by Brian Wall
Ain? You got an ahnvee for some good ol’ jambalaya? Well, don’t boude’! Come depi bon manje at Crawdaddy’s! (If you haven’t figured it out, this is Cajun! Imagine Ray the firefly from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog talking. See the end of this article for translation).
Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to a rare find in our Central Valley, Visalia’s own old New Orleans style restaurant: Crawdaddy’s.
Since my early teenage years I have been enamored by all things jazz. As any jazz aficionado will understand, you can’t love jazz without developing an affection for New Orleans. I’d picture myself walking down Bourbon Street while music akin to that of Louis Armstrong and Harry Connick, Jr. comes dancing out of local venues. I’d venture into one of many restaurants and enjoy some local cuisine while being serenaded by a lone saxophonist embellishing his own rendition of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”
Of course this is just an image I have in my head. Though not quite the same as this ideal image of mine, I was excited to find Crawdaddy’s in downtown Visalia. Where else can you go for a tasty plate of Boudin Balls, a steaming bowl of Crawfish Étouffée soup, or just a Big Ol’ Bowl of Red Beans and Rice!? For the less adventurous soul, consider a tasty bowl of their Down Home Mac n’ Cheese, N’awlins Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Fried Steak, or splurge on a Grilled 14 oz. Rib Eye Steak. Spend $9.99 or more and your kids (10 and under) eat free! Personally, my wife and I rarely venture far from the spaghetti and meatballs or mac n’ cheese, and we always get a side of their sweet potato fries. Mmh, mmh good!
Come for dinner any evening, Wednesday through Saturday, and you’ll find yourself being entertained with live music by Keith Korsgaden and the Crawdads band (Keith being the owner of Crawdaddy’s). One time we were there enjoying the live music and the band took a break. While on their break, a friend of the restaurant (who happened to be somewhat tipsy) decided to do his own intermission show! Suffice it to say it was equally entertaining.
If you’re interested in the nightclub scene, Crawdaddy’s has that as well. Honestly this isn’t my scene, so you’ll have to get that review from somebody else (you may recall I’m the guy who likes to go camping alone – away from people – not exactly a big “nightclubber!”). The nightclub is on the second floor and we’ve been around as things were taking off up there, and it was quite the raucous crowd. Best not to go if you’re under the age of 21, as they use electronic card readers to scan your ID. Luckily there’s a Regal movie theater just across the street and the whole downtown area to explore, which is more my speed. (If you haven’t discovered downtown Visalia, it’s well worth a visit!)
My wife and I don’t eat out often, and it’s even less often we find ourselves in nice sit-down restaurants, so we’re fairly discriminating when we do. There are a lot of nice restaurants vying for my dollar, and for the unique atmosphere, quality of food, and free entertainment, Crawdaddy’s packs quite a punch. And don’t forget those sweet potato fries! Learn more on their website.
Curious about that Cajun intro? The straight English translation of the title is, “Crawdaddy’s, Let the Good Times Roll!,” and the opening would be, “What? You have a hunger for some delicious jambalaya? Well, don’t pout! Come for some good food at Crawdaddy’s!” Thanks to Terry Eymard’s Guide to Bayou Cajun Words & Expressions and an online Cajun Dictionary for helping me compose those phrases.
If you like New Orleans & vampires check out KRL’s review of the latest True Blood book by Charlaine Harris.