J. Gumbo's is a Cajun / Creole chain, primarily in the Midwest, but slowly expanding to the South. I can't speak to the authenticity of the New Orleans flavors, since I've never been there, but I can tell you that the food was packed with flavor and delicious.
The three of us got there and managed to find a parking spot with relative ease (no small feat if you've ever tried to park anywhere in Downtown Columbia at lunchtime in the middle of the week). The restaurant isn't especially large (it used to be the Quizzno's on Sumter St.), but there were enough tables to seat everyone there. J. Gumbo's is only open for lunch (except on Thursdays - then it's open until 7:30 p.m.), and it wasn't super busy, which worked well for us. We took a quick look at the menu, ordered, grabbed our drinks, and claimed a table.
If I remember correctly, J had the White Chili. I didn't try any (this was the first time I'd met J, so if I'd started reaching across the table and digging into her food, it may have been a bit on the awkward side), but it looked tasty. J thought it was a bit on the spicy side, but she also admitted that she doesn't really have much of a spiciness tolerance. The White Chili comes served over rice, which J decided not to have. It was still a huge bowl of chili, and she had plenty of leftovers.
|Seriously looked good to me.|
|Another huge portion. Pretty sure A had leftovers too.|
|Much better without the bread.|
You can find J. Gumbo's Columbia location on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web. For locations in other areas, please see the corporate website.