Let the Good Food Roll — A Taste of Mardi Gras Here in Raleigh

Take advantage of Mardi Gras season celebrated in town thanks to these local places offering Creole dishes. 
by Addie Ladner

Stanbury Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras may mostly be the realm of the deep South — a time of year when the Gulf Coast is blanketed in doubloons and spicy crawfish — but the holiday spirit is growing in Raleigh thanks to an increasing number of Louisiana transplants and Carnival enthusiasts. So put on some beads, turn up the zydeco music, stream a parade from New Orleans, and indulge in some authentic Creole cuisine from these Raleigh restaurants and bakeries to curate your own New Orleans-inspired soirée at home. 

Gumbo a la St. Roch

Where to Find Gumbo, Boudin and More

St. Roch

At St. Roch, New Orleans native and chef Sunny Gerhart will be offering a Chez Vous Kit with all you need to celebrate at home, including King Cake, boudin, andouille, pimento cheese, smoked fish dip, french bread and a Hurricane Cocktail Kit.  Dine at St. Roch’s any time of the year to enjoy Cajun cuisine but especially during Mardi Gras season where Gerhart’s hurricanes will be flowing as will the beignets, gumbo and more. 223 W Wilmington St.; strochraleigh.com 

The Big Easy

Another place to enjoy traditional New Orleans fare all year round, The Big Easy plans to elevate its usual French Quarter dine-in experience safely with beads, Abita beer, Gambino’s iconic King Cake, music and more. Order from their regular menu, things you can’t necessarily find anywhere else like Alligator Bites (yes, you read that right!), Crawfish Etouffee, or a classic New Orleans sandwich, The Muffuletta. 222 Fayetteville St.; bigeasync.com


If you’re looking for fresh crawfish shipped up from Lousiana, head to Stanbury on Feb. 14, 15 or 16 to indulge in their Cajun Fat Tuesday 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 


Hummingbird will also be missing their annual Fat Tuesday extravaganza this year but with roots in New Orleans, they’d be remiss to not celebrate the holiday somehow. They’ll announce their drink and food specials come February. Or use the holiday as an opportunity to try their Creole-inspired mainstays on the menu like marinated oysters, fried chicken livers and brioche bread pudding. 1053 E Whitaker Mill Rd; hummingbirdraleigh.com

La Farm’s King Cake | photo credit: Bob Karp

Where to Go for King Cake & Beignets 

La Farm Bakery

La Farm will be offering large King Cakes, available in-store every day between February 6 and February 16 for $26.99. Special orders start on February 1 and can be made online, via phone-in, or at the bakery. La Farm will also have Mardi Gras themed cookies. And something unique to their French roots, Europeans will enjoy Galette des Rois or The King’s Galette Bordelaise until the end of this month. These are part of the French Epiphany season, the precursor to Mardi Gras, which is widely celebrated at La Farm. 4248 NW Cary Parkway, Cary; lafarmbakery.com

Union Special Bread’s King Cake

Union Special Bread

Union Special Bread will offer a unique spin on the beloved King Cake thanks to a collaboration with Bingo Bango Soda. Come February, they’ll release a brioche-style King Cake with a peaches and cream filling that’s topped with a Lemon Peach Pomgratae Soda glaze. Individual sized ones will be $5 and available from February 13 through the 16 and large ones will be available for pre-order starting February 1 for pick up on Fat Tuesday (February 16) for $20. 2409 Crabtree Blvd; unionspecialbread.com

Lucette Grace’s King Cake

Lucette Grace 

Owner Daniel Benjamin of downtown patisserie Lucette Grace is selling their spin on the King’s Cake and Queen’s Cake for $26. For their version, which fuses French and Spanish influences with New Orleans taste, is a brioche-style “cake,” filled with pecan praline, garnished with candied fruits and topped with traditional Mardi Gras-green, gold and purple rock sugar on top. Pre-orders are encouraged, February 9th, one week following fat Tuesday. 235 S Salisbury St.; pre-orders encourage; lucettegrace.com

Great Harvest Bread

Cary-based Great Harvest Bread is selling a traditional King Cake with alternating gold, purple and green sprinkles dusted on top glaze similar to a cinnamon roll or doughnut with a loaded cinnamon sugar filling. They cost $21.95, serve from eight to ten people and they’d like you to order one day in advance. Insider tip: their King Cake bake days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. 1240 NW Maynard Rd, Cary; greatharvestcary.com

Mr. A’s Beignets

Founded by a New Orleans native, a reader tipped us off to this one who loves this spot for Louisiana beignets. They also appear to be one of the few places that serve chicory coffee in this area. Typically located at 312 S. Mason St. in Apex; squaredoughnuts.com

Night Kitchen Bakehouse & Cafe

Located on West Franklin Street, this bakery and cafe offers breads, pastries, savory food, and now, King Cakes. Made with a sweet dough with a swirl of spiced cream cheese and decorated with colored sugar, pearl sprinkles and a baby figurine, each cake is $18.50 and serves 6-8 people. Head to their website and order on Tuesday through Friday for pickup Thursday through Sunday. 10 W Franklin St Suite #140, Raleigh, NC 27604; my-site-ralnightkitchen.square.site/