1315 1st Ave • Kinder, LA
During my criss-cross travels, I often find myself in and passing through the little town of Kinder, Louisiana. Just east of town on LA-383 sat a long time staple to the community that was called The Cajun Café. In previous months, I had noticed construction taking place there. I considered it to be a much needed remodel, and I thought its return was something for all to look forward to.
Fast forward a few months. My buddy and Kinder resident, Eric, sent me a message suggesting I try this new restaurant in town. Once I confirmed the location, it turned out that the former cafe had closed for good and had subsequently sold the building.
With new owners comes new ideas to present. After undergoing a complete remodel, with a fresh appearance and an impressive new menu, Deaton‘s Cajun Kitchen was ready to serve Kinder and opened their doors.
As I arrived for lunch, the first impressions were positive. An expanded parking lot, timber-beam entryway, and farmhouse feel were all welcoming.
Upon entering, it’s evident they executed a well thought-out plan. Everything from the trio of slow spinning ceiling fans to the hand-finished woodwork throughout, to the ample open seating and the quaint bar, even down to the baby changers in the spotless restroom, offered a promising start. Several televisions showed kids programs. News and sports provided visual entertainment while zydeco music blended amongst the chatter of diners.
I took my seat. My server Kayla, without asking, supplied ice-cold water with lemon and a menu. As I glanced at the menu from top to bottom and front to back several times throughout the various appetizers and salads, burgers and sandwiches, my eyes keep coming back to Deaton’s Seafood Nachos.
It wasn’t long before a massive plate of nachos piled high with toppings was sitting before me. Regardless of how hungry I might have been, there’s no way I could finish this by myself in one sitting.
I found myself staring down a heap of fresh tortilla chips, smothered in a generous amount of Louisiana crawfish, Gulf shrimp, sausage, diced vegetables and mushrooms in a creamy Cajun cheese sauce dripping from each and every chip.
My mouth watered as I was taking the obligatory pictures before I dove into this dish. Every aspect of the various ingredients provided great flavor. It was a very filling choice, and as I expected, I could not finish the meal. I paid my tab, thanked Kayla and vowed to return again soon.
Well, only a few days later, I was able to fulfill that promise. In the previous visit, I noted other things on the menu I wanted to try, and I found myself with the opportunity to do so. On this adventure, another solo lunch, Kayla was all smiles and ready again with water.
There are so many appealing menu choices. However, on that day, I was craving a burger. I had little doubt, if it’s anything like the nachos, the mushroom bacon Swiss burger was going to be an impressive pick.
From where I sat, I could see everything coming out of the kitchen. I watched several trays of food being dispersed to waiting patrons, when, I then saw one in particular making its way closer to me. Eyeing this thing as it got closer, I noticed the strips of thick bacon proudly overhanging the edges of the entire burger, the Swiss cheese melting and the grilled onions and mushrooms peeking out between the buns. This was accompanied with a pile of hand cut onion rings, which was also still steaming.
Before I took a bite, there was one small detail I noticed in particular about this burger which showed that somebody knows what they’re doing in the kitchen. Jalapeño sourdough buns are very popular with restaurants now. Typically, these buns are rather soft, and they tend to fall apart a little easier than most traditional buns. Deaton’s added a grilled sear to the bun, giving it a better chance of staying together through the handling.
When you have a juicy, seasoned patty with all of the flavor-dripping ingredients involved, the last thing you want is a bun falling apart. This was a great burger and it held up to the cycles of being handled as I switched between the burger and the onion rings.
I still wasn’t done. You can never be done with good food when the opportunity affords itself to stop in. So, I actually went back for a third visit to add to my experience.
Although it’s not particularly something I would order for lunch, I had in mind something I wanted to sample. On the menu, Deaton’s offers a chicken fried steak with gravy. As I took my seat, Courtney, my server for that excursion, explained that this was a new menu.
In comparison to the vast array of items I’d seen on the first couple of visits, there were several omissions and adjustments, and the chicken fried steak didn’t make the cut.
I get that, though. When family restaurants start out, they typically offer a great variety, literally throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. If a menu item works and the customer reception is good, you keep it. If a dish is a kitchen burden or doesn’t move well, 86 it, adapt, and move on.
Not to worry, there was still plenty to choose from, and I decided to try the crawfish étouffée stuffed potato.
Before the dish hit the table, I got the distinct aroma of a spiced crawfish boil. The crawfish Deaton’s uses are pulled directly from their own ponds, and are used to create many of the dishes and their on-site, crowd -favorite crawfish boils.
The large fluffy baked potato was overflowing in a proud display of flavor and spicy heat in a rich and robust Étouffée sauce. Unfortunately, due to a technological glitch, and even with the attempted help of Courtney, I don’t have any photos of the stuffed potato. As I’m a lousy sketch artist, I implore you to use your imagination on this one.
As for my experiences, Deaton’s went 3-for-3, hitting the mark each time. Between the friendly service, the fantastic food, the overall environment and setting, it’s no wonder this made-to-order restaurant has become such a popular small-town, down-home destination. Be sure to check them out for Sunday barbecue, specials and updates as they continue to expand with dancing and entertainment.
Congratulations to Kinder for having a hot new Cajun spot worthy of the drive.