On this episode of Hot Off the Press, Chef Pete sits down with his longtime friend and owner of Café Acadiana in Silver Hill, Alabama, Gerald Ardoin. Pete first met Gerald during the early days of "Panini Pete's" when Gerald worked as his local U.S. Foods sales rep.
The youngest of six children, Gerald grew up in his family’s grocery business before his father purchased a “fried chicken and ice cream joint” in Opelousas, Louisiana in 1979, and reopened it as Ardoin’s Seafood. Gerald continued working in the family business until his father’s retirement in 1995 and, with the help of his father, opened his own restaurant in the same Louisiana area shortly after.
In 2004, Gerald and his family moved to Baldwin County, Alabama, where he took a job as a sales representative with U.S. Foods. After 10 years with the major food distributor, Gerald and his wife, Cristina, renovated a building in downtown Silverhill and opened Café Acadiana in the heart of this little Mayberry-like Gulf Coast town in 2013, returning to what he loved best.
The menu is a mix of All-American and seafood dishes including steak, burgers, po-boys, gumbo and fried, grilled, and blackened seafood, all with a Cajun flare. A local favorite, the Boudreaux’s Burrito is a crawfish, shrimp and crabmeat stuffing-filled burrito topped with a creamy crawfish and shrimp sauce. Three and a half years after first bringing a little Cajun cuisine to south Alabama, Gerald has expanded the restaurant, adding a catering service and selling his own Cajun spices and rubs.