The Ultimate Indy Mardi Gras Guide
Where to find beads, po’ boys, King Cake, and everything else you need to laissez les bon temps rouler.
Mardi Gras is fast approaching, but don’t think Fat Tuesday is the only day to get your party on. Whether you’re treating your taste buds to the best Cajun eats in Indy or dancing ’til your feet fall off, come February 9, you’ll be glad you made Mardi Gras plans to last the entire weekend.
WHERE TO PARTY
Mardi Gras Party at Grove Haus (1001 Hosbrook St., 317-917-2026). Live music, good food, and the chance to break out your dance shoes. The Pork & Beans Brass Band will be bringing the party to Indianapolis Friday, February 5, at the Grove Haus and will be joined by DJ Dicky Foxxx, The Circle City Deacons, and Coolidge. Food and beer will be catered by Fountain Square Brewing Co. and B’s Po Boy. Tickets cost $10 and the doors open at 8 p.m.
The Jazz Kitchen (5377 N. College Ave., 317-253-4900). The Jazz Kitchen is hosting an epic Carnaval party February 6. The festivities will feature a Brazilian samba band, samba dancers, plenty of Carnaval music, and big screens displaying the Carnaval parade in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Yats is catering the late-night buffet starting at 10 p.m. and there will be an array of Brazilian beers, juices, and soft drinks to get you in the spirit. Tickets cost $15 in advance—grab ’em fast before they sell out.
WHERE TO EAT
B’s Po Boy (1261 S. Shelby St., 317-916-5555). Where better to start your Mardi Gras food tour than at B’s Po Boy? Serving up their signature po’ boys year-round, this is the perfect spot to party like it’s Fat Tuesday every day of the week. B’s is also participating in Devour Downtown, offering a special menu that includes two half po’ boys for two people with your choice of alcohol.
Yats (885 Massachusetts Ave., 317-423-0518). In true Mardi Gras fashion, Yats is going all-out for Fat Tuesday. Its Mass Ave location will feature a lunchtime music performance by The Red Hot Whiskey Sippers, and its Traders Point outpost (5650 W. 86th St., 317-879-9287) will feature the Ian Smith band. Every Yats location will have plenty of beads and king cakes to go around, so make sure to pop in for some great food and lots of fun.
Bourbon Street Distillery (361 Indiana Ave., 317-636-3316). Bourbon Street Distillery will be offering a weekend of specials in honor of Mardi Gras. It will feature its Chicken and Sausage Gumbo Friday, February 5; its giant Muffaletta sandwich on Sunday; and a specialty Cabbage and Sausage Jambalaya on Fat Tuesday. There will be drinks specials on Fat Tuesday, as well, to ensure you experience Mardi Gras to the fullest.
Papa Roux Po-Boys and Cajun Eats (8950 E. 10th St., 317-603-9861). Three words: Free unlimited sides. Take note, friends, because restaurants like this are one in a million. Papa Roux will be serving up its regular menu for Mardi Gras, but the place is undoubtedly going to be packed. With menu items like their massive hand-breaded catfish Po’ Boy and signature Red Beans and Rice, it’s no wonder they’re a crowd favorite.
Borel’s Cajun & Creole Cookery (2274 W. 86th St., 317-228-9928). Borel’s is rolling out the (metaphorical) red carpet for Mardi Gras. It will be serving an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet with all your New Orleans favorites. Featured dishes will include its Crawfish Etouffee, Jambalaya with Chicken and Sausage, and tasty Hoppin John, a spicy dish made with black-eyed peas and sausage. Whatever you do, don’t forget to leave room for a slice of King Cake or a beignet.
Georgia Reese’s Southern Table & Bar (14 E. Washington St., 317-986-7883; 3454 W. 86th St., 317-876-3454). As much as we swoon over Georgia Reese’s Southern Fried Chicken, you simply can’t beat its Alligator Gumbo when celebrating Mardi Gras. If you’re more of a traditional eater, order a bowl of the Creole Style Shrimp and Grits or a Fried Catfish Po-Boy. A word to the wise: Be prepared to loosen your belt a bit after eating here.
The Ville Restaurant (101 N. 10th St., Noblesville, 317-774-5301). For those of you fancy types looking for a ritzier Mardi Gras celebration, look no further than The Ville’s special dinner buffet. Start your meal with a helping of the Creole Shrimp Cocktail served with housemade remoulade sauce and feast on delectable Creole Catfish with Red Beans and Rice. The New Orleans–style bread pudding topped with a bourbon creme anglaise is the perfect way to end your meal.
Zydeco’s (11 E. Main St., Mooresville, 317-834-3900). Zydeco’s executive chef, Carter Hutchinson, is a New Orleans native, meaning he knows what good Cajun cooking should taste like. The spot’s Ya Ya Chicken features smoky rosemary-and-garlic chicken that will knock your socks off, but the Blackened Catfish fillets served over Jambalaya is our all-time favorite. Zydeco’s features other novelty New Orleans dishes as well, such as frog legs and any number of scrumptious crawfish dishes.