Back in maybe 1997 (or 98, I can’t remember exactly), a friend of mine who grew up in Texas called me from her cell phone, literally, from the sidewalk of Windy Hill. Except there is no sidewalk on Windy Hill. That time.
“I am on Windy Hill, jumping up and down! (sounds of cars honking in the background) Guess what they’re building? (dead silence) PAPPADEUX!!!”
And I’m like, what’s the big deal? So when Pappadeux finally opened, we had to go on day one.
There are several reasons why chains are generally more successful than independent restaurants. The most important one is that the taste of the food is always consistent: consistently good or consistently bad. The fact is, their recipes are kitchen tested and most food arrive at the locations pre-cooked or pre-prepared (at least, for the lower-end ones). The menu, also, is set for most of the life of the restaurant. So, you can visit 10 years from now and the menu has hardly changed. Pappadeux has been successful all these years for their consistency in the the taste and quality of their food. Although portions are no longer gigantic (a crowd-drawer for sure), they are still big enough to warrant to-go boxes.
My favorite here is the Crabfinger Dinner or Appetizer — tasty crabfingers with a light dusting of batter; they are good-sized, too. The Seafood or Pappadeux Platter is a great way to have a taste of everything. But the most surprising thing here are the crab cakes. They are fantastic. They have just a tiny bit of filler to hold the patty together. The lemony creamy crawfish sauce is just so delicious and complements the sweetish crab meat. Really, I thought I was in a high-end dining spot for a while there! I never fail to order this every time I’m here.
Another solid item here are the seafood entrees. I love the fried oysters and fried catfish and even the broiled fish dishes. Entrees come with their seasoned fries but I go for the more hearty dirty rice. The rice is slightly spicy and peppered with bits of sausage. It’s really good.
Pappadeux aims to bring New Orleans to Atlanta and succeeds in quite a few ways. Including the noise level.
Postscript: This post is dedicated to one of my ‘bestest’ friends, MSB, who passed away in 2006 due to breast cancer. The very same one who called me from the sidewalk of Windy Hill. She would have been 37 this year. I must have been nostalgic today. Will have to eat at Pappadeux this week in her honor.
Lunch buffet available weekdays at the Alpharetta location. Incidentally, this is the location where there’s hardly a wait during peak times although they are always crowded.