FANWOOD, NJ – The Fanwood Grille (34 South Martine Ave.) will celebrate Mardi Gras on Tuesday, Feb. 13, with a special Cajun food menu available from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. that includes the eatery’s award-winning New Orleans chicken gumbo, crawfish etouffée, and classic Po’ boy sandwiches. 

For the occasion, the Grille will extend its hours until 8:00 p.m. and will feature jazz music by the Patrick Gannon Trio. The menu will consist of:

  • New Orleans Chicken Gumbo: The Fanwood Grille's gumbo is slow-cooked with chicken, zesty andouille sausage, Cajun spices and a vegetable combination of okra, green peppers, and onions.
  • Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich: A Po' boy is an oversized sandwich on a baguette-style bread often stuffed with fried seafood.
  • Crawfish Étouffée: Étouffée (pronounced “eh-too-fey”) comes from the French word “to smother.” The seafood dish is similar to gumbo but made with a lighter color and flavor.
  • Bananas Foster: Bananas cooked in a pan of brown sugar, butter, rum and cinnamon and served warm over vanilla ice cream.

There will be a Kids Menu of hamburgers, hot dogs and mac & cheese. However, the Grille's regular menu will be suspended during the Mardi Gras celebration. 

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“So many customers love our gumbo that we thought we would go a little further for Mardi Gras and offer other popular dishes of Louisiana cooking,” said chef Paul Watterson of the Fanwood Grille. “We’ll save you the trip to New Orleans.”

Mardi Gras is celebrated globally primarily by countries with Roman Catholic populations on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Also known as Carnival or Shrove Tuesday, Mardi dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in New Orleans by explorers sent by the French king to the Louisiana Territory in 1699.

Fun facts

  • Feasting and masquerades, part of today's Mardi Gras celebrations, derive from the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia.
  • In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII added Mardi Gras to what we now call the Gregorian calendar on the day before Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, the 40 days of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter.
  • Mardi Gras is also called Shrove Tuesday. In Ireland and the UK, it is common to eat pancakes on Mardi Gras. Thus, it is also sometimes called "Pancake Day."
  • The purple, gold and green Mardi Gras beads symbolize justice (purple), power (gold) and faith (green).
  • It is illegal to ride on a Mardi Gras parade float in New Orleans without wearing a mask. 

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Editor's Note: TAPintoSPF.net publisher John Mooney is owner of the Fanwood Grille.