Cajun cuisine

Zydeco’s celebrates 25 years of creating authentic Southern Louisiana home cooking

Posted on Feb 01 2024 in Indiana Eats

By Jenna Williams


In 1996, Deb Hutchinson went on a one-day trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. She met her future husband and Zydeco’s co-owner, Carter Hutchinson, at the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter streets.

Carter, who is from Boutte, Louisiana, finished his year as an adjunct professor at Tulane University, sold everything, and moved to Indiana.

“Down there, when a family gets together, they cook, so he knew how to cook,” Hutchinson said. “He started bringing food to me at work, and people would be hovering around my office with spoons in their hands.”

More and more people told them they needed to open a restaurant. Zydeco’s opened its Mooresville doors Sept. 11, 1998. When it was established, Hutchinson says there was a learning curve.

“For the first year, to everyone that walked in the door, we were like, ‘Welcome to Zydeco’s, we have no idea what we’re doing, are you sure you want to eat here?’” she laughed.

“It was great — our customers helped,” she said, sharing that some of the people who came on the restaurant’s very first day still frequent it, including one customer who recently celebrated her 88th birthday at the restaurant.

One of the things she’s most proud of is when people from Louisiana choose to come to the restaurant.

“Some customers that live in Indiana hear about us when they go to New Orleans for vacation. They stay in a little hotel, and the hotel clerk sees they’re from Indiana and asks if they know about Zydeco’s,” Hutchinson said.

The restaurant has gained more customers and was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Zydeco’s is designed to be authentic, southern home cooking in a fun, funky atmosphere. They make almost everything from scratch and bring certain ingredients up from Louisiana.

“I have to go the extra mile just to be authentic,” she said. “I have probably 20 hours a week in labor just of people chopping celery, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. We make our own roux, and we make our meats. Some items on the menu take three days to make.”

Hutchinson said you should be able to taste everything, especially Cajun food. “It’s very flavor-intensive food. It should just be this beautiful dance in your mouth.”

“Have you heard the term ‘ya-ya,’ like ‘gumbo ya-ya?’” she asked. “‘Ya-ya’ means ‘everything talks at once,’ and that’s exactly what real Cajun food should do.”

“People tell me it’s just like a little mini vacation down South,” she said. “It’s fun and engaging, and I’ve got the best customers in the world.”

Jenna Williams is a freelance writer from Indianapolis

Zydecos interior


11 E. Main St., Mooresville