What they're saying in the media about Mel Melton and
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse - Durham
Despite my looking at the menu online beforehand, I had a hard time deciding what to order. There were just so many things I wanted to try...
Posted by: Lenore at Eclectic Glob
Okay, ya'll - this place deserves to be checked out. We went last night for the first time and had a very nice dinner. The food was delicious - oh sure, you might find better cajun in New Orleans, but in the Triangle? I got the cajun sampler: etouffee, jambalaya and red beans and rice. Major comfort food. I'm guessing not everything on the menu is going to be fabulous, but we all enjoyed our meals. The prices were reasonable, the vibe was funky - always a plus for me - it's pretty cool what they did with a little corner strip-mall joint...
Posted by: suse at Chowhound.com
Y'all are right! Very good cajun food. Owner learned his trade in Lafayette LA. Go after 8 PM or so Thurs-Sat for some of the very best music----blues, R&B and zydeco. My band (www.zydecopious.com) plays there every 3 months or so.
The Triangle is getting better at cajun/creole offerings.
Posted by: garnermike at Chowhound.com
Love Papa Mojos. I have been to New Orleans three times and their gumbo is right up there. I had bad food expericnes at Yancey's and Zydeco this year and would not go back.
Posted by: at Chowhound.com
The Latest Buzz:
June 12, 2013
DURHAM, NC: Going through some archives of the talent that has played Papa Mojo's Roadhouseover the years. Quite amazing..........another list too long to include everyone, maybe you were at some of these shows, if you missed these acts when they appeared in the past few years, check our calendar for upcoming shows. Mel Melton continues to work his contacts to bring the best of contemporary blues, jazz, fusion, zydeco, and eclectic artists to Durham. Past musicians appearing at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse include: George Porter Jr & The Runnin Pardners, Mingo Fishtrap, Lightnin’ Wells, Big Bill Morganfield, Greg Humphreys, Dennis Gruenling, Doug Deming, John DelToro Richardson, Rich DelGrosso, Tom Principato, Beth McKee, Joe Taylor Group, John Dee Holeman, Big Joe & The Dynaflows, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, Jimmy Thackery, Will McFarlane, Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton, Randy McAllister, Bobby Messano, Leigh “Lil’ Queenie” Harris, Bobby Radcliff, Lil’ Brian & The Zydeco Travelers, Bill Lyerly, Michael Burks, Damon Fowler, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha-Chas, Randall Bramblett, R.J. Mischo, Lil’ Ronnie Owens, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Don Dixon, Rockin’ Jake, Studebaker John, Joe Filisko, Eric Nodden, Scott Ainslie, The Soul Rebels, The Scissormen, The Jeweltones…whew!! Our upcoming schedule is just as impressive so keep in touch.
Blues Foundation Blues Music Award Nominees & Winners Play Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse
June 12, 2013
Durham, NC: Since its opening in 2008, Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse has brought the best of the blues to Durham. We recently came across a notice in Blues Music Magazine for some summer blues festivals and noticed a lot of the festivals feature many blues artists that have played Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse. Many of these artists have also been nominated and won Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards. So Papa got to wonderin’, how many BMA nominated artists have played Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse and how many have won BMA’s? Over the past few years, these artists have been nominated or won BMA’s, the list is long so bear with us and please excuse us if we have missed anyone. Here ya go!
BISCUIT MILLER, MOOKIE BRILL, MICHAEL BURKS, CEDRIC BURNSIDE, CALIFORNIA HONEY DROPS, ALBERT CASTIGLIA, RICH DELGROSSO, SONNY LANDRETH, ERIC LINDELL, JANIVA MAGNESS, LIGHTNING MALCOLM, BOB MARGOLIN, SUGAR RAY NORCIA, NICK MOSS, MARIA MULDAUR, POPPA CHUBBY, THE BLUETONES, THE FLIP TOPS, THE NIGHTCATS, THE NIGHTHAWKS, JOHNNY RAWLS, BOBBY RUSH, CURTIS SALGADO, JOHNNY SANSONE, AND JP SOARS.
Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse has worked hard to bring the Southeast this level of blues musicianship and this list reflects our mission. Papa Mojo a/k/a Mel Melton is a renowned harmonica player in his own right and often sits in with the bands that play the roadhouse. Melton has also been associated with and shared the stage with many top notch blues artists including being the first artist to play on the stage at the Durham Performing Arts Center when he opened for the legendary B.B. King in 2008, he often shares the stage with Tab Benoit and the Voice of the Wetlands All Stars, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Buckwheat Zydeco and CJ Chenier. With his band, The Wicked Mojo’s, Melton has also recently opened up for Tab Benoit, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Nappy Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Magic Slim, Rod Piazza and the aforementioned B.B. King. This is top notch blues folks and you can’t get it any better than at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse! Check out our upcoming acts for more outstanding blues.
June 12, 2013
Street cred,oh yeah Papa Mojo's Roadhouse has street cred. Not only are we the ONLY blues club in the South East that brings you high level award winning talent, but owner, Mel Melton has played with or shared the stage with many, many top blues artists including: Tab Benoit and the Voice of the Wetlands All Stars, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, Buckwheat Zydeco and CJ Chenier. With his band, The Wicked Mojo’s, Melton has also recently opened up for Tab Benoit, Robert Cray, Taj Mahal, Nappy Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Magic Slim, Rod Piazza, B.B. King and many more. PMRH has also fed many artists that have played at the DPAC including Aaron Neville and The Tedeschi-Trucks Band. Melton has culinary cred too. He has had the honor of meeting and spending time with celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Bobby Flay, Ed Mitchell, Walter Royal, and Roland Mesnier. Melton has won national awards for his food including the Wisconsin Cheese Board’s National Cheeseburger contest and NC Best Dish Contest.
VIDEO: Roadhouse brings Cajun flair to Durham
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse recently got rave reviews on a new website promoting Raleigh-Durham. You can check out the VIDEO at rediscover.msn.com.
Musician and chef cooks up love for Urban Ministries
Published: September 2012 - By Laura Oleniacz
DURHAM -- Instead of watching daytime television in the downtime of his tours, blues musician and gumbo chef Bill Wharton keeps on performing. He changes the venue a little bit, though, going to homeless shelters and soup kitchens rather than to restaurants, bars or other music venues
Wharton, also known as the "Sauce Boss," is in town for a scheduled performance today at the Cajun and Creole restaurant Papa Mojo's Roadhouse. On Thursday, he used some of his down time to play, as well as to cook, in the café at Urban Ministries of Durham, a nonprofit that offers shelter, food, clothing and other services to homeless people and others in-need. Read More
Featured Live Blues Review - Bonita Blues Festival
Bonita Springs, Florida
Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos weren't a Florida band, but they were neighbors coming from North Carolina and they brought with them a whale of a good time. The zyde-cajun blues onslaught took me by surprise and almost immediately had the crowd on their feet and dancing. Backed by Max Drake on guitar, T.A. James on bass and Kelly Pace on drums, the Wicked Mojos were the perfect foil for Mel's on fire harp and rub board work that accompanied his vocals. Bridging the gap between southern swamp music and down home blues, the band were brought back for an encore and if time hadn't been an issue they would have been brought back more times. They were just a fun time! If you're around the Durham North Carolina area, make sure and stop at Mels' restaurant, Pap Mojo's Roadhouse and prepare for some good food and even better music. Read More
The many shades of blue
Published: March 1, 2012- Amy Sowder
DURHAM -- Everybody's got the blues, sometimes. Musicians are wailing them from North Carolina to Chicago. They're homegrown in the Florida swamps and wafting over from the Missippi Delta.
The bevy of blues crooners flocking to the Riverside Park stage in downtown Bonita Springs for the 6th annual Bonita Blues Festival on March 9 and 10, show how many shades of plumage can come from one music genre.
But then again, there are many shades of blue. Read More
1st Annual Blues Ball w/ Teresa James and The Nighthawks at Papa Mojo's Roadhouse!
Published: October 2011
Muldaur leaves Oasis behind
Published: October 2011 - By Cliff Bellamy
DURHAM -- A generation now in its 50s was introduced to Maria Muldaur in the mid-1970s, when “Midnight at the Oasis” became a radio hit and launched her solo career. The lilting, almost airy voice of that time has since matured, as fans of Muldaur’s more recent blues and roots-based recordings know.
Iconic Bluesman Robert Cray to perform on Clayton stage
Published: September 16, 2011
Local blues favourites Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos will open for the Robert Cray Band. The concert is a special presentation of The Clayton Center and will kick off the Center’s 2011-2012 performing arts season.
Read more: Fuquay-Varina Independent - Iconic Bluesman Robert Cray to perform on Clayton stage
Papa Mojo's Roadhouse Voted Among Best in Region for Customer Satisfaction
We've been awarded a 5-Star rating by Talk o the Town for Customer Satisfaction. Full Story
Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos at Fridays on the Porch
May 5, 2011 BY KATIE VICK
By now, you probably know that we really like Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos, and somehow, my admittedly abnormally hip 60-something year old mother always comes into the picture. She loves them! Full Story
August, 2010 BY DAVID MENCONI
Five years ago, North Carolina bluesman Mel Melton had the misfortune to release an album a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans - on a label based in Louisiana. Mayhem ensued, and the album vanished without a trace. But there's a happy ending. That album, "Papa Mojo's Roadhouse," is being re-launched on another label (Parma Records) with enhanced features, including DVD content and even some recipes from zydeco chef Melton's repertoire. Melton's Wicked Mojos will play Saturday night at the album's Durham namesake, Papa Mojo's Roadhouse. See papamojosroad house.com for details. Full Story
Seeking fried foods worthy of the N.C. State Fair
Craving deep-fried goodness, but can't wait until October? We're here to help. Each Friday in September, Bearded Lady will visit a local Best Dish in N.C. restaurant to see what chefs are frying to satisfy a Fair fanatic's hunger. Along the way, he'll sample deep-fried creations worthy of the N.C. State Fair. And, while you won't find these foods at the Fair, you will find them throughout the year at our participating restaurants. Full story
The road to Papa Mojo
July 24, 2010 11:30 PM - By Jay Ashley
The man I’m looking for is Mel Melton aka Papa Mojo. I’m wanting to do a piece on him for a Sunday feature next month and I have some digging to do. Kool B is my encyclopedia of blues. I know the acreage, but he knows the topography; which gully to follow, where the shortcuts and water holes are in the land of harmonica and strings and washboards for clacking rhythms when the blues get to jumping around and morph into Zydeco.
Melton is a Tar Heel gone to the bayou and back. A man whose harp case is as worn as the tire treads since he went to Lafayette, Louisiana and was wooed by the Cajuns to become one of them. He hit the road with his harmonica and his French knives. Read full article...
Restaurants Vying for Best Dish in NC
Published: May 2010 - By Dawn Baumgartner Vaughn
DURHAM -- Four local restaurants are among the 20 North Carolina eateries competing in the statewide Best Dish contest sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Our State magazine. Carolina Crossroads restaurant at the Carolina Inn and Il Palio Ristorante at the Siena Hotel, both in Chapel Hill, are also both competing in the fine dining category. Il Palio was a finalist last year, too. In the casual dining category, two-time winner Papa Mojo's Roadhouse in Durham is again in the running. New to the contest this year is Watts Grocery in Durham.
Papa Mojo's chef and owner Mel Melton said they are excited to be a finalist in the contest for three years running. They won the grand prize in 2008 and placed third last year, both in the casual dining category.
"It really is an honor to be in the same league with the best chefs, and restaurants, in the state," Melton said.
The Papa Mojo's competing menu this summer has four courses, starting with an appetizer of colossal shrimp with crab stuffing, fried and served with jezebel sauce. The soup is fresh corn bisque with local goat cheese crostini. The entree is ale braised pork osso buco with cane syrup glazed sweet potatoes and pan cooked greens. For dessert, there is a rustic peach tart with vanilla ice cream and pecan praline topping. Read full article...
He Will be Holding Court
Published: January 2010 - By Jim Young
"Our Pick" : Papa Mojo's Roadhouse
Published: Aug/Sept, 2009 Edition
"Where can you munch on gator, sip cocktails that taste like they were perfected at a Bourbon Street bar and dance to a Zydeco band, all without leaving Durham? Look no farther than Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse. The Cajun joint has found acclaim statewide, taking home an award last year for Best Dish in the state, and it’s up for the same this year. We went to judge for ourselves one bayou-muggy Saturday night and were quickly won over by the friendly service, diverse crowd and delicious food.
The catfish with crawfish étouffée was tender, flavorful and came with a healthy helping of perfect fried okra. Try the gator bites with spicy-sweet “jezebel” sauce. The shrimp and crab creole also excelled — nice heat, plenty of protein. The mint julep was refreshing, but the rum-based margarita was too sweet. Live music — led by none other than owner Mel Melton — had the dance floor rocking. You won’t find a better taste of the Cajun good life this side of N’awlins.
'Backwater' eatery captures Bayou mojo
Published: Jul 11, 2009
Whoever says South Durham is nothing but one chain restaurant after another has never been to the Greenwood Commons Shopping Center on N.C. 55. Inside its 1980s architecture a handful of family-owned, niche eateries offer a plethora of food options....
...The survival of most of the restaurants at Greenwood Commons depends upon the lunch crowd, as well as catering. Some do not even bother opening for dinner.
But the anchor to the shopping center, Papa Mojo's Roadhouse, goes so far as to offer a night scene. Its live music scene often features musicians from across the Southeast, as well as owner Roy "Mel" Melton playing zydeco on the harmonica, or his washboard, in his house band The Wicked Mojo's. The crowds pile into the ethereal space he's created within a very generic strip mall well after business hours. Full Article...
Triangle-Area Chefs to be Judges at Hillsborough Hog Day
Three Triangle-area chefs will be eating barbecue for breakfast on Saturday, June 20, at 8 a.m. when they serve as judges for the 2009 Hillsborough Hog Day Barbecue Cooking Contest. Thirty-one barbecue cooking teams are participating at an “undisclosed location” in downtown Hillsborough. The judging is closed to the public. The Hog Day Barbecue Contest judges are:
David Hunt will coordinate this pool of talented palates and serve as Chief Judge and tie-breaker. Each cooker team will present a portion of barbecue seasoned with that team's special sauce. Awards will be given for First through Fifth Place, with each of the top five teams receiving a cash award, trophy and—most importantly—bragging rights.
The Barbecue Contest winners will be announced at approximately 9:30 a.m. on the main Hog Day stage on the Cameron Park Grounds at 240 St. Mary's Road.
The 2009 Hillsborough Hog Day is Friday, June 19, from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is free, but bringing a canned or boxed food item for Orange Congregations in Mission Food Pantry is encouraged. On Saturday, June 20, the hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, and children up to 2 are free. The family-fun event features two tons of fresh-cooked barbecue, musical entertainment, children’s rides and games, a kids hog-calling contest, cruise-in car show , crafts, food, merchandise vendors, Hog Day souvenirs and more.
For information, visit www.hogdays.com or call the Hillsborough Orange County/Chamber of Commerce at (919) 723-8156.
Don Dixon at Papa Mojo's
Papa Mojo's is a nice venue for an intimate show. And the food ain't bad either! Mel is a affable host who made folks feel welcome. We got there WAY early and had dinner. As we left our table so they could get a few more diners in he was concerned that we had been rushed but we assured him that was not the case. In fact the wait staff and hostess were great, as was the food. I would definitely go back... and if I lived there I would be a regular! At the end of the night we realized that there had been no smoking in the room. WOW! That was nice! Full Article...
Papa Mojo's, 2008 casual dining winner, a finalist again
DURHAM -- Papa Mojo's Roadhouse won the Best Dish in North Carolina competition last year in the casual dining category. Celebrity television chef Bobby Flay presented Papa Mojo's owner Mel Melton with the award during the N.C. State Fair in October.
This year, the Cajun Creole restaurant in Durham is back again as a finalist, with a new menu featuring North Carolina ingredients. Available through the end of the month, items competing are: red potato and tasso croquettes, Pamlico River shrimp and butterbean chowder, pan fried soft shell crab with cucumber and tomato piccalili, and blueberry pan dowdie with Mapleview Farms vanilla ice cream.
Melton said he created the menu with specifics in mind that catered to what is in season for local seafood and produce. The restaurant uses its own tasso -- smoked seasoning pork. The appetizer is newly created for the contest. The chef-owner said that it is easy to use all local food, especially in a coastal state. The soft shell crab is moving up toward Maryland now, he said, but should be available throughout June. North Carolina is one of the top producers of blueberries, he said. The pan dowdie dessert has been a hit for Sunday brunch and might stay on the menu after the competition.
"There's a huge national trend to use locally produced food, " said Melton, who is originally from Gastonia but spent several years as a chef in New Orleans . He's already part of the slow food movement, he said.
" Louisiana was way ahead of the wave using local stuff grown in the Delta, " Melton said. Using produce from the soil "right out the back door" was always a teaching point of the chef's he studied with, he said.
Melton thinks using local food is going to become more and more prevalent. Here are the recipes for his competing dishes, available on the Papa Mojo's menu through June 30:
Tasso & potato croquettes with barbecue bleu cheese dressing
3 cups mashed potatoes
3/4 cup ground tasso
1 beaten egg
1 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Creole seasoning
1 clove minced garlic
For the batter:
1 beaten egg, whisked
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
For the dressing:
1 cup bleu cheese dressing
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1. Combine all ingredients above the batter in a large bowl.
2. Dip croquettes in egg wash and bread crumbs.
3. Heat oil in a deep skillet or fryer.
4. Fry in 350 degree fryer until golden brown.
Papa Mojo’s has come a long way. Originally written as a song by Mel Melton, the self-described “top food and music guy” at this southern Durham restaurant, it became the impetus for a now-thriving Creole culinary mecca. Full Article...
Living Life to Its Fullest
...the star of the show for me was the cochon de lait po’ boy, which is undoubtedly one of the best sandwiches in the Triangle.
Most 59 year old men are starting to plan for their later years in life, for the time when they slow down, take on fewer responsibilities, and simplify. Mel Melton is no such man. Melton, chef and co-owner of Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham, is looking to go faster. To do more. To live life to its fullest.
The food is a comprehensive rendition of cajun and creole favorites, which is difficult to pull off. But based on what I tasted, which was all provided to me complements of Melton, I’m pleased to state that Papa Mojo’s does a pretty damn good job, and in a couple of instances, a kick-ass job. Read the full review
Durham opens performing arts center
Durham, N.C. — The $48 million Durham Performing Arts Center opened Sunday night with a performance by legendary blues singer B.B. King.
...North Carolina native Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos opened Sunday for B.B. King. We are “very fortunate to get this gig. To open for B.B. in general is an honor, especially with this crew, but to open this new venue, that's very special,” Melton said. Read full story
One chef's mojo medley
Mel Melton has to be the only Triangle chef who is as likely to be found in the kitchen as on the stage in his own restaurant.
Melton, 59, is the owner of Papa Mojo's Roadhouse, a Cajun restaurant in Research Triangle Park in Durham. He is also the lead singer and harmonica player of the band Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos.
Melton discovered his culinary talent in the early 1970s while trying to find success as a musician in Lafayette, La. He played with renowned slide guitarist Sonny Landreth.
At the N.C. State Fair last month, Melton was awarded a first-place prize in the "Best Dish in N.C." contest for casual restaurants. Melton's winning dishes are skillet-fried oysters with garlic hot sauce, grilled catfish with crawfish étouffée and buttermilk pie with blackberry sauce and chantilly cream. All three are still on the menu. (Full disclosure: I was a judge for this contest.)
In a recent interview, Melton explained how he got into music and fell in love with Cajun culture and why celebrity chef Bobby Flay may help him get on The Food Network. Read full interview
Food Network Star Bobby Flay to Present Best Dish Award at the State Fair
International star Bobby Flay of the Food Network will present the "Best Dish in N.C." first place award for casual dining to Papa Mojo's Roadhouse local celebrity chef Roy "Mel" Melton at the N.C. State Fair on October 20. Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse, the Cajun destination in the Triangle, won for Melton's Skillet Fried Oysters with Garlic Hot Sauce, Grilled Catfish with Crawfish Etouffee, and Buttermilk Pie with Blackberry Sauce & Chantilly Cream.
The Best Dish in NC competition is the official restaurant contest of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and its Goodness Grows in North Carolina marketing program, which recognizes dishes that feature ingredients from North Carolina. The competition is open to all restaurants in N.C. and determines which restaurants serve the best fare the state has to offer. Papa Mojo's Roadhouse supports farms such as Carolina Classic Catfish, Simply Fresh, Ashley Farms and Papa Sonn Produce. Read more
Mon-Closed • Tues/Thurs- 11:30am-9pm • Wed 11:30am-11:00pm • Friday 11:30am-until • Sat 4pm-1am • Sun 11:00am-3pm
© 2013 Papa Mojo's Roadhouse • Greenwood Commons Shopping Center • 5410-Y Highway 55 • Durham, NC 27713 • Phone 919-361-2222 | Site: LEDM