By Bailey Faulkner
New Orleans might be pretty far away, but that won’t stop the High Country from celebrating Mardi Gras this year! The Bayou Smokehouse & Grill in Banner Elk will throw its annual Mardi Gras party this Saturday, February 25. The day will be full of giveaways, specials, music and Mardi Gras spirit.
History of Mardi Gras Parties at the Bayou Smokehouse & Grill
The Bayou Smokehouse & Grill’s annual Mardi Gras party has taken place each year since 1988 when owner Winston Ammann, along with David and Lee Ammann, opened the Bayou Kitchen in Charlotte. Since opening the Banner Elk location in 2003, Winston has continued the New Orleans tradition, giving those in the High Country a chance to take part in the festivities without leaving the mountains of North Carolina.
Winston takes great pride in bringing a slice of David’s hometown of New Orleans to the High Country.
“He grew up with Mardi Gras and we like to celebrate it and his roots and introduce people to the food and festivities each year,” Winston said.
Having celebrated the event at their restaurants since 1988, the Ammanns know a thing or two about throwing a Mardi Gras party. They especially enjoy recreating the atmosphere of the “parade krewes,” one of the defining elements of Mardi Gras celebrations.
“It’s tradition in New Orleans for the “parade krewes” (groups that create and stand on top of the parade’s floats) to throw things off of floats,” Winston said. “So when we have a clear shot at our guests, we’ll get up on the bar and throw stuff like beads and koozies!”
Music at This Year’s Celebration
While giveaways, specials, food and other Mardi Gras staples are a must, a Mardi Gras celebration would be incomplete without a fitting band for the occasion. Filling that role this year will be party band Stella, featuring Dillon Cable.
“Everybody always enjoys live music, so we try to accommodate with party bands and party music,” Winston said.
This won’t be the first show for Cable at the Bayou Smokehouse & Grill. Cable has performed regularly at the venue as a solo artist, but the Mardi Gras party on Saturday will mark his first performance with a backing band at the venue. You can learn more about Stella and Cable by visiting Cable’s Facebook artist page here. Stella will perform from 9 p.m. to midnight on Saturday.
The Bayou Features New Orleans Brews
In addition to live music, the Bayou Smokehouse & Grill is excited to offer Abita beer for the celebration. Abita Brewing Company is located in Abita Springs, Louisiana, just 30 miles north of New Orleans, and is a staple for beer lovers in the area. The Ammanns have stocked Abita beer since the early days of their location in Charlotte.
“We have a long standing relationship Abita beer,” Winston said. “This year they sent us a ton of Mardi Gras-themed t-shirts that we’ll be giving away.”
The restaurant will also feature beers from the Dixie Brewing Company, which is also based in the New Orleans area.
The celebration will take place all day this Saturday. You can click here to learn more about the Bayou Smokehouse & Grill and its annual Mardi Gras party. The restaurant is located at 130 Main Street East in Banner Elk.
Don’t miss out on your chance to experience a slice of New Orleans in the High Country!