While Louisiana is the true heartland when it comes to gumbo and its many variations, the proliferation of Cajun and Creole restaurants and top chefs around the US will make sure you’re not left out on this holiday if a trip to Louisiana isn’t in the cards.
Discover Flavorful Gumbo Around the US
Check out these restaurants for their spin on the basic gumbo recipe of roux (thick brown sauce), rice, okra, seafood and spices.
Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in Beaumont is an old-world seafood shack where the community is as important as the food. The menu is proudly Mexicajun fusion, but the gumbo is strictly Cajun. Made with chicken as well as seafood, sausage and spicy shrimp, the gumbo cries out for a cool New Orleans-style frozen drink to cut the heat.
Beaumont’s Crazy Cajun offers meat-lovers a gumbo full of chicken and large chunks of spicy Andouille sausage. The restaurant’s gumbo is carefully blended and cooked to ensure a balance of flavor and spice with a somewhat thinner broth than other versions. An original recipe, the gumbo is time and temperature controlled to ensure a delicate balance of flavor and heat. For National Gumbo Day, you can add a cup to any entrée for just $3, and buy some frozen to take home.
Closer to the Louisiana border, The Schooner in Nederland is one of the Gulf Coast’s oldest seafood and steak houses. Gumbo is a religion at this landmark restaurant with a rich, dark roux base that has taken years to perfect. Don’t even dream of asking what goes into their exclusive spice blend. Just order one of their three seafood choices and enjoy shrimp, shrimp and crab, or shrimp, crab and crawfish. Planning a party? Their “Gumbo by the Gallon” is legendary.
The Deep South
Alabama knows gumbo, too. Lucy “Lulu” Buffett, Jimmy Buffett’s sister, grew up on a tradition of music and gumbo. Her colorful restaurant, Lucy Buffett’s Lulus in Gulf Shores, continues her grandmother’s tradition of refining and varying the recipe based on travel and cultural influences. Regardless of the “improvements,” one ingredient is a constant: the fresh Gulf shrimp sourced locally. Lucy loves gumbo so much that she has the words “Gumbo Love” painted on the restaurant’s bright aqua roof.
Tennessee won’t let you down on National Gumbo Day. New Orleans native Chef/Owner Brian Landry serves up a decadent seafood gumbo at Marsh House. Chef Landry brings the flavors of the Crescent City to the Nashville eatery with a sea-centric version of the classic NOLA dish, made with shrimp, crab, okra and Andouille sausage. Located in the city’s buzzy Gulch neighborhood, Marsh House serves up elevated Gulf Coast cuisine both indoors and outdoors.
With a local spin on the Cajun dish, the gumbo at Alpharetta, Georgia’s South Main Kitchen is made with Carolina gold rice, smoked Conecuh sausage and chicken. The result is a less-thick gumbo where the rice is cooked outside and then added on top, preventing the mixture from getting mushy. True to South Main Kitchen’s updated Southern style, the chef also adds house-made pepper vinegar gumbo to add brightness.
New Orleans-born chef David Guas brings his Louisiana background north to the Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, Virginia. For National Gumbo Day, the eatery is offering a special gumbo made with smoked sausage, chicken, rice and green onion. Chef Guas is very particular about his gumbo, having perfected it over the years after learning from his Aunt Boo. His secret? “The roux is the soul of gumbo, and that comes with experience.”
Out West, The Oyster Bar, Lake Tahoe is celebrating National Gumbo Day with half off its signature New Orleans-style gumbo. Stick with the basic version, a hearty combination of Andouille sausage, shrimp and okra, or add chicken as an option. Lake Tahoe’s first and only raw seafood bar, The Oyster Bar in the Hard Rock Casino serves up a full menu of New Orleans favorites and oysters.
Chef Emeril Lagasse celebrates everything Creole at his Emeril's New Orleans Fish House at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Gumbo here is a mix of shrimp and Andouille sausage, done up in Lagasse’s signature New New Orleans style of cooking. Pair it with any of the seafood mains on the menu or ask for it as part of a tasting menu, Vegas-style.