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CLM Winter 2018 Food Section

VERY CULINARY TEXT BY

VERY CULINARY TEXT BY HEIDI BILLOTTO PHOTOGRAPHY BY GERIN CHOINIERE In Charlotte you can celebrate Mardi Gras every day of the year 17 | C H A R LOT TE L I V I N G

VERY CULINARY On the calendar Mardi Gras comes but once a year, but for folks who dine at Charlotte’s Cajun Queen restaurant, the celebration of good food and good times is an every night of the week occurrence. The Cajun Queen opened in the historic bungalow on 7th Street in Charlotte in 1985. Now some 33 years later the live jazz band is still playing upstairs each and every night, and the N’awluns-inspired cuisine continues to please the crowds. Chef William Wessling has been there since day one, at first as a part of the kitchen team and eventually as executive chef and partner. He knows his stuff and turns out all the classics from shrimp étouffée, the BBQ shrimp and the chicken and pasta dishes to red beans and rice seasoned with tasso ham and cooked for hours to achieve just the right flavor profile. What’s the secret to 30 successful years in the restaurant business? Westling attributes the longevity of the Cajun Queen to three distinct components: the music (The 7th Street Gator Band performs every night of the week); the food (interestingly while the chef might have better ingredient options now than in the beginning, the actual menu – nightly seafood specials aside – itself hasn’t changed much in 30 years); and the house. The historic bungalow that is home to the Cajun Queen has been on the corner of East 7th Street and Lamar Avenue in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood and is celebrating 100 years this year! Customers love the cozy comfort the old house provides. With small separate dining rooms and the music room upstairs, there is a character and an intimacy of days gone by that just isn’t found in new construction this days. The Cajun Queen is open 7 days a week – for dinner only on Monday-Saturday and for brunch and dinner on Sunday. Located at 1800 E. 7th Street, the restaurant also offers in house and off premise catering, private dining rooms, free and valet parking and a kids’ menu, too! Call 704-377-9017 for reservations or make them online at the restaurant’s website at cajunqueen.net. ■ C H A R LOT TE L I V I N G | 18

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