By Brian Kaiser

Ça c’est Bon!

Right now, you can snag a direct flight from Columbus to New Orleans for less than $200.

It’s a pretty damn good deal.

But, if you’re just hankering for little taste of Cajun and Creole cooking—and ain’t trying to bring luggage into it—you can get yourself to Gahanna and get you some J. Gumbo’s.
Since Chad McCoury brought the franchise to central Ohio years ago, it’s been the geaux-to-guide for all things Louisiana. Now, with their Gay Street location no more, we paid a visit to their Gahanna shop to brush up on the cuisine—being the test market munchers that we are.
They never had courtboullion at Wendy’s, so we have a little catching up to do (Okay, which one? They’re all served with rice!), which J. Gumbo’s Brandon Solomone was more than happy to assist with.

By Brian Kaiser

So, we need you to be the guide to the average land-locked Midwesterner when it comes to this food. In layman’s terms, what’s the difference between creole and Cajun cuisine?
Creole is more of a French, refined, “city” food. Like a Shrimp Creole dish, for example. Cajun is more of what you would find on the countryside for dinner—like Jambalaya, which consists of a more thorough ingredient list, all thrown into one pot.

Yeah, gotta be honest: the differences kinda throw us for a loop sometimes.
A lot of the flavors are similar, yet distinct. Gumbo is more of a soup dish, that consists of a dark roux base. Proteins such as seafood, chicken, and sausage can be added. Rice is also added.
Etouffee is more of a stew, consistency can vary, but it’s more of a golden roux, gravy sauce. Choice of proteins can also be added. Typically served over top of rice. Jambalaya is all inclusive, and cooked with rice.

Always rice! Do you feel like this type of cuisine has become more popular outside of Louisiana in the past 10 years? Is it that our collective palates have evolved? It seems like people want food spicier and spicier all the time…
Absolutely! People’s tastes are evolving. They want more flavor … more spice. Cajun food is all about flavor. There is a misconception that ALL cajun food is spicy. But it’s not. We certainly have our fair share of spicy dishes, but there are many that are not. It’s about the flavor.

What was the original vision for bringing this food to Columbus? Does J. Gumbo’s feel like it’s their role to play translator to this type of food that still might be uncommon to the test market tastes?
Our vision was to not only educate on the culture and fare, but to fill a void. Our goal was to provide outstanding, authentic cajun food to the Columbus area. We have been awarded “best cajun” seven Years in a row by (614) Magazine, and received the coveted “Best Entree” Award at the annual Taste of Gahanna six of the last seven years! I would say we are succeeding in doing so. •

By Brian Kaiser

J. Gumbo’s is located at 64 Granville St., Gahanna. For more, visit