15 Ways to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the Triangle

King Cakes, frog legs, parties, and blues — consider these ideas to celebrate Mardi Gras in Raleigh.
by Emily Gajda

photo credit: Eamon Queeney

Mardi Gras isn’t just on Fat Tuesday — it’s a whole season that spans the entire month of February this year. Since we can’t all make it to New Orleans (though you can stream most of the parades from home), there are lots of ways to celebrate right here in the Triangle. Pick up specialty bakes, grab a Creole-inspired bite, or take part in festivities in-person with drinks and music. From pastries and crawfish to beads and brews, here are 15 ways to enjoy Mardi Gras in Raleigh in 2022. As more bars and restaurants solidify their plans, we’ll update this post accordingly. 

Where to Find King Cakes and Beignets


Since opening in 2014, lucettegrace owner and baker Daniel Benjamin has served a few different kinds of King Cakes, including Roscon de Reyes, a Spanish pastry traditionally filled with candies and nuts, which he believes is the main inspiration for the king cakes we see in stores today. This year, Benjamin will be preparing Roscon de Reyes with a cream-filled brioche-like dough garnished with candied fruit and almonds. They are $28 and serve eight, and come with a porcelain figure to place inside (their version of the more traditional plastic baby). Orders can be placed by phone, online, and in-shop from February 24 until March 1 for pickup February 24 or 25, and March 1, 4 or 5.  235 S. Salisbury Street; lucettegrace.com

Great Harvest Bread Company

Great Harvest Bread Company is offering a traditional King Cake filled with cinnamon sugar and dusted with green, purple, and gold atop a cinnamon-roll style glaze. The cake feeds 10 to 12 people and costs $21.95. Great Harvest requests you order at least one day in advance.  1220 NW Maynard Road, Cary; great-harvest-bread-company.square.site

Mr. A’s Beignets

Mr. A’s Beignets, founded by a New Orleans native, is a food truck offering delicious and fluffy Louisiana beignets. They also serve chicory coffee – an coffee substitute used when the New Orleans port was blockaded during Civil wartime and has since become a popular additive to coffee for Louisiana natives.  Locations vary (check site for details) but often 312 S. Mason Street, Apex; squaredoughnuts.com

La Farm Bakery

Baker Lionel Vetinet will be adding a special touch to La Farm Bakery’s King Cake this year with his rich cinnamon-swirl brioche dough. Don’t worry though, it will still be glazed and sprinkled with traditional purple, green, and gold. The family-size King Cake is $17.99 and includes festive beads and a Mardi Gras baby for you to hide. Order two days ahead to guarantee your King Cake at lafarmbakery.com or by calling any La Farm Bakery location.  4248 NW Cary Parkway, Cary; lafarmbakery.com

Union Special

Now with two locations, Andrew Ullom’s Union Special bakery will be offering individual sized King Cakes with a zingy cinnamon filling and cream cheese glaze on top. They cost $6 each and they go live on the bakeries online ordering platform at 4 p.m. each day for pick up the following day (available this Saturday through Tuesday) 2409 Crabtree Blvd Suite 102 Raleigh; unionspecialbread.com

Make Your Own

Ready to try your hand at making this special treat yourself? St. Roch’s Sunny Gerhart shared the recipe for his fluffy cinnamon brioche cake and cream cheese icing with us so you can make it from home. He also shared his recipes for Fat Tuesday and Creole staples like pimento cheese and gumbo in case you want to prepare your own feast this year.

Where to Eat Creole and Louisiana Fare

The Big Easy

The Big Easy is one of Raleigh’s only restaurants dedicated to serving North Carolinians home-cooked Creole food all year round. With staples like Cajun Catfish, Crawfish Étoufée, and Alligator Bites (for real), the Big Easy invites you to experience dining NOLA-style. For an authentic New Orleans lunch, try the classic Muffuletta sandwich.  222 Fayetteville St.; bigeasync.com

St. Roch

As Fat Tuesday approaches each year, Wilmington Street’s St. Roch adds several Mardi Gras delicacies to the menu: crawfish and King Cake – and hurricanes. Inside, the walls are papered in a muted blue toile featuring the wrought-iron gates of the historic St. Roch Cemetery, the voices of New Orleans legends Louis Armstrong, Irma Thomas, and Big Freedia, plus oysters and river boats. Between the classic environment and the cuisine, Mardi Gras is a perfect excuse to visit this New Orleans bistro.  223 W Wilmington St.; strochraleigh.com 


Hummingbird is a great place to get Creole-inspired food all year. Though their plans for Mardi Gras are still being determined, you can try authentic Creole dishes like buffalo frog legs, fried chicken livers, smoked marinated oysters, gumbo, and plenty more for a taste of Louisiana.  In celebration of the holiday they will be offering crawfish by the pound and half priced cocktails on Saturday from from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. -3 p.m.1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd; hummingbirdraleigh.com


Blount Street’s neighborhood restaurant always shows up on Fat Tuesday with extra tables and music set up outside, making room for a traditional crawfish boil and big vats of jambalaya. Guests are invited to either dine outside or inside where they’ll have a special Creole-inspired menu. In year’s past, they’ve served up crab au gratin, deep-fried Louisiana frog legs, po’boys, crawfish étouffée, and bananas foster. 938 North Blount St.; stanburyraleigh.com 

Carolina Brewery

Pittsboro’s Carolina Brewery is holding a Mardi Gras Shrimp Boil on February 26 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., with music by Triangle blues musician Lee Gildersleeve and North Carolina shrimp from B & J Seafood. Food starts at noon, Lee Gildersleeve will be playing from 3-5 p.m, and there will be a host of craft beers to try and $7 Hurricanes all day. 12-8 p.m.; 120 Lowes Drive #100, Pittsboro; carolinabrewery.com

Where to Find Mardi Gras Music & Drinks

Mardi Gras Bar Crawl 

This year, Raleigh’s Mardi Gras Bar Crawl will be back on the evening of February 26. One ticket includes waived door cover charges, a costume contest, and discounted food and drinks at venues like Alchemy, Halcyon, Dogwood Bar, and Glenwood Social Club. Grab some friends, throw on some beads and costumes, and make your way down Glenwood Avenue and across downtown, Bourbon Street style.  Starting at $15; locations shared with registered participants; Tickets at barcrawllive.com

C. Grace Costume Carnival

Catch some blues — the good kind — the Sunday before Fat Tuesday at C. Grace’s Costume celebration. Immerse yourself in the energy of the French Quarter with Tarot readings and NOLA-inspired food in this cocktail lounge that offers live jazz and a speakeasy feel. Order yourself a Sazerac (the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans), and let the good tunes roll. February 27, 8-11 p.m.; $60 + fees; 407 Glenwood Avenue; Tickets at eventbrite.com

Mardi Gras at Vecino

Carrboro’s Vecino Brewing Co. is having a celebration on March 1 with their craft brews and lots of beads. They will have NOLA-style food prepared by Chef Benjamin Gill, King Cake from a local bakery complete with the hidden baby, and Chapel Hill-based jazz and blues band New Orleans Masquerade. A reservation counts as your party’s ticket, and Vecino will contact you after registration to confirm party size and preferred seating type. March 1, 4-8 p.m.; free; 300 E. Main Street, Carrboro; Register at eventbrite.com

Mardi Gras Party @ Fortnight Brewing Company

In case you want to keep the party going even after Fat Tuesday marks the official end to the season of Mardi Gras, Cary’s Fortnight Brewing Co. will have beads, music, dancing, and drinks on the evening of Sunday, March 6, 7-9 p.m.; $12 online, $15 at the door; 1006 SW Maynard Road, Cary; Tickets at eventbrite.com


This post originally appeared in February, 2022 on waltermagazine.com