Having a home cooked gumbo is a must if you come to New Orleans. Pretty much every restaurant offers gumbo on their menu. But I wanted to go to where the restaurant specializes in it. I had a bit of trouble finding an authentic spot so I got some help from NOLA CVB, who highly recommended the Gumbo Shop for our gumbo introduction. It turned out to be a great choice!
The Gumbo Shop is a landmark and considered one of the top, award winning restaurants for gumbo, Creole cooking and Louisiana style cooking in New Orleans.
The restaurant is also kid friendly, with a large menu and plenty of options for my kids to choose from in case they didn’t want to have what mommy was having. However, my oldest son was really excited about trying gumbo thanks to the Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog.”
Fun Facts About Gumbo and the Influence it Has on Louisiana Cooking and History
• In New Orleans the French influence over local cooking was just the first step in becoming what it is now. Most cooks were African slaves and they gave their own touch to the dishes. This was also the nation’s busiest port with citizens of Germany, Ireland, the French Caribbean Islands, Italy, Greece, Croatia and more recently, Asia arriving and all adding to the uniqueness of Louisiana’s cooking.
• The Choctaw Indians gave powdered sassafras or filé which they called “kombo” to settlers. For them it was a staple for one of many styles of the indigenous soup we now call gumbo.
• The word “gumbo” comes from the African word “kingumbo”. It means the vegetable okra.
• A gumbo usually contains either filé or okra as a thickener.
• The base of most gumbos is “roux” – flour and fat with seasonings that is browned to provide an almost nutty flavor.
• The first documented references to gumbo appeared around the turn of the 19th century.
• Today, the most popular gumbos are seafood gumbo and chicken and sausage gumbo.
More About Gumbo
• Gumbo is a dish that originated in southern Louisiana from the Louisiana Creole people during the 18th century.
• It is basically a strongly flavored stock, okra, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and seasoning vegetables.
• In New Orleans, Creole gumbo differs from house to house though each version still retains the flavors of its African and Native origins.
• The dish combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including West African, French, Spanish, German, and Choctaw.
Information for Visiting the Gumbo Shop
Address: 630 Saint Peter Street, New Orleans LA, 70116
Sunday thru Thursday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm