Delicious: Cajun food at Alligator Cafe

Blackened catfish smothered with crawfish étouffée: Mark Davis

Blackened catfish smothered with crawfish étouffée: Mark Davis

On those days when you’re craving flavor and spice and everything nice, Alligator Café should be at the top of your hit list. As you can probably guess from the name, Alligator Café is a Cajun food restaurant with some seriously N’awlins vibes, and lucky for us, it’s right in the heart of Casa Linda Plaza. On any given weekend, crowds from all over Dallas swarm to the White Rock area so they can sink their chompers into Alligator’s crawfish enchiladas, or the blackened catfish smothered with crawfish étouffée. Founder and owner Ivan Pugh has a theory about that: “I always say, ‘Start with the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.’ It’s all the little things that add up.” We, however, have a theory that Pugh’s impressive return rate might have something to do with his top-secret spice mix. The entire menu is a product of Pugh’s imagination, although he mostly has turned the actual execution over to his cooking staff. However, there’s one thing he’ll never share: “To this day, I still make all my own spices. I don’t trust anyone with my spice recipe. People ask me, ‘Why do you own a restaurant?’ and I say, ‘Because I have the best spice mix in town, and it can’t be duplicated.’”

Alligator Café
9540 Garland
Suite 362

Sit-down Cajun food restaurant

Price range:

Tue-Wed: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Thu: 11 a.m.–10 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Sun: 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m.

More ragin’ Cajun

1 Dodies Restaurant
The original Dodies Cajun Restaurant on Greenville and Richmond is a must-try to anyone seeking authentic Cajun food.
2129 Greenville

2 Aw/Big Shucks
You don’t need to go to the beach to enjoy a little seaside dive dining. Aw Shucks Oyster Bar and Big Shucks Oyster Bar offer an array of seafood options with a southern-soul twist. Their crawfish and po-boys give even the most Cajun places in East Dallas a run for their money.
8601 Greenville

Big Shucks Oyster Bar
6232 Mockingbird

3 Cajun Tailgators
There’s something about ordering grub from a food truck that lends itself to Cajun food. If you can catch Cajun Tailgators hanging around East Dallas — The Truck Yard, anyone? — it’s definitely worth it.

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  • JKR

    Ivan a.k.a. “Bucky” is a Woodrow grad – in the same class with another food legend, Abel Gonzales, Fry King of the Fair.