Pappadeaux is a southern, Cajun-themed restaurant chain. Its flagship restaurant is in Houston, Texas, but there are Pappadeaux locations in five southern states and Chicago, Illinois. It’s traditional Cajun food, but is Pappadeaux a Cajun restaurant? Is it black-owned or not? Here is the truth.
Pappadeaux is not black-owned, and it never has been. Instead, it’s part of a family of restaurants run by the Pappas brothers. These restaurateurs are part of a Pappas dynasty that has been opening restaurants for over a hundred years. Although it’s not black-owned, the entire restaurant chain is family-owned.
Pappadeaux is one of several unique restaurants in the Pappas family and the only Cajun restaurant. Their spicy seafood menu was inspired by the traditional Cajun recipes of Texas and Louisiana. Although it began in Texas, the restaurant’s menu is based on the French quarter of New Orleans.
Cajun food is largely made by black chefs and Louisiana natives. Although it’s a combination of French and southern influences, cajun restaurants are commonly owned or operated by African Americans. Pappadeaux is an exception to this, as the chain is owned by the Pappas family.
Pappadeaux is also a chain restaurant and has franchises all over the southern United States. The Pappas family owns the entire chain. Individual franchises, however, might be owned by other people. The chain aspect of the restaurant ensures that the food tastes the same at every Pappadeaux around the country.
The Pappas family is of Greek descent, and none of their restaurant chains have African American CEOs. Although there may be some local franchisees of color, most of the higher-ups within the business are Greek Americans or Caucasian. Pappadeaux is the Cajun version of the family name.
H.D. Pappas emigrated from Greece in 1897. Since then, he and his family have built up a legacy of restaurants throughout the United States. The current CEO of Pappas Restaurants Incorporated, Chris Pappas, is H.D.’s grandson.
Each of the Pappas family restaurant chains has a different cuisine. They consist of the Dot Coffee Shop, Pappas Burger, Yia Yia Mary’s Pappas Greek Kitchen, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Pappas Grill Steakhouse, Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappas Seafood House, and Pappadeaux.
The Pappas family also has a food refrigeration business and owns the Luby’s cafeteria chain, a Texas original they saved from bankruptcy in late 2020. Each of these investments has brought the Pappas family farther along in the restaurant business and cemented their legacy.
All of the Pappas family restaurants have originated in Houston, Texas, where the family settled. Chris and Harris Pappas are inductees in the University of Houston’s hospitality industry hall of honor, and they have given back to the community in several ways. Each restaurant they open increases the economy.
However, the Pappas is also a business and are out to make money. They use the inspiration of the various cultures of the south to create new menus for their restaurants. Although the Pappas family hasn’t started a new restaurant chain in several years, they are still very much in the restaurant business.
In 2020, the Pappas family bought all the assets of the popular Texas deli chain Luby’s (which owns Fuddruckers). The chain was going out of business and saved by the investment. Recently, Chris Pappas has stepped down as CEO and passed on the baton after setting up Luby’s for success.
The Pappas are excellent businessmen and know the art of owning a restaurant chain. This has helped them both in Texas and their branches around the United States. When they turned their ambitions towards Cajun food, it’s no wonder that their restaurant became a southern staple.
The Pappas family’s restaurants were of similar size until they opened the first Pappadeaux in 1986. The Cajun fusion food was extremely popular and remains so to this day. Since then, they have franchised into seven different states and have multiple restaurants.
Cajun food wasn’t always traditionally African American, however. It is a mix of traditional southern food and French cuisine, brought over by Canadian immigrants to Canada and Louisiana. The fusion of these two cuisines, plus the influence of the seafood in the Gulf of Mexico, created the Cajun food we know and love today.
Pappadeaux might not be black-owned, but it pays homage to the legacy of black chefs with its Cajun-inspired dishes. On the menu, you can order anything from fried shrimp and grits to filet mignon. The main dishes aren’t entirely authentic but mimic the traditional flavors as well as any chain can.
Pappadeaux is well-reviewed for its mix of spices and seasonings. In the south, spice is essential, and the recipes for Pappadeaux do not skimp. It also has amazing breads, soups, and main dishes, especially the seafood entrees. The restaurant is popular for a reason, and Houston natives love it just as much as tourists.
Instead of being a small local joint, Pappadeaux is a larger chain. Unless you’re in Houston, it’s not the original restaurant, and you shouldn’t accept the mom-and-pop atmosphere. However, it’s still a great restaurant and has plenty of southern dishes to choose from and enjoy. The owner of the individual restaurant franchise will vary, but it’s all run by the Pappas family.
If you are trying to support black-owned businesses and restaurants, Pappadeaux doesn’t make the list. It’s owned by a Greek family, who have been in America for a little over one hundred years. However, if you just want to eat some delicious Cajun food and are in the southern United States, Pappadeaux might be worth a stop!
Pappadeaux, although it might seem like a black-owned restaurant, isn’t culturally Cajun at all. It’s owned by a Greek restaurant dynasty that stretches almost one hundred years back. While the food is tasty and well-seasoned, it’s not traditional Cajun food, only inspired by the south.