Some restaurants are just more fun than others. Sometimes it is the ambiance, and sometimes it’s servers who make a simple meal entertaining, but with Darwell’s Café in Long Beach, it’s the entire vibe. As soon as you walk in the door and see the hand-painted walls, the photos of pro wrestlers, humorous signs, and drawings, you know something is up.
Besides being a lot of fun, what is up is the award-winning food. Think of a good mix of Cajun and Creole, splashed with a little south Mississippi spice, and you will be spot-on. Guy Fieri was impressed when he visited with his famous “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” television show, as was Forbes magazine, when they placed Darwell’s in their ten best restaurants category.
There are three dining rooms and a large outside area where you can listen to music every day Darwell’s is open, including gospel music on Sunday. The chances are that during your visit, Pappa D, co-owner with son and chef Darwell Yeager, will stop by and say hello. Pappa D is all part of the fun, and besides being an interesting artist and musician, he knows how to work the crowd.
One of the mottos you see splashed around the restaurant is “We serve real food for real people,” and the food part includes its best-selling crawfish etouffee, redfish Nawlins, crab cakes, lots of burgers, and yum-yum pasta. But don’t worry, if none of those local favorites strikes your fancy, there is a lot more on the menu. There are 18 sandwiches, with most of the classics included, but I was delighted to see peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese on the list. There are also nine sides to choose from, including regional favorites like rice and gravy, baked potato salad, and New Orleans-style green beans.
It’s hard to imagine not having a good time at Darwell’s, even if your visit includes nothing more than a PB&J and an ice tea, my guess is that Pappa D is going to chat you up, the service is going to be friendly and laid back, and you will agree with at least one of their logos, like this one, “Great Food, Great Service, Great Music, Great People! You’ All come by.”
127 E. First Street, Long Beach
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Closed Monday and Tuesday