We sampled a lot of different appetizers, including the Crab Au Gratin, which I will now always order every single
|Shrimp and Crawfish Cake.|
|Mushroom and brie soup, the daily special.|
So, one of my dining companions had those ridiculous Shrimp Enchiladas, which for once I did not have, and here's what they look like. And they are great. They really are.
The Pan-Seared Grouper is there... as are the Crispy Fish Tacos and of course the Kentucky Hot Brown. I can't imagine a Cajun's
|Catfish Po'Boy with hashbrown casserole.|
|White Chocolate Bread Pudding.|
And we sampled through all these desserts -- an Oreo cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake, coconut cream pie, bread pudding, the unusual
Anyway... you thought this was going to be short. So did I. Ah well. Cajun's is doing lunch, and I bet it catches on, because Cajun's. I mean, when you grow up here, especially at my age, Cajun's Wharf is just part of the fabric of dining life. Now maybe I'll get my butt out there more, maybe spend some time on the deck once it warms back up. And maybe I can get some more of that dang mushroom brie soup. Maybe.
2400 Cantrell Road
Little Rock, AR 72202