SOUTH BEND — Mark northern Indiana down as your next destination for Cajun and Creole food.
Yats Cajun Creole Restaurant, which will open a new location by mid-August at 1251 N. Eddy St. in South Bend, serves what founder Joe Vuscovich calls “Louisiana and New Orleans-inspired” food. The fast-casual restaurant will be able to seat up to 42 people.
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The restaurant will have a rotating menu of 25 to 30 dishes, all of which are Vuscovich’s own recipes. There will be eight to 10 dishes to choose from each day. Classics, like red beans and rice and jambalaya, will remain a constant.
“We do a bunch of take-offs of the classics,” Vuscovich said. “We do, like, chili-cheese etouffee because (my wife Regina) is from Wisconsin. You know, with spinach and mushrooms. We do a Carribean etoufee, so we do a bunch of take-offs.”
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When you take a bite out of any of these dishes, you’re going to get a taste of the different cultures that have inspired New Orleans cuisine over the decades. African, French, Spanish, Italian and Vietnamese people have all called the Big Easy their home at one point in the city’s history, bringing their spices and flavors along with them, Vuscovich said.
Customers at Yats Cajun Creole Restaurant get that food for one of two prices. It’s $6.50 for a full order of one dish of $7.50 for a half-and-half of two dishes.
“It’s kind of a festival mentality,” said Regina Vuscovich, who is also the CEO of the company. “You go to the festival and everything is five bucks or something. That’s kind of how we started, and it’s easy on everybody.”
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Joe is originally from New Orleans, where he started a restaurant with his brother. He then tried his hand as a polo player in Kentucky before returning to the food business. Joe and Regina decided to go the fast casual route with Yats, which first opened in 2011 along College Avenue in Indianapolis.
“When I was a kid … there were always these little grocery stores that sell sandwiches or have a pot of something going, where you’d buy a cheap plate of food,” Joe said. “And that’s the kind of thing I really wanted to do again, was to have that kind of place.