Enjoy Cajun cuisine and down-home cooking at Café Pere-Dale

 CAJUN HOME COOKING. Catfish and shrimp either fried or grilled to perfection.

CAJUN HOME COOKING. Catfish and shrimp either fried or grilled to perfection.

By Helen Turner

He’s the Cajun and I’m the ‘country,’ and that’s how we describe our food – a mix of the two,” said Waymond Dale as he talked about himself and business partner Chuck Pere and their restaurant Café Pere-Dale in Denham Springs.

He continued, “We’ve been friends for about 20 years, and we were always talking about cooking and eventually started talking about starting a restaurant. I knew he wanted to have his own restaurant and serve seafood, while good ole home cooking like I grew up on is what I wanted, so we included both.”

Dale is originally from Natchitoches but has lived in Denham Springs for 19 years, and has had experience working in restaurants. Pere is a Cajun from Abbeville who grew up in his family’s seafood restaurant has been here 21 years.

They put their heads and expertise together and created the casual and cozy Café Pere-Dale on Florida Blvd., just west of the traffic light at River Road/4-H Road in Denham Springs. They opened June 1, 2016 – and then the August flood came.

“We were closed two months for renovations,” Dale explained. “We knew we would rebuild, but we were nervous; we had had regular customers but didn’t know how many of them would still be in town and if they would come to the café again,” he confided. “But we got back many of our regulars and a lot of construction workers who came to town. Plus, local policemen, who we welcome, are still here all the time.”

The café’s Cajun and home cooking regular menu includes country-fried steak, hamburger steak, and chicken prepared seven different ways, including fried and grilled with variations in the sauces, toppings and sides.

For seafood lovers, they offer cat sh and shrimp either fried or grilled, and shrimp salad.

There are two or three different specials each day such as pork tenderloin; sweet and spicy meatballs; red beans; meatloaf; shrimp fettuccini; BBQ puled pork; chicken-fried chicken; spaghetti; Cajun steak stir fry; lasagna; and wings with mild, aming or kickin’ sauces (people have been requested the kickin’ sauce so much that they have started selling it separately). All specials are served with choice of sides.

“We like to take a regular dish and put our spin on it, like Chicken Florentine which we make more Cajun than Italian; grilled pork chops; chicken sauce piquante plus new things we come up with all the time,” Dale said.

A notice of the daily special along with a photo of the dish is posted each morning on their Facebook page.

Freshly prepared wraps and salads are also popular. With the wide variety of vegetables on the menu, vegetarians have plenty to choose from, plus Dale says they are happy to cook up a vegetarian dish upon request.

“Every Friday we have to have meat loaf and mashed potatoes – because our customers would riot if we didn’t,” smiled Dale, “as well as one rotating seafood dish. It might be shrimp & grits, cat sh with shrimp cream sauce, or something else just as appetizing.”

Mondays through Fridays they close at 6 pm. Friday is the only day they stay open later, and Friday evening between 5pm-8pm is the only time they offer  ribeye steak dinners ($19.99, or with grilled shrimp for $21.99).

“We make everything as fresh as possible,” said Dale. “Chuck cuts and hand-batters all the fish, shrimp and chicken himself. When we cook beans, we cook them all day, and we also slow cook our roasts and brisket. Most entrees range in price from $7.99-$12.99. The ribeye dinner is $19.99, or, with the shrimp, $21.99.

The menu also includes a variety of burgers, poboys and sandwiches, all served with fries, regularly priced from $7.49-$9.99, but on Mondays and Wednesdays, they offer a burger and fries special for $5.

And they haven’t forgotten breakfast; stop by for freshly baked biscuits with or without egg, cheese, bacon or sausage ($1.09-$2.99); omelets; pancakes; French toast; a big breakfast platter for only $5.99 or a cup of grits or breakfast-in-a-cup, both of which can be eaten on the go (breakfast-in-a-cup has grits, eggs, cheese and meat in cup for $3.99).

When it’s time for dessert, check out their rotating assortment of homemade pies, bread pudding, cakes, strawberry shortcake, pumpkin bars and puddings – different treats each day.

Café Pere-Dale is open each weekday for breakfast and lunch, and their 6 pm closing time allows for an early supper or for picking up a take-out supper on the way home from work.

Hungry customers can also check out their regular menu and specials on Facebook and call Waitr for delivery.

Call for information about their catering for all types of events.

Details: Café Pere-Dale, 2311 Florida Blvd. SW, Denham Springs. 225-243- 4118. For Waitr delivery call 800-661-9036. Open: Mon-Thur. 7 am-6 pm; Fri. 7 am-8 pm; closed Sat. & Sun. Website: cafeperedale.com; Facebook: Café Pere-Dale.