Patio of the Week: Watermark & Backwater Voodoo bolstered by New Orleans-style vibes

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Celebrating summer and the uptick of outdoor dining, Dayton.com will spotlight restaurant patios across the Miami Valley on a weekly basis.

Backwater Voodoo opened mid-pandemic in September of 2021 and thank goodness it did.

The Miamisburg restaurant and bar was inspired by trips to New Orleans taken by owners Maria and Eric Walusis, who own Watermark next door.

Inside the 200-year-old building, the décor and vibe are reminiscent of a Creole cottage in NOLA. However, during warmer months in weather that cooperates, it’s the French Quarter-inspired outdoor patio shared by both Watermark and Backwater Voodoo that really shines.

There are 40 seats in the quaint Backwater Voodoo, but the spacious patio seats up to 120 people. Currently, Watermark is offering special patio pitchers of cocktails crafted just for the season, including a grapefruit and elderflower concoction that is light and tasty.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

If you want something more spirited, Backwater Voodoo has you covered with original and classic Tiki drinks.

The notorious Zombie ($12, “the drink that launched a thousand Tiki bars, the Holy Grail, the Golden Fleece”) is a classic and a favorite. Invented in the 1930s by Donn Beach at his Don the Beachcomber Restaurant, this cocktail can be a boozy juicy revelation if made correctly and a sugary waste of rum if made by someone not practiced and knowledgeable. At Backwater Voodoo it’s a delightful symphony of luscious, interesting, sweet and spice.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

The Jazz Funeral ($13), a cocktail homage to all things New Orleans, is another favorite — both of ours and customers.

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The attractive outdoor space is perfect for enjoying such a well-crafted cocktail on a nice summer evening dining al fresco.

There is also live music on the patio every Thursday evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and they host a full live band one Saturday each month during the summer.

On July 31 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., they will present their first annual “Beach Party” complete with a luau buffet and live entertainment from the Ampfibians, a surf-rock band from Cincinnati. For tickets and details visit https://www.exploretock.com/eatdrinkwatermark/event/353004/backwater-beach-party.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

When there isn’t a special event, diners are welcome to eat and drink from either restaurant, although the service staff requests each table be served from one restaurant at a time as opposed to splitting the table between the two. Reservations are not accepted for the patio, but with a dinner reservation at Watermark, you can receive priority seating on the patio, subject to available space.

Chef Maria has been steadily making improvements to the large patio all season, including more tables, additional soft-seating, and in a few weeks a large shade sail to help cool off diners in that late summer sun.

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Late in the evening, when the firepit is lit and the table lanterns glow, it is especially inviting to grab a nightcap after a stroll down the picturesque and historic downtown streets of Miamisburg. It’s the only place within hundreds of miles you are going to find the Voodoo Daiquiri ($12) made famous by Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans that’s anywhere close to the original. Since they jealously guard the recipe, Eric reverse-engineered it very carefully, and is convinced he has figured it out. If you have had one, head over and you be the judge.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

In addition, “Little Bites” include Hawaiian rolls with griddled Spam, caramelized scallion, melted swiss and spicy Chinese mustard (3 for $9.95), Boudin Balls ($11.95), a deep fried New Orleans classic made with pork shoulder and rice, with Remoulade for dipping and, my personal favorite, Death Rolls ($9.95) — generously stuffed alligator egg rolls with peppers, onions, cabbage and dirty rice.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Credit: CONTRIBUTED/ALEXIS LARSEN

Lagniappe (“a little something extra”) options include crispy Southern pork ribs ($18.95), Creole catfish ($17.95), Creole shrimp and grits ($16.95) and a wonderful crawfish Etoufée served over white rice ($14.95), dirty rice ($15.95) or “poutine-style” over Tiki Tots for ($16.95). If you are still craving sugar after cocktails there is a bananas foster bread pudding with banana rum cream and caramel crème anglaise ($8) or a Café au Lait pot de crème ($7).

As they would say in New Orleans, “laissez les bon temps rouler,” or more simply put, let the good times roll.

Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

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