Just after longitme neighborhood resident Ivan Pugh move to Grapevine to shorten his commute to his corporate job, he was let go. Though he hasn’t been able to move back to East Dallas yet, he’s figured out a way to do the next best thing, recently opening his first restaurant., The Alligator Cafe, back near his roots.

The place serves up Cajun and Creole, with standards like Po’ Boys and more creative fare such as alligator sauce piquant, which is stewed alligator with Creole spices and vegetables over rice.

Pugh, whose previous experience includes serving as personal chief to Dion Sanders for a number of years, chosen an old Kentucky Fried Chicken location on Live Oak as the site for his new venture. With the help of friends and a lot of elbow grease, the place is virtually unrecognizable from its fast-food origins.

Pugh is joined by a group of people, many of whom knew him previously, who are dedicated to his cause. Case in point? On a recent rainy morning, when fog buildup revealed the apparition of Colonel Sanders still imprinted on the window, one employee ran outside in the rain with a towel and bottle of window cleaner while another one yelled from the kitchen: “That’s no alligator!”

There are also a few neighborhood folks who are already fans. On the same rainy morning, one regular sat outside in his Jeep, waiting for the doors to open at 11 a.m. so he could get his gumbo fix.

There is perhaps no greater testimonial than that.

Alligator Cafe
4416 Live Oak

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