.Exploring Gumbo, Gator and Cajun Cuisine at Roux Dat

Roux Dat has been serving up authentic New Orleans-inspired Cajun fare since 2014.

Its two locations, in Capitola on Clares Street and downtown in Abbott Square, are open seven days a week from 11am-7pm. Owner Chad Glassley says he always dreamed of opening a restaurant, and when he fell in love with New Orleans cuisine during his time in culinary school, he thought Cajun food could find a place here in Santa Cruz. He spoke to GT about how it’s going.

How would you define Cajun food?

Chad Glassley: It’s a blend of New Orleans flavors—a melting pot of a bunch of different cultures coming together to create a cuisine that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. It has Italian, German, African, and Spanish influences. All these people brought their recipes to New Orleans, then combined and adapted them to what grew well and was available.

What are some of the most traditional dishes on the menu?

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Our po’ boys, a classic Cajun-style sandwich, are really authentic. We use bread that we import from New Orleans, it’s crunchy and also really light and flaky. When you combine it with corn-meal crusted ingredients like chicken, catfish, shrimp, or oysters, it’s really similar to what you’d find in New Orleans. We even serve gator, which kind of tastes like a chicken that’s fallen into a lake. It has a freshwater taste and, no pun intended, more of a bite than chicken with a nice meaty flavor. We also have jambalaya, a traditional tomato-based stew that has shrimp, chicken, and sausage. It’s mildly spiced and has a ton of flavor, and is by far our best seller. We have gumbo, too, another traditional stew with chicken, sausage, and okra. It is thickened with a dark roux, which adds a robust, toasty, and deep flavor. We also do traditional cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes and hush puppies, as well as handmade beignets, which are Cajun-style donuts finished with powdered sugar and rum dipping sauce.

How have the restaurants been doing during the pandemic?

We’re really just figuring things out day-to-day. We have outdoor seating at both locations, and we’re doing more to-go food and paying close attention to how we package the food. We’ve been getting along just fine; the community has been really supportive. The employees have been great as well, they’ve stayed positive and have helped us stay open and provide great customer service.

3555 Clares St., Suite G, Capitola, 831-295-6372; 118 Cooper St., Unit B, Santa Cruz, 831-888-6500; rouxdatcajuncreole.com.


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