MOORESVILLE, Ind. -- You don’t have to travel 800 miles to enjoy authentic, straight-from-the-bayou Cajun cuisine. Just head to Mooresville, where for the past 20 years Zydeco’s (located at 11 E. Main Street) has been the go-to spot for great food, a Mardi Gras-worthy good time and a touch of Hoosier hospitality.
“We try to put on a party every night,” said co-owner Deb Hutchinson.
And they’ve been doing just that for 20 years now. But it all started with a chance meeting in—where else— New Orleans.
“I went down to Mardi Gras in 1996 with a couple of my girlfriends …and I ran into this guy right on the corner of Bourbon and St. Pete about three hours before the plane was coming back,” she said.
“That guy” was her now-husband, Carter.
Hutchinson said he ended up selling everything and moving up to Indiana to be with her.
Unfortunately for Carter, the area’s Cajun restaurants at the time weren’t exactly an authentic taste of home for the Louisiana native.
“I was like ‘We’ve got a Cajun restaurant in Broad Ripple!'” recalled Hutchinson, “And he was like ‘Uh, no.'”
They took things into their own hands and officially opened Zydeco’s just 2.5 years later. The first location opened in Monrovia in 1998 followed by their current location in 2001.
Four Things You Need to Know About Zydeco’s:
- Zydeco’s is open for dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Fridays from 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturdays from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. They are closed Sunday-Tuesday to prep, as they make all their food from scratch. They do not take reservations.
- Zydeco’s is dedicated to bringing authentic Cajun cuisine to the area. They source seafood and other items directly from Louisiana as often as possible to ensure a truly authentic experience.
- Check out all the original artwork by co-owner Carter Hutchinson. One very cool detail is the compass painted on the floor. “There’s line and there’s a crawfish that has coordinates on it and if you follow that line true as the crow flies, you will go to his house in Boutine, Louisiana, that he grew up in, “ explained Deb Hutchinson. “On the other side, there are three female signs and some coordinates. If you follow those to their true destination, you will end up at 111 North Drexel, Indianapolis, Indiana, where my sisters and I grew up on the east side of Indianapolis.”
- They are also well-known for their mojitos. They like to incorporate creative and seasonal versions such as the apple cider mojito, made using apple cider from nearby Anderson Orchard.
Hutchinson says there are actually a lot of Louisiana natives in Indiana, so delivering a truly authentic experience is important for her and the whole Zydeco’s staff.
“When their families come up, they bring them here and that’s the biggest compliment you can get,” she said.
But at Zydeco’s, the desire for delivering a truly authentic experience isn’t just about giving Louisiana natives a taste of home. It’s more about giving all their guests the kind of experience that transports them out of central Indiana and into the Big Easy—simply by walking into the restaurant.
“Our test of authenticity is so much higher because we’re not in Louisiana,” said Hutchinson.
It all starts with the atmosphere. From the silverware wrapped in Mardi Gras beads, to the colorful art hand-painted by Carter all the way down to the food, each and every detail is considered.
“We make all our own meats, we make all our andouille, boudin, tasso. We make our own roux. We bring our red beans— our dried red beans— I bring them up from Louisiana,” Hutchinson said. “Even the mustard is from Louisiana!”
When it comes to the menu, the tried and true favorite has always been the half-and-half, which is jambalaya with gumbo on top. Then, there’s the Jole Blon pasta.
”Tricolor rotini with an Alfredo with crawfish tails that have been sautéed in butter and garlic and homemade tasso which is hot smoked pork you use for seasoning in southern Louisiana,” she explained. “So you’ve got that creamy Alfredo and then the sweetness of the crawfish and then the heat on the tasso coming in on the back. It’s fabulous.”
Each week, fresh seafood is shipped up from Louisiana. Rest assured, the catfish is real Louisiana catfish and the oysters are true Gulf oysters.
Hutchinson says people flock for those oysters, which are now in season. Then, when they are finished, guests can get creative by decorating the shells, which are re-purposed as well décor.
“It was supposed to be for kids but it’s pretty much been for adults,” Hutchinson said with a laugh. “Kids will get them done in like five. minutes. ‘Here mom I’m done!’ and she’s like, ‘I’ve been working for an hour and I don’t know if it’s exactly right, can I take this home and bring it back to you next week?'”
People are so in love with their food that they literally get angry if they take their favorites off the menu. Hutchinson shared a story from many years ago where she said she had taken the blackened catfish off the menu for a few weeks, and an angry customer wasn’t shy about sharing his outrage.
“I was outside painting my house and this guy comes up in a Jeep Wrangler, slams on his brakes in front of my house, stomps up to my porch screaming at me [because] I’d taken that black cat[fish] off the menu,” she said. “So I’d ruined his anniversary, I’d ruined his wife’s life, his kids’ lives and he said he would never be back…because I took the blackened catfish off the menu for like a month.”
After expanding their space in 2011, Zydeco’s loyal foodie fans gained even more room to enjoy a drink at the bar or hear live music on Saturday nights. The expanded space even offers up a perfect room for buffet dinner parties or special events.
When it comes to drinks, guests can expect more Louisiana favorites like Sazerac and hurricanes made from scratch. But what they are most known for are mojitos, including fun seasonal versions made by their talented mixologist using produce from Anderson Orchard.
“We’re going to be doing apple cider mojitos for the rest of this week and whatever they have in season, she’s going to mojito it!” said Hutchinson.
One very cool touch at Zydeco’s is their little corner shop inside the restaurant where they sell some of the popular Louisiana products that you simply can’t find in Indiana like Blue Runners, Crystal hot sauce, Community Coffee, as well as their house dressing, tasso seasoning, file powder and ready-made roux.
“These things, if you’ve been looking for them in Indiana and can’t find them, we’ve probably got them in our little shop,” she said.
For more information about Zydeco’s, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook or Instagram.
Explore what else Mooresville has to offer by checking out some of their other popular local businesses: