Every day is Mardi Gras at Coosh’s

Coosh’s staff and local supporters gather at the local food truck parked outside the restaurant at the 20th Crawfish Bawl. Photo by Oriana Plummer

If you want to get your hands on some extraordinary New Orleans Cajun-styled cuisine, paired with a family friendly atmosphere, you may find yourself at Coosh’s Bayou Rouge.  Bridging the gap between authentic south Louisianan food and Tallahassee, Coosh’s 20th Annual Crawfish Bawl Celebration took place on Saturday at their north-side location. Family, friends and even pets gathered to celebrate the locally owned, Mardi Gras inspired restaurant.

Driving along Oak Water’s main road, you couldn’t miss one of Tallahassee’s favorite family events if you tried. The sensational aroma of crawfish and a “good time” would genuinely captivate you. The concept of the celebration was birthed in the small restaurant that started the Bayou Rouge family. Owner and Louisiana native Coosh Willis exudes his love and humility for his community by making sure he remains cognizant of the various experiences of his customers, even at the heart of his own event.

“Twenty years ago, we started in a little restaurant off Kerry Forrest Parkway. We had our very first Crawfish Bawl and everyone loved it. We’ve been having one every year. We’re kind of worried about it this year but we are still excited, everyone seems to be very excited to get out and try to do something outside and really enjoy it,” Willis said.

“We did well over a thousand pounds of crawfish. We had barbecue and live music from Tom and The Cats – we had a great time, it was incredible,” he added.

Many business owners and families were longing for some community initiation and involvement while also being able to comfortably enjoy themselves. In preparation for the event, the restaurant made certain to convey a lucid message about the expectation of safety and precaution from everyone involved in the event.

The restaurant staff assisted with providing three sanitizing stations while taking temperatures periodically. Local veteran Roy Moore described the celebration as “excellent” and confirms the authenticity the establishment was built on.

“We got out here about two o’clock and now it’s about five o’clock, so you know we had a great time. The crawfish was excellent. If you ever want the real thing, the real deal — come to Coosh’s,” Moore said.

It’s all about having a good time, Willis said.

“In Louisiana we always say, ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler.’  This means, ‘Let the good times roll.’ Over here we like to make people happy and have fun doing it and I think that’s what we do,” Willis said. Considering most of the different diets that deserve accommodations, pescatarians and those who enjoy meat diets aren’t the only ones living it up at Coosh’s.

Tallahassee native David Grady has been enjoying the festivities with his co-workers for over a year. Although Grady is now a part of the vegan community, he still enjoys all that the celebration has to offer.

“When I arrived, the live band was coming to an end, but it really moved my soul to see kids dancing and parents enjoying themselves — it brought me to my childhood,” Grady said. “I was introduced to Coosh’s back when I was a meat eater by my co-workers, and it was delicious but now – I really like the environment. It still feels like home.”

Some of Coosh’s fan favorites include a mixture of Cajun and American-styled dishes like jambalaya, red beans and rice or crawfish etouffee. The place where every day is Mardi Gras hopes to continue to place their mark on the community they helped to cultivate. You can enjoy the CollegeTown or the north side location every day of the week. To stay updated on weekly events, menus and some cool photos, check out Coosh’s social media pages.IG: @cooshbr @cooshsnorthside