Article and photo by Lisa Crockett; courtesy photo
Fat Tuesday is March fourth. A day of fun in the French Quarter filled with parades and parties would be a great way to celebrate, but for most of us here in Colorado, it will be just another day. All is not lost, however. If you’ve got a hankering for the sweet and savory treats associated with Mardi Gras, but don’t have a plane ticket to Louisiana, just head up Santa Fe Drive to NoNo’s Café for some classic New Orleans-style cuisine.
Opened by native Louisianans Brian and Sonda Brewster in 1996, the menu features fare familiar to fans of the Big Easy. Cajun style blackened catfish and ribs, gumbo, bisque, and rich macaroni and cheese. Southern-style sweets like bread pudding and beignets go great with café au lait – a blend of coffee and chicory with steamed whole milk.
“We’re very proud of our food and think it is delicious. Everything is made from scratch,” said Sonda. “Our heritage is one of good food. It doesn’t have to be spicy – not everything on our menu is – but it does have to taste good.”
On a recent visit, I enjoyed a fried shrimp po-boy, the classic New Orleans sandwich. The shrimp was plump and tender and the seasoning was pleasantly spicy without being overpowering. A bag of Zapp’s potato chips – made in Louisiana – were a nice, authentic addition.
Breakfast is served every day as well, featuring southern specialties like biscuits and gravy alongside western favorites like breakfast burritos. Weekend brunch also offers special dishes like “Ragin’ Cajun Grits and Two Eggs” and “Breakfast in Bread,” a tasty mixture of potatoes, eggs, ham, and onions in a bread bowl with sausage gravy.
“We don’t do just southern food,” said Sonda. “We do great homestyle food like spaghetti and meatballs and beef stroganoff. Our breakfast burritos have our fantastic green chili, and people eat them all day.”
Of special interest this time of year is the king cake, which is a coffee cake-style dessert. Made only during Mardi Gras season, the king cake is a New Orleans favorite, adorned with a colorful sugary topping and boasting a small, hidden toy “king.” The person who gets the king in their slice is supposed to bring a king cake to the next gathering. NoNo’s version of the king cake features a pecan praline cream cheese filling and is a tasty and authentic way to observe Mardi Gras – even here in the Rockies. Whole king cakes are available for purchase.
“The king cake is really popular this time of year,” said Sonda. “Our version of it is moist and delicious.” Call 303-738-8330 to place an order; two days notice required.
NoNo’s Café is about a 20 minute trip on Santa Fe Drive, located at 3005 West County Line Road, Littleton. Most entrées range in price from $7 to $10; kids menu is available.
NoNo’s Café is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch on weekends. Business hours vary, so visit www.nonoscafe.com for more information.
3005 W County Line Rd
Littleton, Colorado 80120