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Every Day is Mardi Gras for Deja Roux Food Truck

Deja Roux Cajun and Soul Food Truck, owned by William “Papa Will” Wallace and his daughter, Jennifer Greenlee, is a passion project for their whole family.  The family moved from Mississippi in 2010 and tried almost every southern or Cajun style restaurant in Denver, and decided they could do it better.  They perfected their version of the po’ boy sandwich, and it tasted like home. They brought the goods to a crawfish boil at Zuni Street Brewing Company for Mardi Gras.  

“It’s more about the tradition and providing the experience that you would have down south,” Greenlee said.  “Bouncing off of one another, propels us to push the envelope until you find something that’s really special.”

Their start was ‘chaotic,’ hitting the ground running with too many menu items just two months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the time, we couldn’t get a lot of our stuff,” Wallace said. “And nobody was out, so we’d sell a little bit here and a little bit there, but it was serious.”

Wallace was laid off from his job in the oil business shortly after the pandemic began, but it gave him more time to work on the truck with his daughter and granddaughters, Marley and Norah. Marley became head cashier at the age of 9, keeping  up with rowdy customers and keeping a watchful eye on her tip jar.

During the crawfish boil, Marley could be seen helping set up tables and assisting her grandpa as he chatted with Mike Colvin, a friend and business associate of Deja Roux who helped Wallace get things with the truck rolling. Meanwhile, Norah ran the cash register, every now and then taking a break to admire the massive cooler filled to the brim with crawfish. She said she enjoys the time with her family, and is grateful for the extra cash she can spend on Slime.

“It ain’t the money, you don’t get rich with a food truck,” Wallace said. “But it really means something when someone comes up to you and says ‘this is the best damn seafood I’ve ever had.’”

The food truck has become a local favorite, with regulars coming by for every single one of their menu items. Papa Will swears by his catfish and will challenge anyone brave enough to a blind taste test challenge. Customers love the food.   

“I live a block away, so whenever he’s here, I’m here,” said Stan Young, a regular at both Zuni Street Brewing Company and Deja Roux. “It goes back to the roots and tastes familiar. I love the fried okra, you just can’t get it anywhere else.”

Greenlee has cut back on her food truck hours because of her job as a full time engineer and health issues.  Even so, she loves cooking and can’t help coming up with new ideas for Deja Roux, such as bottling her secret roux recipe or even expanding into more trucks or opening a full restaurant.   While she says that’s not possible right now, Greenlee still joins her family on Deja Roux to spend time with them, as well as spread the food they love to their community.

“I want to carry on what we’ve created and worked for, and hopefully my daughters will want to continue it on, as well, and make our place here in Denver.”

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