Quick Bites: A Taste of Louisiana

There’s a new Cajun restaurant in town, Kajun Kuntry Po-Boys, on Silver Springs Boulevard, in the new plaza by the Ritz Historic Inn. It’s a nice twist as to what the rest of the Boulevard has to offer for a quick lunch or take-out. Dining in is an option, too.

The menu is basic, but the food is not. It features fresh, hand-breaded shrimp, oysters, and catfish on a po’ boy as well as roast beef, ham and cheese, burgers, and Cajun sausage. The red beans, in a smooth sauce over rice, have the texture of being cooked all day. The hush puppies are made with a sweet corn bread and seasoning. Also offered is Jambalaya and fresh-cut Cajun fries.

Owners Gene Franques and Donald Romero are from Louisiana and boast their food is authentic.

“I really believe some Cajun restaurants fail because of the bread,” says Franques.

But Kajun Kuntry’s bread is shipped in from Leidenheimer Baking Company, which was founded in 1896 by George Leidenheimer, who came to New Orleans from Germany and became famous for his crispy-crusted French bread.

Just so you know, a po’ boy is a sandwich that got its name during the late 1920s when the New Orleans streetcar conductors went on strike. The owners, who also operated a restaurant, vowed to feed their striking brethren for free. When one of the strikers entered their shop, the call went out: “Here comes anther po’ boy!”

Stacy and Donald Romero oversee the day-to-day operations and are ready to take your order and prepare it fresh. If you like your Cajun food spicy, ask the Romeros for some Cajun Power. They carry the garlic sauce and the spicy pepper garlic sauce. Coming soon to the menu is gumbo and andouille, dried meat seasoned withsalt, crackedblack pepper, and garlic and smoked over wood and sugar cane for up to seven or eight hours.

For a faxed menu and hours, call (352) 671-9161. The po’ boys are huge, so bring a friend—or a big appetite.

The Melting Pot in Downtown Ocala on the square is under new ownership. Scott DeMaris has been in the hospitality business for over 30 years and with The Melting Pot for eight.

“When I heard the Ocala store was available, my wife and I drove from St. Petersburg to look at it,” says DeMaris. “We liked the area and thought it was a great place to raise our son.”

The Melting Pot concept was born in Florida in 1975 and centers around fondue dining. You begin with cheese fondue, then meat, poultry, and seafood, and end with delectable choices of chocolate. You can also skip the main entrée and go from cheese directly to dessert.

The dining experience is unique, semi‑ private, and for most, romantic. A full course can take up to two hours.

“When was the last time you sat with your spouse over dinner for two hours,” DeMaris asks, “without the TV on?”

Visit their website at meltingpot.com, sign up for Club Fondue and receive a free chocolate fondue for two. Call (352) 622-9968 for hours or to make reservations for Mother’s Day starting at 2pm. Regular hours start at 5pm.

Nibbles: Tijuana Flats has come to Ocala out in Berkshire Oaks, out by I-75. Visit their awesome, toe-tapping website at tijuanaflats.com. Genesis Juice Bar & Café, close to the downtown square, has closed and already has new tenants, Mo Jo’s Grill. The Horse & Hounds building on East 40 looks near complete and should be opening soon.

Reminder: Please e-mail your Father’s Day dining suggestions by May 10th to be part of my next column.

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