Juju’s Vegan Cajun and Creole Cuisine brings Louisiana to Lincoln


Photo by Ava Bartels

Derick Gaspard Jr. owner of the restaurant Juju’s Vegan Cajun and Creole Cuisine stands at the register. His restaurant is found on S. 11th St. straight across from Everett Elementary School.

In August 2019, Juju’s Vegan Cajun and Creole Cuisine opened at 1247 S 11th St. The restaurant strives to provide authentic vegan cajun and creole dishes that are hard to tell apart from their animal-based lookalikes. They serve a wide variety of menu items, ranging from savory sandwiches to succulent dessert options. Because of the explosive flavor and familiar food styles, people of all backgrounds and ages come to try out their unparalleled plant-based options.

Like almost every restaurant, Juju’s offers homemade fries. However, Juju’s separates itself from the pack with their characteristic fiery spice mixture that blankets every fry. They’re coupled with a spread of original sauces, each with its own unique tang and signature flavor. Juju’s offers a creole caesar sauce, along with ranch, cajun tahini, maple-mustard, remoulade, barbeque, buffalo, and their signature “banging” sauce. Even with the overarching sufficiency of their out-of-the-box fry game, Juju’s offers other varied side options: classic cornbread, powdered sugar caked beignet balls, hush puppies stuffed with corn green onion and jalapenos, southern-style greens, and an array of other delicious gems.

The owner, Derick Gaspard Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans, and the tastes and textures of his youth inspired him to open up his own restaurant with a plant-based twist. The restaurant staff is composed of five employees who work from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. As soon as they get to work, they ruffle through the barrage of online orders that have come through their website and begin the preparation process.

Juju’s primarily offers delivery and takeout as their food-supplying method, but sit in dining is also available with a slightly reduced menu. When customers order ahead of time, their options are broadened and they’re able to order the meals that really put Juju’s on the map. Even their basic spicy chicken sandwich is miles ahead of their competition. It includes the elementary chicken sandwich staples like “chicken” (made of seitan), mayo, lettuce, pickles, and tomato, and the entire 10” sandwich is encapsulated in a thick baguette bun. The whole thing is naturally split into two meals, and because of that, it becomes a steal for $11.

When taking into account the vegan aspect, the closest comparison to Juju’s that can be made is the vegan restaurant Rutabagas. With all sadness though, Rutabagas recently closed its doors. Both of these restaurants transform(d) familiar meat-based food items into new vegan creations. But even with this, there’s a huge distinction between them that raises Juju’s above Rutabagas. It’s the fact that there’s only a handful of places in Lincoln that offer creole and cajun food, and now Juju’s is the only restaurant in Lincoln with a fully vegan menu.

Juju’s has proven itself as a legitimate lunchtime option for vegan, vegetarian, and omnivores throughout the Lincoln area. The exceptional menu items match up with a myriad of people’s food preferences and dietary restrictions. Still though, it’s impossible to say that the food is healthy by any stretch of the imagination. The desire to become a vegan for ethical/moral reasons should not be deterred by the oversupply of uber-healthy vegan options, or lack of flavorful vegan cuisine in the area. And it’s a devastating tragedy when vegan people’s options solely consist of grass-like salads and coffee. However tolerable that list may sound to some, everyone deserves to routinely have a portion of Juju’s uber-delicious jambalaya at least once a week.