Cajun cuisine in Picayune
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 3, 2015
In many people’s opinions, the South is best known for its Creole and Cajun cooking.
People from all around the globe pay homage to the South and its spicy cuisine year round.
Now, many of the world’s visitors, not to mention locals, can sample the tasty offerings at Picayune’s newest dining establishment, Who Dat Café.
Owner Cindy Tarver has 30-years of nursing experience, but a lifetime filled with a “passion for cooking.”
Tarver was born and raised in Picayune and comes from a long line of cooks, including her grandmother and mother.
“Every Sunday we gather for a family feast,” Tarver said. “My 82-year-old mother, Inez Seal, cooks for about 25 people. She is famous for her chicken and dumplings in her church circle.”
Tarver said she wanted to open her café because she loves the New Orleans Saints football team, has a passion for food and cooking and loves Picayune.
Evidence of Tarver’s love for the black and gold team can be seen throughout the restaurant in the placement of fleurs-de-lis and the team’s colors on the wall.
Tarver gleans from her experience as a nurse when it comes to proper sanitation practices.
“I know the proper hand washing techniques, cleanliness procedures and cross-contamination,” Tarver said. “Prior to opening, I cleaned every surface with bleach. Nursing is also about service, as is the restaurant business.”
Tarver describes her menu as creole southern cuisine and enjoys putting her own little “zing” in her dishes.
There are daily lunch specials Monday through Friday. Monday is always red beans and rice and Friday is always a seafood dish, Tarver said. Each entrée is served with sides.
The Who Dat’s Café’s menu also includes po boys, sandwiches, shrimp creole, fried catfish and salads.
“Every day I try to prepare a gourmet bread pudding,” Tarver said. “Once people get a taste of it, they are pretty much coming back for more.”
Tarver has about seven employees and cooks all the dishes herself.
“The community’s response has been great,” Tarver said. “Everyone has really come out to support and embrace us.”
Patrons may also order take-out, Tarver said. Delivery is available for orders totaling more than $75.
The Who Dat Cafe´is located at 728 W. Canal St. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hungry patrons may soon be able to enjoy their favorite Cajun cuisine in the evenings as well. Tarver said she is working on keeping the kitchen open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Learn more about the café through the Facebook group Who Dat Café and Grill.
For more information, contact the restaurant at 769-926-2099.