Editor's note: Residents of the Kyrene
Corridor can experience the vicarious
thrill of Mardi Gras at one of the
area's notable dining spots. Here's what
Matt Stone learned during an interview
with the owner of Voodoo Daddy's.
Anyone who has ever been down south to
culture-rich New Orleans will tell you
there's nothing like it.
Richard Kerchenko, owner of Voodoo
Daddy's Magic Kitchen & Bar, says the
same about his restaurant.
purchased the Cajun/Creole-themed
restaurant five years ago and has made
significant changes to amp up the
atmosphere and quality. What originally
attracted him was the theme of the
restaurant, Kerchenko said.
"(I love) the experience," said
Kerchenko. "The total experience people
can enjoy." "I thought it was
underserved in the metro market."
After acquiring the restaurants, one in
Phoenix and one in Tempe, Kerchenko set
out to implement a new system of
orientation and training. He also
expanded the menu, adding a wine
selection, barbecue and steak while
preserving the southern theme.
Kerchenko also boasts that the food is
unparalleled in accuracy.
"Our menu is the most authentic Cajun
(food), period," Kerchenko said.
To fit the concept, the menu includes
specials such as "catfish madness," "all
you can eat crawfish boil," "back Gulf
shrimp stuffed with crab meat" and "a
dozen Gulf oysters."
Staying truthful to New Orleans style,
half of the restaurant represents a
Bourbon Street feel, while the other
half strives for the look of a bayou.
With any Bourbon Street, there has to be
a celebration of Fat Tuesday and Mardi
The annual holiday marks the day of
Mardi Gras (which means "Fat Tuesday" in
French) and will fall on Feb. 28 this
Kerchenko has planned a sizeable party,
one he holds at Voodoo Daddy's every
year. With the accompaniment of live
music, outside dining, giveaways and, of
course, colorful Mardi Gras beads, the
celebration is hugely popular, Kerchenko
"We have people lining up to get into
the restaurant," Kerchenko said. "(It's)
our busiest day of the year."
Although cognizant of the disastrous
effects of Hurricane Katrina, Kerchenko
says proceeds from this year's "Fat
Tuesday" event won't be funneled into
disaster relief–not from his own lack of
because an earlier fund-raising effort
Katrina is not forgotten to Kerchenko,
however: The restaurant's most popular
drink, Hurricane, serves as a constant
reminder of the tragedy and is offered
in three types--category one, three and
depending on potency.
In the restaurant business for 30 years,
Kerchenko knows how to accommodate his
patrons. While he said most of the
clientele on weekdays consists of
business people, the restaurant also
serves many families. To adjust to the
normally less-developed taste buds of a
child, Kerchenko has an extensive kids
menu that includes classic favorites
that are a little less Cajun-esque.
The hardest people to please at such a
themed-restaurant are visitors from the
area it is based on. Here, however, it's
not a problem, said Kerchenko.
"They love it..." said Kerchenko. "I
hear that all the time. They're very
passionate about coming in."
Voodoo Daddy's Magic Kitchen & Bar is
located at 1706 E. Warner Road, Tempe.