Mardi Gras celebration looks different this year at Inglewood restaurant due to COVID

The Bayou Grille in Inglewood has to adjust its annual Mardi Gras celebration this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is traditionally celebrated with parades, live music and great food, but because of COVID-19, people can't have their usual celebrations.

The Bayou Grille, a Creole-Cajun restaurant in Inglewood is still keeping some of the traditions alive, including serving their authentic New Orleans taste.

"[We serve] about everything you can connect to New Orleans," said owner Michael Smith. "From our étouffée, our gumbo, soft shell crab. We do hot wings with different sauces, jambalaya, red beans and rice, a little bit of everything."

Last year for Mardi Gras at the Bayou Grille there was a zydeco band set up in the restaurant. They passed out beads, boiled crawfish, hot wings and other prizes to the guests during what Smith described as a 10-hour long party.

"Obviously this year, it's a little different," Smith said. "Can't have anybody come and hangout in here so, we do have the little decorations. All we can do is just make sure that people can come to eat, they have the good food here."

"It's the best we can do right now and that's good enough," said customer Carlos Borge. "I think places like this are fantastic. This is the best food around and I look forward to the time when we can get back to the real deal."

Smith said for 22 years the Bayou Grille has been serving up southern cuisine and although he can't have a big celebration, he's happy to share the culture through food.

"With any kind of culture, it's nice to be reminded of how you grew up," Smith said. "Whether it be the celebration, whether it be the food, whether it's just remembering family and friends."

"We've been coming here many years, even when we didn't live in the community," said Mary Orticke who drove with her husband from Whittier for the food. "But we still travel out here to get the good po' boy, original tasting, best Cajun food ever."

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