One of the hardest things about being a 40+-year-old restaurant is staying fresh and relevant. It is a problem that Cajun’s Wharf, which opened in 1975, is trying to solve by quite literally being fresh.
This year Cajuns has begun rolling out daily seafood specials using fish that was caught less than 24 hours earlier. It is a move that not only provides longtime fans of Cajuns something new to try on a consistent basis but also allows them to serve up the freshest seafood possible in a landlocked state.
“Every night around 10 we get a report from our seafood provider about what fish was caught that day,” owner Mary Beth Ringgold tells us. “They immediately ship it and it is here at 2 p.m. the next day. As soon as we get it we get to work on making a special to match the seafood for that night.”
Each dish is carefully crafted and limited by the quantities of the seafood they are able to procure. They focus heavily on the freshness so they only order what they know they can sell, and the price is based on market prices for the fish.
It is a refreshing take on Cajuns and gives Little Rock something hard to obtain by focusing so heavily on fresh seafood. The taste is immediately noticeable compared to a lot of other seafood dishes around town and even at Cajuns. I’ll even admit that I have not made my way to Cajuns in some time, but the quality is more than enough to make this a regular dinner stop going forward.
It is not only their dinner specials receiving a fresh look, Ringgold is trying to bring fresher ingredients in across the menu from oysters to salads and everything between.
“We have really focused in on providing a freshness to our food,” Ringgold explains. “In a landlocked state, so many seafood products are pumped full of chemicals to keep them preserved. We want to get as fresh as possible to avoid the need for these extra preservatives. It is something you can clearly taste in the food here.”
Cajuns is continuing to reinvent themselves and stay relevant in the food scene. The move toward freshness, quality, and Instagram-worthy specials is exactly what Cajuns, or any other long-standing restaurant needs to be around for another 40+ years.
2400 Cantrell Rd, Little Rock