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The 2nd Floor at Crawdaddy's in Visalia

Jan 26, 2015 10:38AM ● Published by Brandi Barnett

Good Vibes

February 2015
By Fache Desrochers
Photos: Christy Canafax

What is it that makes a great host? An intrinsic love of entertaining, of course. And some expertise with food and drinks is certainly essential, too. But perhaps the quality that separates a good host from a truly great one is the way that a great host always seems to have something special up his or her sleeve. A surprise or treat that they’ve been saving for the right moment, and for the right guest. Something they seem to have been saving just for you.
   
Dynamic and well-established, Visalia restaurant and bar Crawdaddy’s is something of a local landmark, and every inch the embodiment of a good host. Situated on a bustling corner in downtown Visalia, its iconic New Orleans-style structure rises three stories above the street, and exudes the kind of undeniable, fun-filled charm typical of an establishment that offers something for everyone. From the first floor’s combination of comfortable sports bar, casual classic menu and exciting tradition of live music six nights a week (including a delightful open-stage Sunday jam session), Crawdaddy’s is known to most locals as a relaxed place whose only requirement is that you come ready for a good time.
   
Indeed, for owner and operator Keith Korsgaden, this instinct to let the good times roll is inherent to both his chosen industry and his outlook on life. “I’ve always worked in the restaurant business, and there’s something about it…every night is a party, and you get to see and meet so many different, great people,” says Korsgaden. “I just love being a part of it. I always have.”

And for those in the know, just up Crawdaddy’s casual, jocular sleeve, this hotspot boasts one of Visalia’s best hidden gems: the second-floor restaurant. Featuring a separate, upscale menu that is an expert fusion of perfected all-American fare, California classics and Cajun must-haves, the Crawdaddy’s upstairs eatery is a major player in the local fine dining circuit, and for good reason. The ambience of this space is curated, comfortably intimate and truly one-of-a-kind. The second floor vantage point affords a charming view of downtown Visalia, framed magically with quintessential New Orleans wrought iron curling gently into delicate balconies upon which you might observe a fellow diner enjoying a quiet moment with a post-meal cigar and fine brandy from the private upstairs bar. Staffed by a crew of some of Visalia’s most celebrated, seasoned servers, the desires of diners are not merely met, but exceeded with a gracious flourish.
   
In keeping with this aura of attentive excellence, Crawdaddy’s acclaimed second-floor menu is the result of an organic collaboration between expert chefs and enthusiastic patronage. The kitchen has observed the favorites of its clientele over the years, and evolved its menu to suit their tastes. “When we first opened, our menu was strictly Cajun, but we quickly realized that wasn’t exactly right,” recalls Korsgaden. “We needed to add the favorites, the fine classics. People love our blackened catfish and jambalaya, but we’ll also charbroil you the most excellent steak in town.”
   
The overarching attitude of Crawdaddy’s is one of celebration: to eat, drink and keep the good vibes going. But those who discover the delights of the second floor uncover a deeper kind of celebration; a carefully-crafted, intimate fête where fine dining, exquisite drinks and unparalleled service come together so seamlessly, it feels like the second floor has been expecting you. Like the most excellent host, Crawdaddy’s upper level awaits you, more than ready to festoon your plate with haute cuisine, fill your glass with the perfect libation and create an evening that rises above it all, in every sense of the word.


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