I have a lot of passions in my life, but none of them ranks above really good food. And there is a place in Wilson County where you can find some really outstanding Cajun fare. That place is Larriviere’s.
Larriviere’s is owned and operated by Doug and Regina Dicke. This husband/wife duo both hail from the great state of Louisiana (Doug from Slidell and Regina from Baton Rouge), and one look at the menu, and you can see plenty of evidence of their heritage!
Larriviere’s, besides being the last name of Doug’s business partner Rene – who oversees their restaurant of the same name in Gallatin – literally means “the river” in French-Cajun. There are plenty of dishes that seem to originate from Cajun waters. You will NOT find any frozen or pre-packaged seafood here. From fresh hand-breaded fried shrimp, to shrimp or Crawfish Etouffee, to grilled Lemon-peppered Grouper, to Grilled Crab Cakes, there is something for every seafood palette. They even cater to the Tennessee locals with some great catfish dishes as well. Other “Cajun” classics on the menu include Red Beans and Rice (with Andouille Sausage on top for good measure) and house favorite Cajun Jambalaya. My favorite item on the menu has to be the Grouper Acadian. It is a large grouper filet, dusted in seasoned flour, sauteed, and then topped with Crawfish Etouffee AND grilled shrimp, served over a large pilaf of rice. And there are other items found on the menu that have a Louisiana theme. Their New Orleans Po-Boy comes with your choice of fried shrimp, fried grouper, crawfish, catfish, or Cajun roast beef served in an over-stuffed French bread. And when is the last time you had an authentic New Orleans Muffaletta?
But Larriviere’s is so much more than a seafood/Cajun restaurant. Regina’s favorite dish on the menu, and one my wife loves as well, is the Southwest Chicken Pasta. The black bean salsa, diced tomatoes and green onions give this dish its flavorful appeal. And if you are a burger fan, Larriviere’s does not disappoint. They use 100% fresh Black Angus, a half pound’s worth in every burger. You can choose between a Patty Melt, a Hickory Burger topped with BBQ sauce, bacon, Cheddar and Jack cheese, and green onion, or just a good ‘ole cheeseburger. Doug let me try his Cheeseburger Sliders. One thing that sets his sliders apart is that they are served on his homemade fried garlic rolls.
And if you are NOT a carnivore, they have a great selection of fresh salads. One they are famous for is the Strawberry Explosion Salad. It is a spring mix with Bleu Cheese crumbles, red onions, fresh strawberries, spicy pecans, tomatoes, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and for that truly Southern twist, it is sprinkled on top with a little powdered sugar.
And no good restaurant can let you get away without offering some items for your sweet tooth, and once again Larriviere’s does not disappoint.
Regina made me split a piece of her favorite, the Satin Pie. It is a peanut butter pie with a light chocolate topping, and I had to admit, it was very good. But it still does not compare, in my opinion, to their absolute best dessert item. And once again, we have a Louisiana theme: White-chocolate Bread Pudding! Now I have to be honest. I am NOT a big sweet eater, but this is one of the best desserts you will ever put in your mouth. I would come to Larriviere’s JUST to get some of this sweet deliciousness.
One of the things that became obvious as I sat down and talked with owners Doug and Regina was their commitment to family. I learned about their three children Kendall, Ally, and Cole, ages 15, 9, and 4 respectively. And all three children help in the family business. Nine year old Ally is already a “chef in the making”, and even Cole loves to help in the restaurant kitchen, albeit for only about 10 minutes at a time! And I was impressed when Regina casually stated, “faith is first in our restaurants.” I knew early on that Doug and Regina carried a strong faith…they have been life-long New Orleans Saints football fans! And as you probably know, their faith and loyalty was paid off in spades this year as the Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts for the Super Bowl title. Bring up the Saints, and you will get a BIG SMILE from either of them.
Do yourself, your family, and your taste buds a big favor and give Larriviere’s a try. It is located at 12894 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet in the Mt Juliet Commons Shopping Center, next to First Freedom Bank.