MARDI GRAS: Miamisburg restaurant planning massive Fat Tuesday party



One of the things I relish most in life when it comes to food and dining is a well choreographed and paired food event.

It’s almost always a time where the restaurant in question is planning to pull out all of the stops for a theme they are deeply passionate about.

Because of the interest and attention it has from the planners, it ends up being worthy of the price of admission.

One restaurant that has done these kinds of events over the years to great success is Watermark, and in 2022 they are on a roll.

The first event they will be throwing along with the new restaurant next door, Backwater Voodoo, is a Mardi Gras party on Fat Tuesday (March 1) from 5-10 p.m.

Admission to the party is $15 per person or for the very affordable price of $65 you can get in to the party and enjoy a New Orleans Mardi Gras buffet.

A ticket gets you into three spots — Watermark, Backwater Voodoo and the large, new patio that joins them. Live entertainment will be featured in all three locations and grape-flavored Voodoo Daiquiris ($12, made famous by Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in the French Quarter) and authentic Hurricanes ($12) made with Appleton Estate Reserve rum will be available for purchase all night long.



The menu for those going all in with the buffet includes jambalaya with rice, muffuletta, fried catfish, crispy fried shrimp, Boudin balls, dirty rice, country green beans, cole slaw, creole potato salad, mixed green salad and Coca-Cola cake.

A limited a la carte menu will be offered as well including gumbo ($6 for a cup), Spammies (2 for $7), Po Boy Sliders (2 for $7), Tiki Tots, ($8), King Cake ($5 a slice), fried oysters (6 for $12.95), fresh oysters (raw or grilled, $14.95 for a half-dozen or $29.95 for a dozen).

“We love New Orleans and the Mardi Gras season. When we opened Watermark, we chose to begin celebrating every Fat Tuesday, and the event has grown each year. We want to make Miamisburg synonymous with Mardi Gras in the Dayton area, and we have even bigger plans for next year! #mardisburg,” said Maria Walusis, Chef and owner.

Her husband, Eric Walusis, Vice President of Operations says this year with more spaces to program the event they have gone all out with entertainment.

Credit: Photo by Amelia Robinson

Credit: Photo by Amelia Robinson

“For those not familiar, the opportunity to see Randy Villars perform Dixieland is worth twice the price of this ticket all by himself. Randy has played around the world, including with The Cincinnati Pops and The Dayton Philharmonic. He is a virtuoso performer, and the Dixieland band is out of this world. This year’s addition of the Backwater Voodoo venue gives us the opportunity to bring even more entertainment in the form of special dance performances by The Mythical Misfits. Regularly seen around the region, including the Ohio Renaissance Festival, they have created a special show entitled ‘The Mystery of the Voodoo Princess,’ and yes, the fire dancer will be appearing,” said Eric. “Since we expect people to want to move around and experience all of the different entertainment in the three different areas, we are doing open non-reserved seating. However, we recognize that a certain number of guests may strongly prefer a reserved table for the evening, so we are making a limited number of reserved tables available as VIP Seating for an additional charge. There will be plenty of open seating available across the three venues.”

Events like these are exciting. When the chef, owners and staff are passionate about throwing a party for guests it always shows.

The opportunity to have these dishes, in this setting with this vibe is transformative.

Chef Maria’s Muffuletta with her olive tapenade, fresh cold cuts and cheeses on jumbo Italian loaves will comfort. Her zesty Andouille sausage laced jambalaya that she served for Winter Restaurant Week based on a recipe from iconic Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme will delight with zippy spices. Her Boudin balls — a wonderful treat packed with fresh chicken thighs, ham, and Andouille, ground and blended with rice and Cajun seasonings fried crisp and served with remoulade — will impress as you can’t find this on a menu anywhere regionally. The dirty rice made with fresh braised pork shoulder, chicken liver, and Cajun spices is authentic and done right and the fried catfish and shrimp breaded in a gluten-free blend of corn masa and rice flour will be fried to crispy perfection and served with house-made remoulade. All of the food, drink and entertainment is a recipe for a magical evening out of the likes you don’t find often.



This winning recipe will be something that Maria and Eric plan to apply to different themes throughout the year including a special Italian dinner in March, Tiki dinner in April as well as specialty cocktail classes.

“Watermark and Backwater Voodoo have realized that putting on special events that our guests love is something we do really well, and we also feel it is a great way for us to promote and support our Miamisburg community,” said Eric. “We cannot wait to get the patio opened this spring - we have many more big events planned.”

The couple says they are planning ‘phase two’ for their outdoor patio this season, which will involve more seating, sun shades, and lighting. They shared that the patio was wildly successful last year, and they expect it to become one of the top outdoor dining destinations in the city as they bring their full vision to life this year.

“Hopefully we are thought of as simply a place that offers wonderful and memorable experiences. To borrow the book title, we believe in ‘The Power of Moments,’ and we want to give that to people in a positive way,” said Maria. “Food and drink can be such powerful touchstones in our lives, our families, and our cultures. We want to tap into that and create experiences which leverages that energy to create a lasting impression.”

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How to go

What: Watermark and Backwater Voodoo Mardi Gras party

When: 5-10 p.m. March 1

Where: 20 S. First St., Miamisburg and 103 S. Second St., Miamisburg

Cost: $15 per person for entry to enjoy entertainment or $65 for a Mardi Gras buffet and for access to enjoy entertainment. Add-ons including drinks and food are available for purchase. VIP seating is available for additional cost.

More information: or

The menus

If you haven’t been to Watermark or Backwater Voodoo for a while, or ever, you may be wondering what to order. When in doubt go with the most popular menu items.

“At Watermark, our winner and still champion is the mouthwatering Meatloaf Wellington. It has been our number-one selling entree from the day it was introduced, and we still get raves from guests, many of whom can’t seem to order anything else,” said Chef Maria Walusis. “In addition, our seasonal offering of House-Smoked Brisket during the warmer months and Coca-Cola Braised Pork Cheeks during the cold seasons continue to be super-popular as well.”

At Backwater voodoo the Jambalaya dip, Spammies and death rolls (alligator egg rolls) are the most popular appetizers. The Southern-style crispy ribs in the sweet tea glaze are a big seller, along with the classic baskets of fried catfish or shrimp, paired with spicy ‘Tiki Tots.’

Pizza Bandit

This week the team from Watermark and Backwater Voodoo in Miamisburg is partnering with the Pizza Bandit as they offer a “Jambalaya Dip Pizza,” based on the popular appetizer at Backwater Voodoo, to help the restaurant promote its upcoming Mardi Gras event on March 1. Their pizza is a “New Orleans Jambalaya Dip” pizza. The pizza features a Creole cream cheese sauce, mozzarella and provolone, caramelized peppers and onions, as well as sliced andouille sausage. The ‘crust dust’ will be a Creole seasoning. This special pizza pie will be available through Sunday by ordering direct from the Pizza Bandit. A18″ pie is $25, and slices are available for $5. Visit to order or to learn more.

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