A food essay about the Lost Cajun in Pagosa Springs, Colorado by James Bonner

Lost Cajun Pagosa Springs Review: Disappointing Dining Experience in Downtown Colorado

Showcased on the busy little strip of downtown Pagosa Springs, Colorado, is a dining spot that maintains that it will transport you to the vibrant city streets of southern Louisiana. The Lost Cajun, a cozy joint that screams modern rustic and that beckons with the allure of Cajun flavors and southern hospitality might seem like a pleasant enough haunt.

My first-choice restaurant turned out to be a service nightmare while wandering the downtown streets of this scenic Colorado mountain town. I asked a couple of police officers if they might recommend a spot to eat and considering that their vantage was faced directly behind me, and focused on the Cajun retreat, it was easy for them to point me in that direction. Unfortunately, sometimes what’s lost should stay lost.

            I took the officers’ advice and stepped inside the Lost Cajun, although this was against the advice of my gut. I didn’t have a great feeling about the place. The Lost Cajun seemed comfortable and everyone inside was friendly. The authenticity of the restaurant: the aroma of spices, and the sound of zydeco music in the air, came across as genuine enough. I wanted to like the Lost Cajun. Unfortunately, the reality of my experience mirrors my ignored expectations. Despite its intriguing façade and prime location, the Lost Cajun failed to deliver.

After finishing my meal and working slowly through a beer, I read about the restaurant’s history on its website. A lot of the history was too revealing of the private lives of two different sets of franchise owners. I learned that the Lost Cajun was a franchise and that the restaurant can be found in at least seven different locations and four states, not one of which is Louisiana.

The local owners of the Lost Cajun in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, created a pleasant ambiance and, unfortunately, the shortcomings at the foundation of the Lost Cajun are likely at fault for the under-inspired food. But whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: the flavors here lack the punch and finesse that define true Cajun cuisine.

          It's a shame because the rich history and tradition behind Cajun cooking is very inspiring. Originating from the French-speaking Acadian immigrants of Canada who settled in Louisiana, Cajun cuisine is renowned for its bold spices, fresh seafood, and hearty gumbos. The cuisine is rooted in community and family, where every dish tells a story, and every meal is an experience to be savored. The Lost Cajun falls short of capturing that essence.

Perhaps it’s the distance from the coast that dulls its flavors, or maybe it’s simply a case of misguided execution. Regardless, one can’t help but feel a pang of disappointment as they leave the restaurant, their taste buds yearning for something more. So, if—usually I would say, “when you find yourself…” but through all of my travels Pagosa Springs, Colorado, is safely at the bottom.

You really should go to Durango or Colorado Springs, Canon City or Paonia instead—instead, opt for another one of the local eateries, try Tequila’s Pagosa for the margarita and the view, Riff Raff if they’re staffed well, or Sage a little further into town. After all, when it comes to food, it’s not just about what’s on the plate, it’s also about the stories behind the dishes, the memories they create, and the overall experience you take with you. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.