Andy's Rest. Scorecard: DeJAVU! - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Rest. Scorecard: DeJAVU!

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By Andy Wise - bio | email

SOUTH MEMPHIS (WMC-TV) - THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  DeJAVU, 936 Florida St., South Memphis, 901-942-1400, http://dejavurestaurant.org/ (NEW LOCATION IN EAST MEMPHIS, TOO!).

With apologies to my wife, I fell in love this week.

I fell in love with the seafood gumbo, the Creole cooking and the smiling faces at this little dive in the unlikeliest of places.

"People are always surprised when they come to DeJAVU, man...that (we) serve this type of product in South Memphis," said DeJAVU's owner and Chef Gary Williams.

A fifth generation chef, Williams was born and raised in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. One of a half-dozen kids kept in line by a single mother, Williams had no choice but to pick up the slack in the kitchen.

"Had to get out there, learn all the scratch gravies, learn how to cook and everything," he said.

With no formal training, he honed his skills at restaurants in the Crescent City, Miami and Las Vegas before opening his South Memphis DeJAVU in 2004, one year before Hurricane Katrina destroyed his neighborhood in the Lower Ninth Ward.

"We didn't want to relocate to New Orleans, but we wanted to be where we could get to family in 5 1/2 hours or an hour flight," he said.

Pray that Williams stays -- because his brand of Cajun Creole soul food in Mardi Gras surroundings is unlike any other place in the Mid-South.

"I love DeJAVU," said regular Rosalyn Nichols of Whitehaven, who unashamedly would not share her bowl of seafood gumbo. "The food is great, and the service is wonderful, and I love the quaint and cozy atmosphere."

Come once, and you'll bring your buddies next time. 

Like Richard Kirkman's buddy did.

"He likes eating in all kinds of crazy places, and we came here with him and said, 'We're going to go in THERE?'" said Kirkman, who crosses the bridge all the way from Clarkedale, AR, to eat at DeJAVU.

"We pulled in here, and we've been sold ever since!"

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Big Keith's Bayou Classic (you MUST order this dish!!!), Seafood Gumbo, Vegan Menu, Veggie Eggrolls, Bread Pudding 

THIS WEEK'S HIGH SCORE:  Chapultepec Mexican Restaurant, 3170 Village Shops Dr., Germantown, TN, 98 on Nov. 5.

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