A lot of people look forward to the Bayou Mardi Gras Association’s annual run through downtown New Iberia, but their preparations don’t take very long — round up the family, head downtown, and look for a spot to watch.
But for some restaurants along the route, there’s a lot more thought involved. Having a captive audience right outside the door is not something to sneeze at, and a few enterprising restaurateurs are hoping to take advantage of it.
At A Spot for Tea, An Acadiana Tea Room, for example, owner Dana Romero has introduced new menu items and new flavors in time for the parade.
“We just added a vegan sandwich,” Romero said. “It’s called the New Year’s Resolution. It has chipotle black beans and corn in a spinach wrap”
He has also added new cheese plates, along with expanding the shop’s wine selection. One addition, though, has a particular tie to the Mardi Gras season. The Butterfly Blue Tea, which brews into a deep blue color, turns a perfect carnival purple when you add lemon.
“One of the Lafayette krewes is using this,” Romero said.
He also plans to have drinks available on the sidewalk for the parched patrons.
“If it’s cold, we’ll have hot chocolate and espresso,” Romero said. “If it’s warm, we’ll have peach bellinis and iced tea. So either way, there’s something for everyone.”
Across the street at Preservation, new General Manager Lex Indest said the restaurant will offer table service inside as usual. But the restaurant will have a couple of signature cocktails ready for parade patrons.
“We’ll have Lundi Lavender,” she said, showing off the pale purple drink. “It’s based on an Italian spritz, more of a sipper.”
The other cocktail, the Royal, is a bourbon-based drink with a sheen of St. Germain liqueur.
“This one is a little heftier,” Indest said.
Not all the offerings for the parade are based on food or drink. Around the corner at Pelican’s on the Bayou, crowds can gather in the parking lot to watch the parade roll by, then hang out for the after party at the restaurant.
“We’ll have a band and drinks,” owner Warren Gachassin said. “We have just about sold all of the tickets.”
Gachassin said the after party should kick off between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. with the Bayou Beats band cranking out the soundtrack.