Eats Beat

New Orleans comes to Race Street for Mardi Gras weekend at Tributary

The seafood gumbo at Tributary Cafe
The seafood gumbo at Tributary Cafe Star-Telegram archives

Mardi Gras is next week, and there’s a new place to celebrate.

Until the weekend cold weather had set in, the Race Street businesses northeast of downtown Fort Worth had planned to throw a second annual Mardi Gras festival and parade.

The parade will go on later. But this weekend, there is still one very big reason to find Race Street and the River East neighborhood: Tributary Cafe.

After two years, “the Trib” has settled in as the city’s most charming little seafood cafe. The simple menu of shrimp and crawfish dinners has expanded to include a special each night. a patio brunch and live music weekends.

On Saturday, Tributary will add a crawfish boil, beignets and Natchitoches-style meat pies, plus hurricanes, Sazeracs and Abita beer.

If you haven’t tried Tributary since it opened, the road construction is nearly done.

Go back for the Cajun fried chicken or for the $5 crawfish sliders at happy hour.

Chef Cindy Crowder Wheeler got her start running Creola Cafe in Waxahachie, then managed Nonna Tata in Fort Worth before opening her own restaurant.

Tributary is open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, brunch Sundays at 2813 Race St., 817-744-8255,

A few other advertised Mardi Gras specials:

Pappadeaux Seafood, the busiest Mardi Gras dining spot for 30 years, is offering a Mardi Gras king-cake cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. At the bar, there’s the “Swamp Thing”: a hurricane-margarita swirl.

Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe will serve $5 boudin balls or “rat toes,” plus $3 Abita drafts and $3 hurricanes or Mardi-ritas.

Tricky Fish in Waterside will have a cocktail expert on hand Tuesday to teach diners how to make hurricanes and Sazeracs ($5).

Twilite Lounge south of downtown will host its first gumbo cookoff at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Waters in Sundance Square will serve shrimp and crawfish etouffee, scallops and andouille sausage jambalaya through March 5. (There’s also a “French bread pudding.”)

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.