Fat Tuesday, Folks! Hattie’s Rules On Mardi Gras

Saratoga's 80-year-old New Orleans hideaway knows how to do Fat Tuesday right.

Hattie's Chicken Shack in Saratoga Springs. (Peter Flass)

“Hattie’s is a Southern restaurant, and we love a reason to throw a party,” Beth Alexander tells me. Alexander and her husband, Jasper, own Hattie’s Chicken Shack on Phila Street. When Mardi Gras comes around, Hattie’s is the place to go.

Since it opened in 1938, Hattie’s has been celebrating Cajun culture in the Capital Region. Hattie Gray passed away 20 years ago at the age of 97, but her 80-year-old restaurant lives on under the direction of the Alexanders, both of whom are dedicated to serving Louisiana cuisine to the hungry patrons of Saratoga Springs—especially on special occasions like Fat Tuesday, which this year falls on February 13.  “Every year, the people of New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras, which is French for ‘Fat Tuesday,'” explains Beth Alexander. “This holiday is the day before Ash Wednesday, and it begins a season of fasting, called Lent, for many leading up to Easter Sunday.” For $25 each, guests can celebrate by eating their fill of Hattie’s hearty small bites; dancing to live music drummed up by the NOLA Trad Band; enjoying a complimentary Hurricane; and helping themselves to beads, masks and more festivities, all hosted in the main dining room and French Quarter lounge. In other words, if you enjoyed Hattie’s Mardi Gras Soiree at the Canfield Casino last January, you don’t want to miss this raucous party, scheduled to run from 6pm to 10pm.

“For locals it’s a fun night out and a chance to eat great food, listen to music and enjoy cocktails,” says Beth. Some of that great food may come under less than obvious titles for Saratoga locals. The menu includes N’awlins specialties (with a Hattie’s spin) like muffallettas (olive-salad and thin-sliced Italian cold-cut sandwiches); Andouille pigs (pigs in a blanket); Tasso Corn croquettes (Tasso and chopped vegetables fried in breadcrumbs) and crawfish rangoon (crawfish tails mixed with cream cheese, wrapped in wonton wrappers and fried). Of course, signature dessert items include beignets (fried doughnuts topped with powdered sugar) and king cake (a sort of bundt cake made from brioche dough, glazed with brightly-colored sugar and sprinkles).

Want to join the party, or just check what’s in store for Hattie’s Restaurant? You can learn more about Hattie’s, New Orleans and parties to come on Hattie’s Happenings page.

Sophia Perez

Sophia Perez is a California-raised freelance writer currently based in Brooklyn.

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