Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jun 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Loving Louie’s

diningLaissez Les Bons Temps Rouler—Let the Good Times Roll at Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar

If you don’t know the Cajun phrase “laissez bons temps rouler”—let the good times roll—then you soon will when you enter Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar in Downtown Santa Cruz. It’s painted on the vibrant murals that cover the walls of this spacious restaurant. Brightly colored scenes of New Orleans run from one end to the other, adding an abundance of pizzazz and atmosphere.

 

Restaurant owners Lou and Christi Caviglia are thrilled with the artwork, but it was sheer happenstance that this explosion of color came about, Lou says. Local artist Taylor Reinhold was in the restaurant one day, and he and Lou got talking about Reinhold’s murals. “He said, ‘Let me blow up your walls,’” laughs Lou. And that was the start of the restaurant’s transformation.

Taylor Reinhold, Jasper Marino, Carl Quale and Elijah Pfotenhauer belong to Made Fresh Collective, a group of artists who specialize in murals. Working every night when the restaurant closed so as not to disturb customers, the four of them took two weeks to complete the artwork on Louie’s Cajun Kitchen walls back in the summer of 2012. Reinhold is proud of the work he and his team members completed, but he is even prouder of the community murals and teaching that Made Fresh Collective does with at-risk youth in Watsonville.

The murals are packed with vibrant scenes of New Orleans—complete with trumpet and trombone players and more. As you walk from one end of the restaurant to the other, it’s as if you are taking a stroll down Bourbon Street—the center of action in this swinging musical city. Even iconic New Orleans blues singer and pianist Professor Longhair is in the mural.

dining2Lou Caviglia goes Cajun in Downtown Santa Cruz“That’s the real skyline of New Orleans,” says Lou, as he describes sections of the artwork. “There’s a local surfboard—and there’s also some hanky-panky in there,” he laughs, “but you’ll have to find that for yourself. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been part of,” Lou adds, “and I just love it. It creates a mood like I’ve never seen.”

The Caviglias originally opened Clouds Downtown in 1994 and operated the restaurant for 18 years before they transformed it into Louie’s Cajun Kitchen. Now, their youngest son, Giovanni Caviglia, aged 23, is at the helm in the kitchen, having started honing his natural talents for cooking at Clouds when he was 8 years old.

 With its new menu and upbeat vibe, Louie’s is a fun place to visit to enjoy a dinner of Cajun-style food or one of their specialty drinks at the lively bar. One of the most popular, of course, is the N’Awlins Hurricane, a five-rum infusion with three fruit juices “and more rum!”—or a Louie’s Mint Julep with Buffalo Trace Bourbon muddled with lime, fresh mint and sugar, topped with a splash of soda.

Bourbon Flights are offered, too, each flight of three with a different name. Try the ‘Call a Cab’ ($15) or the ‘Tennessee’s Finest’ ($12). Louie’s also mixes up some fabulous martinis. Try the ‘Big Louie Rita’ with Herradura Blanco Tequila ($8), or the ‘Beach Bum’ made with a blend of mango and pineapple rum.  Wines by the glass or bottle are offered at reasonable prices – as well as premium beers on tap or bottled.

And when it’s time to eat, Louie’s serves up some very tasty food. Never tried fried okra? Well, now’s your chance. And try the Shrimp & Crawfish Jambalaya; Gumbo Z’herbes; Fried Oysters; Blackened Prawn Salad; Boudin Meatballs, Fried Grits; and, of course, everybody’s favorite – Catfish.

A Mardi Gras Menu is offered, a three-course prix fixe menu of different selections for $25, including the famous New Orleans Beignets for dessert. “We ran it during restaurant week,” says Christi, “and it was so popular that we continued it.”

Let the good times roll, indeed. 


Louie’s Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar, 110 Church St., Santa Cruz, 429-2000, louiescajunkitchen.com. For more information on Made Fresh Collective, visit them on Facebook.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Louie's Cajun Kitchen & Bourbon Bar ROCKS!!
written by Trixie, January 02, 2014
I have eaten at Louie's on various occasions with friends and family and I must say....it's the BEST! I love their Sunday brunch with Bacon Bloody Marys and don't even get me started on the Fried Green Tomatoes. Thank you to Lou, Christi, Giovanni and family. I look forward to my next dining experience with your wonderful staff and family.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’