Meet Curtis Clarke
As MM Pack said in the Austin Chronicle article,” Austin, like any city, is a conglomeration of neighborhoods and communities. While neighborhoods are defined geographically, communities are made up of people with shared interests – cultural, political, philosophical, ethnic, musical, culinary, whatever. Places in cities emerge for like-minded people to get together and enjoy those things that make them a community, and Evangeline Cafe is such a place, a harmonic convergence of Austinites who love Cajun food, culture, hospitality, and music.
A rollicking little restaurant in an innocuous South Austin strip, Evangeline was opened in 2004 by chef/owner Curtis Clarke (whose elegant mustaches are almost as famous as his cooking). A Lake Charles, La., native, Clarke has spent three decades in the food business, and it shows. Although Evangeline is the ultimate laid-back joint, service is attentive and knowledgeable, and the kitchen consistently produces expertly prepared, beautifully seasoned fresh Louisiana food, from the traditional (seafood or chicken-and-sausage gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp or crawfish étouffée, red beans and rice, boudin, shrimp creole) to the innovative riffs using classic ingredients.
You can’t talk about Evangeline as Cajun culture center without mentioning the music – Clarke emphatically supports the Austin live music scene and maintains a varied live-music lineup several days each week. Charles Thibodeaux & the Bayou Cajun Band play every Monday evening; their skillfully soulful renditions of traditional tunes are guaranteed to bring dancers out among the tables. Things get started on Friday nights when bands begin after the kitchen closes at 10pm.