Sunday, August 15

Restaurant Review: Papa Roux

There's just something about Indy's east side.
It's as if they refuse to adhere to the rules of chain restaurants and retail shops. They keep plopping Mom and Pop stores and eateries all over the neighborhood and then have the audacity to not care if the rest of the metro area population likes it or not.
For those of you who have not made it to that side of Indianapolis ... it's not your luxurious, with-a-view community comparable to the far north and south sides. It's what used to be referred to as a blue-collar neighborhood.
No frills.
No nonsense.
However, you'll find that non-chains are, well, hit and miss, actually. I won't say they are better than chains, neither will I vow all chains are spectacular choices for service or food.
It's much like everything else in life; good, bad, and that unforgivable level---  mediocrity.
You'll remember I encouraged, practically begged, you to check out Oishi Sushi at 10th and Shadeland Avenue last year. A diamond interior shelled by a rough exterior, I called it.
Papa Roux is not a serene interior with a plain exterior. Nope. What you see on the outside is exactly what you're going to get on the inside. Located at 10th and Post (look close or you'll miss it) this joint is having none of your fanciful ways.
You want Cajun food? Have a seat.
You want linen and crystal? Move along.
Kings, carpenters, and restaurant critics all get the same treatment. Want to be placed on a pedestal? Hit the road Jack. These folks treat their customers all the same, as it should be. Loyal customers stop in frequently for a dose of the say-it-like-it-is personality of Papa Roux and his staff. Not rude, or even impolite, just down-to-earth, and busy, very busy; this is always a good sign.
 I met up with a buddy of mine, Dick Davis (Burger Meister, I call him), who writes a blog ( about, you guessed it, burgers. He's foregone burgers and eaten at Papa's several times and was dismayed when I mentioned that I "have been meaning to get over there" but hadn't made it yet. I wanted to take a chance on finding a great muffelatta and check out that wall I keep hearing about.
Deciding if one Cajun or Creole eatery is more authentic is as futile as determining which restaurant's fried chicken is more Midwest-authentic. There are many cooks and styles in every locale. It's more about capturing the essence of the region.
Let’s get to the food.
The red beans and rice were, quite frankly, the tastiest I have ever eaten, anywhere, including in the French Quarter, with a balanced seasoning and spice combination. The French bread pudding was softly textured with a creamy, cinnamon flavor. Some other sides offered were etouffee and cornbread.
Po Boy sandwiches are the house specialty, with the pulled pork taking top vote over my coveted muffaletta. Po Boys are served topped with cole slaw. All sandwiches are also served with unlimited sides.
I suggest getting a full-sized sandwich, eating half there with the unlimited sides, and take the other half home.
Bottom Line: All in all, Papa Roux is worth twice the drive, for the food, the value and for the atmosphere. Remember to put your name on the wall.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93.1 WIBC and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@gottago) and at Comments can be sent to
Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter, Fortville-McCordsville Reporter, and Indiana Weekender
Photo credit: E J Musgrave


Anonymous said...

Papa Roux

(317) 603-9861

8950 E 10th St
Indianapolis, IN 46219

Carly said...

I live in Broad Ripple but just started working on this side of town, and the ladies (thank you Gina) I work with just introduced me to Papa Roux... I am ADDICTED!

Elizabeth J Musgrave said...

@Anonymous...Thanks! I can't believe I didn't put the all-important contact information! Much appreciated!


Elizabeth J Musgrave said...

@Carly...I had heard about the eatery from a few people and put it off way too long before dropping in for a review. I forgot to write on the wall...sigh.

Sandy C said...

I try to make it over to Papa Roux about once a week. I keep introducing friends to it. I look forward to the new expansion as it can be hard to find a table.

Portraits by Rhonda said...

We went to Papa Roux after sister-in-law told us about it and have been back several times! Enough in fact that our 3 old is now telling us "I want to go to Papa Roux"! :)

Elizabeth J Musgrave said...

@Sandy C: I am looking forward to the expansion, also. It was a tight squeeze when I was in there, due to its popularity.

Elizabeth J Musgrave said...

@PbR: It's nice to hear you are bringing your child up right!
As far as everyone's quantity of visits per week...sounds like I am a slacker! Now, I need to schedule in a few more visits to Pap Roux so I can write my name on the wall and get some jambalaya.