Mardi Gras—or Fat Tuesday—is about indulgence, partying, and celebrating the culture of New Orleans. As the Cajun saying goes, it’s a way of “getting all the sin out” before entering the solemnity of the Lenten season. The storm before the calm if you will. The First State might be more than 1,000 miles north of the Gulf, but local bars and restaurants around #VisitWilm prove that the spirit of New Orleans isn’t as much about geography as it is about the essence of good cheer (and good beer). Expect to see NOLA-inspired dishes of both the Cajun and Creole variety, drink specials, and sweet treats gracing the menus of area restaurants and watering holes.
Mardi Gras has evolved into a week-long celebration, culminating with Fat Tuesday on February 13th, spanning several weeks in NOLA and beyond. Below is a list of restaurants in the Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley area who are celebrating Mardi Gras in their own special way.
Get ready to celebrate in the heart of Wilmington as Wilma's, the epicenter of fantastic Bayou flavors, goes all out to celebrate Mardi Gras with a series of curated events for families and friends alike. While you may not make it to Bourbon Street, you can certainly make your way to Market Street for the Carnival at Wilma's, where the Mardi Gras festivities will unfold from February 6th through the 13th, with the Carnival on Saturday, February 10th. The Carnival runs from 1-5 p.m. with some family-friendly fun, and as the clock ticks to 5 p.m., Wilma’s will transition into a restaurant and bar-centric extravaganza for adults only until 11 p.m. Get ready for a true Bayou experience including psychic readings, live music, and irresistible Mardi Gras food and drink specials with added games and vibrant energy, complemented by the simultaneous Mardi Gras Out & About Loop.
Since its 2006 debut in the nearby Boothwyn Farmers Market, Cajun Kate’s has been a universally loved fan favorite, and the Wilmington location is no different. As the name implies, the menu is New Orleans-inspired, and this diminutive hotspot churns out big flavors daily. Here Mardi Gras every day. Owners Don and Kate Applebaum, both classically trained chefs and former New Orleans residents, are not shy with the seasoning that embodies the heart and soul of Gulf cuisine. Get your fill of traditional dishes like gumbo and jambalaya or nosh on a muffaletta or po’boy if you prefer your classics between two slices of bread. Be sure to check the website for a host of creative weekly specials—that’s where the Cajun magic lies.
Nora Lees French Quarter Bistro
A visit to Nora Lees in Historic New Castle feels like a trip to Bourbon Street. Thanks to live music from a host of talented performers, this dimly lit space has an electric, underground vibe. You can almost feel your cool quotient increase when you sidle up to the bar and order a traditional Hurricane or Pimm’s Cup (or a Swamp Ghost if you’re adventurous). Be forewarned: the menu is not for those who think of salt and pepper as spices—there is serious soul here. Even typically mundane bites like chicken fingers and nachos get a lift from Cajun seasoning, but a walk outside of the culinary comfort zone is rewarded with tasty dishes like blackened alligator sausage and bourbon-glazed crawfish tails. Join the excitement at Nora Lee's Fat Tuesday Burlesque event, where alongside delightful drinks and food specials, you'll groove to the tunes of one of our beloved singers, Jimmy Pritchard. We're bringing the sizzling energy of NOLA straight to Wilmington—don't miss out on the fun! Let the good times roll, indeed.
Kid Shelleen's Charcoal House and Saloon
The beloved neighborhood pub is no stranger to throwing a good party and creating an awesome menu to match. In fact, Kid Shelleen’s is encouraging their guests not to just enjoy Mardi Gras with them on Tuesday but then come back Wednesday for their Valentine’s Day experience. Not only will the restaurant be celebrating Mardi Gras on just FAT Tuesday, but Kid Shelleen’s will feature food and drink specials throughout the week inspired by the flavor of New Orleans.
Why settle for an ordinary dining experience when you can embark on a culinary journey that brings the vibrant spirit of NOLA to Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley? Enjoy the flavors of the Big Easy right in Northern Delaware, where every bite is a celebration of the rich culinary traditions that make New Orleans unique. From soulful gumbo to zesty jambalaya, we are ready to transport your taste buds to the lively streets of Louisiana. So, gather your friends, bring your appetite, and let the good times roll as you savor the irresistible food offerings that promise a taste of NOLA magic in every dish. Laissez les bon temps rouler – let the good times roll, indeed!