We are proud to have our dental practice located in Lafayette, Louisiana, right in the heart of Cajun country. Undoubtedly, the best thing about living here is the food and one of my greatest weekend pleasures is cruising the back roads searching for the best boudin and shrimp gumbo. Until recently, you had to travel outside of Lafayette to ensure a great Cajun meal because despite the fact that Lafayette is in the heart of Cajun country, the restaurants in town left much to be desired. Until recently, Lafayette was a town known more for its night life than artistic culinary skills. As one resident stated, “it’s a Chili’s kind of town.”
Thankfully, that’s all changing. Over the past few years, chefs and entrepreneurs have been returning home and spicing things up.
Case in point: Leah Simon. Simon returned to her hometown Lafayette after spending two decades in NY and LA. Upon hearing that locals were driving all the way to Baton Rouge for sushi, she enlisted the help of her sister to open Tsunami Sushi downtown. Tsunami offers everything from sushi rolls to duck and has become so popular that the sisters opened a second location in Baton Rouge.
There’s also Justin and Margaret Girouard. After spending some time in France and New Orleans, the Girourads decided to return to their roots by opening the wildly popular French Press restaurant in an abandoned printing press downtown. Bon Appetit described the place;
“…on a weekend morning, it seems as though the entire city is gathered there for brunch. Hungover bearded types mingle with church families, both eager for dishes like the Sweet Baby Breesus… Girouard taps into his fine-dining roots on Friday and Saturday nights, when the white tablecloths come out and the dishes reflect the creativity you’d expect from his highfalutin education”.
From Cajun Benedict and chicken and waffles to roasted gulf escolar, The French Press has something for just about everyone.
But perhaps the most high-profile homecoming is that of Donald Link, and his business partner and fellow James Beard Award winner, Stephen Stryjewski, who franchised their famous New Orleans restaurant Cochon. Located in Lafayette’s south end, the menu features dishes like the oyster-and-bacon sandwiches, rabbit dumplings, and eggplant and shrimp dressing (drooling).
Being somewhat of a chef myself, the pleasure of living in such a quaint foodopolis counts doubly for me. So before you burn a tank of gas traveling through Cajun country in search of good eats, you may want to consider lingering in our very own downtown. Lafayette is quickly becoming a choice spot for both local and traveling foodies and we couldn’t be more excited (and hungry!).
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