The establishment was launched by Karl Cantrelle Jr. and Charity Cantrelle in November 2019. It features a menu inspired by Karl’s roots from the deep south — in particular, the swampy areas of Louisiana.
“I want to give people a little change of scenery, a little change of culinary experience,” Karl Cantrelle said.
Cantrelle Jr. says that with his take on authentic Louisiana food, he aims to provide patrons with a meal they haven’t experienced before. In many cases, a guest may have visited Louisiana before coming in.
“Some people can’t or (haven’t) travelled,” Cantrelle Jr. says.
“I want to send you somewhere else. You come in, you relax, you sit down, you enjoy your company, enjoy your food.”
He says that approach has garnered many comments from guests who say that they don’t feel like they are eating in Canada, because of the atmosphere.
“It’s something a little different,” Cantrelle Jr. said. “I try to give them a taste of what I grew up with, in the swamp. I learned from grandma and grandpa, culinary school”
Karl and Charity Cantrelle, who hails from Prince Albert, Sask., met through Instagram. She eventually flew down to meet Karl and during that visit, something happened that signalled the pair were meant to be together.
“We ended up getting stopped at a truck stop for six days during Hurricane Harvey. I knew then she was the one to marry,” Cantrelle Jr. said.
Charity Cantrelle says they talked first for about a year.
“We have been inseparable ever since. He made the decision to move up (for me and my kids),” she said.
Dalmeny Mayor John Kroeker and his family eat at Southern Roots often. He says he had never really tried this type of cuisine before. He says he is glad he did.
“It’s been an experience to try new things. Lots of different types of authentic food, learning more about the cuisine has been very interesting. It’s been good for (the community of) Dalmeny,” Kroeker said.
He says Cantrelle Jr. has also immersed himself in the community. Everyone in the town knows him and what he is cooking up at the restaurant.
Cantrelle Jr. says they are grateful for the community; with the COVID-19 pandemic, the local support has allowed them to stay open and push through these times.
Ex-NHL player and current SJHL La Ronge Ice Wolves coach Kevin Kaminski has visited twice. He used to patrol the bench for a pro hockey team in Lafayette, La., for a handful of years.
He says the food reminds him of the deep south U.S. and says Cantrelle Jr. has brought that cajun style to Saskatchewan. He says it’s a family atmosphere — from the food to the music to the decor of Louisiana.
“It was outstanding,” Kaminski said. “It great authentic Cajun food right from Louisiana. It has a great flavour and a kick to it. It’s fantastic food and you get tons of it. This is the real deal.”
Kaminski says his favourite meal is the shrimp po boy.
Cantrelle Jr. adds a common misconception about Cajun food is that it’s too spicy. He says while you can add that to meals after, it’s all about the spices and herbs to create that Cajun kick to his menu.
There is also a mascot in the restaurant — “Alphonse.” People are invited to check him out and take their picture with him. They even have some photos of people and Alphonse in the foyer.
“We thought it would be great to have something that customers can interact with, take pictures with,” Charity said.