I absolutely LOVE Cajun cuisine, and for my money, the best Cajun restaurant in Charlotte NC is Cajun Yard Dog! Located in the Arboretum Shopping Center in South Charlotte NC, The Cajun Yard Dog is a small, bistro-type restaurant known for both its traditional Cajun and Creole fare, as well as inspired new Cajun and Southern creations from Chef Jared Jurusik! The staff are friendly and helpful, and the ambiance is terrific! I like the Cajun Queen also, but Cajun Yard Dog is my favorite because of the personal service – they know me when I walk in!
My husband Pat and I enjoy “Friday Night Date Nights,” and you will find us at The Cajun Yard Dog on many Friday nights! The restaurant has a HUGE loyal following, and since reservations are not accepted, you can expect a wait on busy weekend nights. Several years ago, my husband and I shimmied through the waiting patrons to go stand at the bar until our table was ready. When two bar stools emptied, we grabbed them and have chosen to eat at the bar ever since!
Exceptional Service With Friendly Staff
Our first time sitting at the Cajun Yard Dog bar, we were greeted by server Lynne Rose, one of the best servers we have ever encountered, and I am now proud to call her a friend! She happily rattles off the daily specials created by the chef, and tells us which ones are merely great, and which ones are simply extraordinary. She has never been wrong. We now trust Lynne’s judgement so much that we just ask her “What’s good tonight?” and we order whatever she recommends! Now THAT’S what I call great service!
The Cajun Yard Dog is owned by Ron Atherton, who bought the place about 6 years ago. Ron is quite a character, and his pride of ownership is quite obvious! We asked him if he ever considered enlarging the restaurant, but he explained that he is limited by tenants on either side of the restaurant. I don’t think we’ve ever eaten at Cajun Yard Dog when Ron wasn’t there – chatting with friends and patrons, and even pitching in to help in the bar area when needed. What is Ron’s favorite thing about Cajun Yard Dog? “The PEOPLE!” he boomed. He loves seeing so many satisfied customers enjoying the fresh catch of the day or any of the standard favorites.
Extraordinary Cajun Yard Dog Chef
While you’re dining at Cajun Yard Dog, make sure you check out the extremely small kitchen. You won’t believe what the chef, sous chef, and other assistants can accomplish is these challenging quarters! Check out Chef Jared Jurusik flipping a fragile fish filet in a steaming skillet (don’t try this at home!). Watch Sous Chef Craig Sullivan flambé the Bananas Foster. Jurusik has been the Chef and Manager of Cajun Yard Dog for 5-6 years, and he loves the challenge of preparing fresh, authentic Cajun dishes, and keeping the menu exciting and new. When asked what he likes best about Cajun Yard Dog, Jurusik said it was the ambiance of the restaurant, and getting to know the customers. Sous Chef Craig Sullivan came to Cajun Yard Dog from St. John. He has been with the restaurant for the past 2 years, and he loves the opportunity to create tantalizing dishes for loyal fans.
Fantastic Menu at Cajun Yard Dog
In the beginning, Pat and I worked through all the standard Cajun dishes such as the deliciously rich shrimp or crawfish etoufee, the tantalizing and spicy jambalaya with andouille sausage, satisfying red beans and rice, or perfectly blackened fish or fried catfish. Other standard favorites are the incredible fried chicken (come hungry!), fried oysters or crab cakes with chipotle aioli, and a Cajun-style meatloaf that will knock your socks off (and I don’t even LIKE meatloaf!) The home-style side dishes are just as good! My favorites are fried okra, sautéed veggies, smothered cabbage, creamy grits, or sweet potato fries.
But what makes Cajun Yard Dog so incredible is the wide array of specials each week. Last Friday, Pat and I had “Alligator Sauce Picante,” a hearty and delicious stew, full of flavor, and loaded with alligator bites and jumbo shrimp. If there’s a fish special, we always choose that, as the fresh fish brought in daily is always a special treat. We also love the appetizers, including the phenomenal shrimp and grits, saucy fried green tomatoes, catfish bites or jalapeño deviled eggs. Are you getting hungry yet? Save room for dessert – the chocolate pecan pie and bread pudding are too die for!
Cajun Yard Dog Location
The Cajun Yard Dog is conveniently located in the Arboretum Shopping Center in South Charlotte NC, at the intersection of Highway 51 (Pineville-Matthews RD) and Providence RD. Prices are very reasonable – entrees range from $13 to $20, and the attire is casual. If you’re looking for Cajun restaurants in Charlotte NC, check out Cajun Yard Dog, and look for Pat and me on Friday nights!
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am
South Charlotte NC Real Estate Specialist
I am a full-time Realtor®, and I live and work in South Charlotte NC. I enjoy blogging about South Charlotte, and all the wonderful things to do here!
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