Saline County natives Debra Murray and Brooks Caldwell opened Benton’s Mo’ Betta Gumbo in November 2014 to provide hungry diners with made-from-scratch Cajun Creole cuisine with a Southern-infused twist.
“Before the summer of 2014, neither Brooks nor I had even a minute’s worth of experience in the restaurant industry,” Murray said. “Our naivety is most likely why we jumped in with both feet.
Caldwell learned the trade by studying under his brother, Clay Caldwell, who operates the original Mo’ Betta Gumbo restaurant in Loveland, Colo., and who trained at the Culinary Institute of America. Clay Caldwell developed the original recipes for Mo’ Betta Gumbo’s menu.
The offerings of Mo’ Betta Gumbo are traditional Cajun Creole, featuring dishes like red beans and rice, gumbo, etouffeé and jambalaya, along with Southern dishes like shrimp and grits, collard greens and cornbread. Paul Prudhomme has said, “When the taste changes with every bite and the last bite is as good as the first, that’s Cajun.” His quote fits Mo’ Betta Gumbo, as the tastes of each dish changed with each bite, and each bite was better than the last.
“Our hope is that when dining at Mo’ Betta you will feel like you just stepped into a family member’s home,” Murray said. “Our food is made from scratch and prepared fresh daily. We don’t cut corners on the quality of ingredients we use.”
The first sampling of the Mo’ Betta menu was the “Slap Yo’ Mama Loaf!” The large appetizer featured a good-sized loaf of open-faced, crusty French bread topped with a Cajun seafood and andouille sausage creation that is perfectly married with a warm, rich roux and topped with freshly shredded cheeses. The bread for the appetizer and the restaurant’s sandwiches are prepared at Leidenheimer Bakery Company in New Orleans. I would never lay a hand on my mama, but the loaf featured an explosion of Cajun-based flavors that made me wish my mom was with me to try it.
My Louisiana friends have told me that the quality of a po’ boy sandwich depends on how many napkins you use while eating it. The fried oyster po’ boy was delivered to my table along with a large amount of napkins. The restaurant calls it a “good luck sandwich” because it is so big, you need good luck to eat it all. The fried oyster po’ boy was loaded with golden-fried oysters, dressed with freshly prepared Mo’ Betta coleslaw and drizzled with an original remoulade sauce. The sauce adds a spicy flavor to the sandwich.
One of the most popular menu items is the “Catfish Louisianne.” It features a fried catfish filet spiced with Cajun seasoning, layered on a bed of richly flavored rice and smothered in Mo’ Betta’s crawfish etouffeé. This yummy creation will tickle your taste buds and fill your tummy.
The etouffeé is available in shrimp and crawfish versions and is packed with peppers, celery and onions that are sautéed in butter and then slow-cooked in an original seafood stock. It is served over a nice-sized bed of fluffy rice. It is loaded with flavor, but not overly spicy.
My favorite is the “Famous Asiago Shrimp and Grits.” The grits are creamy, loaded with fresh Asiago cheese and topped with large, Cajun seasoned sautéed shrimp. The dish includes a huge piece of warm, sweet, fresh-baked cornbread.
I love bananas foster. I love bread pudding. Mo’ Betta has banana foster bread pudding — a match made in heaven that is as comforting as a mama’s hug. Try it and thank me later.
Stop by Mo’ Betta Gumbo, enjoy their fine homemade food, relax with some sincere hospitality and become a member of the “Mo Betta” family.
Dining recommendations? Contact Rob Roedel at email@example.com
the eating essentials
MO’ BETTA GUMBO
16925 Interstate 30
Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.