I have been following this amazing spot in Los Angeles for years. This past Mardi Gras I ran into owner Clinton Thompson and asked him if I could come do a tasting and talk about his journey, he was delighted.
So, Clinton started as a delivery guy 2 days a week in 1994. Owner back then was Charles Meyers. He was very interested in his young employee and asked him what he saw himself doing in the next 5 years. Clinton’s trajectory was quick, he went from delivery person in 1994 to cashier to expediter, then to assistant manager and manager in 1998. Each promotion presented itself in a way that was meant to be, kind of serendipitous. Then the opportunity arose when Charles told him if he was interested, he could buy the business. Clinton took out a second mortgage on his house, and the rest was history, with lots of built in customers he would be feeding in the future. Oh, and did I mention Clinton has had some hungry mouths to feed having 8 children at his young tender age. He purchased the Gumbo Pot on June 1, 2005, and just recently realized how proud he was of being the owner, it’s been a real gold mine. This June it will be 18 years of ownership, and over 29 years of working there, a real success story. He believes that the combination of Louisiana music and food ignites a kind of uplifting spirituality in people. I remember back before he owned it, he was always happy and smiling behind the Gumbo Pots counter. You just love his contagious energy. He says, “I still feel like a worker, I don’t feel like an owner unless I am signing the paychecks.” The Gumbo is a real Farmers Market staple, and Charles Meyers went on to own another restaurant in San Luis Obispo, Big Sky Café, where he also sold that existing establishment to the current manager. It’s a kind of pay-it-forward that Charles does. Clinton is from Belize, having an island background was perfect for him to be the excited owner of a New Orleans style restaurant. He has traveled to New Orleans, on his most recent visit he tried alligator gumbo, and he put together the ingredients in his head to recreate it for the gumbo pot. I tried it, and it was delicious.
During Covid most of the food stalls at the Farmers Market had issues, they could only do delivery. Clinton got some help from the covid loan system and was able to keep his doors open. Now, The Gumbo Pot is thriving and every February, or March their famous Mardi Gras comes to the West patio with live music and dancing. This is a super busy time for Clinton and a chance for him to show his true New Orleans colors. Everyone attending wants to heighten their experience by getting some authentic Louisiana food in their bellies. Clinton just loves the vibe and how much fun everyone is having! He wants every customer to have a great time, and enjoy the live music and authentic New Orleans cuisine. Mardi Gras Mambo goes great with a heaping spoonful of The Gumbo Pots Gumbo. The flavors that dance in your mouth with live music dancing at your feet. Next time you’re at The Farmers Market don’t miss out on some great home cooked Louisiana food!
Here’s What I tried:
Corn Meal Seafood Combo, with shrimp, oysters, and catfish. It’s crispy and fresh, the catfish is out of this world.
Jambalaya, a true New Orleans recipe, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Gator Gumbo, spicy sausage, gator tail, and shrimp. This is more of a smokey gumbo flavor, but still amazing.
Shrimp Etouffee, the very subtle flavors make this so delicious and authentic.
Crab Cake, a nice simple cake that won’t fill you up, so you’re able to try all of their other amazing dishes.
Creole Mustard Potato Salad, nicely portioned with large cubes and the seasoning is just heavenly.
Sweet Potato Salad, you would think that this is carrot salad, it’s their own unique take on a very healthy side dish.
Green Salad, the candied pecans make this a salad that you will finish, it’s just that good.
Corn Bread, I love their corn bread, it done in a muffin style, and it just hits all the right spots.
Collard Greens. These collard greens are cooked to perfection, just what the doctor ordered.
Sweet Potato Pie, a perfect small pie, that is good for two people, and the crust is wonderful.
Strawberry Lemonade. This drink will cool your mouth down and you will need it, the spice in all the dishes just builds up.
Whatever the occasion, The Gumbo Pot promises to be one of the highlights of your culinary journey in Los Angeles and beyond. When you’re there if you see a happy-faced tall man, you know he is overseeing all your delicious Cajun food recipes. Say hi to Clinton Thompson and he will take you on a very fun New Orleans food journey.
The Original Farmers Market at The Grove
The Gumbo Pot
6333 W. 3rd. St. #312
Los Angeles, CA 90036