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50 Things We Love About Acadiana

Our love letter to the region, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Acadiana Profile magazine

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Acadiana Profile, we’re reflecting on all the ways that the region has grown, thrived and transformed into the cultural heart of Louisiana. With its unrivaled music and entertainment, nature and culture and — our personal favorites — food and drink, Acadiana is a place like no other. We present to you 50 Things We Love About Acadiana. We hope you love them, too.

 


1

Hawk’s Restaurant
 

RAYNE The drive out to this “middle of nowhere” restaurant may be a deterrent for some, but those braving the journey will find what some locals have called the best, biggest and cleanest crawfish in Acadiana. There is even a helpline that a lost traveler can call to find their way. 415 Hawks Road / 337-788-3266 / hawkscrawfish.com

 

2

Crying Eagle Brewery
 

LAKE CHARLES Prepared in “the heel of the boot,” this local brewery crafts its beers with unique flavors and ingredients, from the sweetness of grapefruit to the bitterness of coffee. They are best known for their Calcasieu Common, Louisiana Lager and Ready to Mingle brews, but the ever-changing menu always promises something new. 1165 E. McNeese St. / 337-990-4871 / cryingeagle.com

 

3

Judice Inn
 

LAFAYETTE You won’t find fries on the menu or ketchup on the table — this family-owned restaurant hasn’t served either since opening in 1947. But add-ons aren’t needed, as the burgers are something of local legend for their perfect level of seasoning and a “secret sauce.” 3134 Johnston St. / 337-984-5614 / judiceinn.com

 

4

Billy’s Boudin & Cracklins
 

SCOTT This is the place to go if you’re in search of that legendary cuisine found only in southern Louisiana: boudin. A favorite among Acadiana natives, Billy’s also serves up its famous homemade recipe in boudin pistolettes, crawfish boudin, boudin rollups and crunchy boudin balls. 523 Apollo Road / 337-232-1114 / billysboudin.com
 

Original boudin links and customer-favorite crunchy boudin balls are served in heaping portions at Billy’s Boudin. For anyone unable to make the trip to the storefront, Billy’s will carefully package and ship any of its delicacies.

 

5

Acadiana Park Nature Station
 

LAFAYETTE Nestled in the woods of Acadiana Park is this 150-acre facility dedicated to environmental education and research. Visitors can enjoy tours of a 6-mile nature trail, night hikes, nearby camping and a 9.5-mile paddle down the Bayou Vermilion. 1205 E Alexander St. / 337-291-8448 / naturestation.org

 

6

Lake-view Park & Beach
 

EUNICE For the family on a road trip, this is the perfect place to hitch up the RV (or rent a cabin) and enjoy amenities like free WiFi, a movie theater, water slides and playgrounds. While the kids are busy, adults can enjoy a 13-acre fishing pond and live music. 1717 Veterans Memorial Highway / 337-457-2881 / lvpark.com

 

7

Feed & Seed
 

LAFAYETTE This 100-year-old building, formerly a feed store, is now home to a large wooden dance floor. The rustic warehouse space is used for art, live music and dance, and the space has recently become licensed as an events hall. The unique atmosphere continues into an outdoor patio and bar. 106 N. Grant St. / 337-330-4860 / feedandseedlafayette.com

 

8

Blue Moon Saloon
 

LAFAYETTE For the best in honky tonk culture and live roots music, look no further. More than just a venue, this is the place where travelers, artists and musicians come to celebrate their culture and share a drink, all before settling in for the night in the saloon’s guesthouse. 215 E. Convent St./ 337-234-2422 / bluemoonpresents.com

 

9

The French Press
 

LAFAYETTE The French-American menu and expert preparation have made French Press the premier breakfast spot in Lafayette. Stop in Tuesday through Sunday for brunch, or try some of Chef Justin Girouard’s intimate dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. The early bird gets the worm here — tables tend to fill up fast. 214 E. Vermilion St. / 337-233-9449 / thefrenchpresslafayette.com

A perfectly-cooked sunny-side-up egg and béchamel sauce top the Croque Madame at The French Press, along with grilled Black Forest ham, gruyere cheese and herbed aioli. The restaurant combines Cajun, French and Italian flavors for bold twists on classic dishes.

 

 

10

Poche ’s Market
 

BREAUX BRIDGE Since 1962, Poche’s smokehouse has turned out speciality meats like boudin, tasso, stuffed chicken and more. Daily specials are available in the eatery’s cafeteria-style dining room. Several of their famous meats are now offered for retail sale so that diners can bring their next meal home. 3015 Main Highway A / 337-332-2108 / poches.com

 

11

Jungle Gardens
 

AVERY ISLAND Adjacent to the Tabasco factory is a 170-acre garden that runs along Bayou Petite Anse. The botanicals found in the garden come from around the world and can be observed, along with rich local wildlife, on a walk through the garden. Bird tours are available by reservation. Louisiana 329 and Main Road / 337-369-6243 / junglegardens.org

 

12

Tabasco Factory Tours & Country Store
 

AVERY ISLAND Every pepper used to make world-famous Tabasco sauce is grown and harvested on Avery Island. Visitors can see how the sauce is made in the factory tour and museum before heading over to the Tabasco Restaurant, where every dish is seasoned with those signature peppers. 32 Wisteria Rd. / 337-373-6129 / tabasco.com/visit-avery-island

 

13

Alzina’s Cajun Kitchen
 

GALLIANO Make your reservations now — diners can expect to wait as long as a year before they can sit down with Alzina Toups for a home-cooked meal at her own table. Her classic Cajun dishes have been called some of the best in the world and have kept visitors waiting for their chance to dine with her for over 40 years. 117 E. 132 St. / 985-632-7200

 

14

Rip Van Winkle Gardens
 

NEW IBERIA The peacefulness and serenity of these lush gardens and sprawling lawns may lull you into a 20-year sleep if you’re not careful. Peacocks roam free and ancient oaks tower overhead, and the architectural marvel that is the Joseph Jefferson Mansion is available for tours. Coins from Jean Lafitte’s treasure, which was buried on the island, are on display inside. 5505 Rip van Winkle Road / 337-359-8525 / ripvanwinklegardens.com

 

15

Bread & Circus Provisions
 

LAFAYETTE Aside from the aesthetic appeal of the modern, industrial decor, this farm-to-table restaurant offers some of the most unique meals and cocktails in the area. The menu features a combination of Cajun and international foods. Stop in for a deli-style lunch or visit later for a candlelit dinner. 258 Bendel Road / 337-408-3930 / bandcprovisions.com

 

16

Acadiana Center for the Arts
 

LAFAYETTE Known as the cultural hub for arts and programming in the Lafayette area, ACA boasts more than 9,000 square feet of gallery space and a 300-seat auditorium for live music, dance and theater. The center also participates in free ArtWalks on the second Saturday of every month.101 W. Vermilion St. / 337-233-7060 / acadianacenterforthearts.org

 

17

Shade Tree Cafe
 

BROUSSARD Sit under the sun or the stars and enjoy heaping portions of homemade food at this outdoor cafe. A grand oak tree standing over the lawn provides just enough shade, but it’s not uncommon for guests to sprawl out on the grass. The food is spectacular, and the atmosphere is unrivaled. 219 S. Eola Road / 337-839-2803

 

18

Poor Boy’s Riverside Inn
 

BROUSSARD Poor Boy’s has come a long way from its inception as a snowball cart. Now with full-service restaurants in both Lafayette and New Iberia, the family-owned business continues its legacy of serving generous portions of signature items like crabmeat au gratin and broiled stuffed lobster. 240 Tubing Road / 337-837-4011 / poorboysriversideinn.com

 

19

Ember Grille & Wine Bar
 

LAKE CHARLES Boasting the most extensive wine cellar around, the fine dining experience at Ember will satisfy your craving for gourmet cuisine in a luxurious setting. Enjoy live entertainment seven days a week while you sample the classic Louisiana fare and delicious house-made desserts. 777 Ave L’Auberge / 337-395-7565
 

The industrial-chic decor at Ember Grille & Wine Bar creates a warm, comforting atmosphere that enhances the presentation of its high-quality cuisine.

 

20

Rita Mae ’s Kitchen
 

MORGAN CITY The appeal of this tiny establishment comes largely from the humble, cozy atmosphere inside, but that’s not to say that the food isn’t spectacular. With a management and cooking staff with decades of experience, dishes like the seafood gumbo and fried pork chops pack some of the best flavors in town. 711 Federal Ave. / 985-384-3550

 

21

City Bar
 

MAURICE No list is complete without mention of City Bar’s famous Cajun Bloody Marys, made up of the same special blend of seasonings and flavors they’ve served since 1927. A friendly staff and delicious drinks make this local watering hole the perfect place to spend a late night. 8401 Maurice Ave. / 337-893-1968

 

22

Chicot State Park
 

VILLE PLATTE With 6,400 acres of hills and a 2,000-acre man-made lake, this is the largest of Louisiana’s state parks. The freshwater is perfect for fishing largemouth bass, bluegills and red-ear sunfish, and a hiking and backpacking trail will take travelers through several campsites where they can stop to enjoy the unique ecosystem. 3469 Chicot Park Road

 

23

Grand Opera House of the South
 

CROWLEY Once abandoned, the newly-renovated and ornate decor of this opera house lends to the grandeur of the entertainment featured there, be it live theater, dance or music. Notable performers include 2018 Grammy Award winners The Lost Bayou Ramblers (see our profile in La Musique on page 84), and in its early days hosted Clark Gable, Enrico Caruso and Babe Ruth. 505 N. Parkerson Ave. / 337-785-0440 / thegrandoperahouse.org

 

24

Prejean’s
 

LAFAYETTE The award-winning culinary team at this Lafayette landmark is the most decorated of any restaurant in the South. Since 1980, the combination of fresh seafood, wild game and nightly live music have spun an atmosphere of magic and tradition. This one is not to be missed. 3480 N.E. Evangeline Throughway / 337-896-3247 / prejeans.com
 

Served with potatoes and corn and seasoned just right, Prejean’s boiled shrimp is just one way to enjoy this Cajun favorite. The restaurant also serves fried shrimp and Carenco Kicking Shrimp, which consists of crispy panko-coated shrimp served over Sriracha cabbage slaw and drizzled with a sweet chili sauce.

 

25

A-Bear’s Cafe
 

HOUMA This mom-and-pop establishment founded by Curly and Jane Hebert is one of the oldest restaurants in Houma. The building is completely made of cypress and comes right out of a Cajun memory. A-Bear’s offers filling portions of gumbo along with live music and dancing on Fridays. To top it off, they’ve got some of the friendliest staff around. 809 Bayou Black Drive / 985-872-6306

 

26

Bayou Teche Brewing
 

ARNAUDVILLE Stop by this local brewery for a selection of beers specially designed to complement Cajun cuisine — like the LA 31 Biere Pale Ale, which pairs perfectly with red beans and rice or boiled crawfish. Tours and live music are available on weekends, while the tap room is open for tasting every day. 1106 Bushville Highway / 337-754-5122 / bayoutechebrewing.com
 

Bayou Teche Brewing’s Swamp Thing IPA packs a punch with its citrusy flavor, which is achieved by blending a Pilsner malt with hops including Mosaic, Citra and Chinook. This signature brew and more are available for tasting in the brewery’s tap room.

 

27

Cajun Music Hall of Fame
 

EUNICE Admission is free to this museum, which is owned and operated by the Cajun French Music Association. Housed in a 1930s country store, visitors can see artifacts and memorabilia dedicated to preserving Acadian culture and honoring some of the greatest Cajun musicians in history. 240 S C C Duson St. / 337-457-6534 / cajunfrenchmusic.org/halloffame.html

 

28

Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant
 

HENDERON Come for the food (stuffed crabs and spicy gumbo), but stay for the entertainment. Pat’s hosts live Swamp pop and Zydeco musicians every weekend at the Atchafalaya Club, and for those staying out late for a long night of dancing, Pat’s Edgewater Inn is just a stone’s throw away. 1008 Henderson Levee Rd. / 337-228-7512 / patsfishermanswharf.com

 

29

Acadian Village
 

LAFAYETTE Sprawling over 32 acres is Acadian history brought to life. Seven of the eleven buildings in the village are original 19th-century homes, each moved piece by piece and meticulously reassembled. Stop by for a tour, or visit in December to see the village light up for the holidays. 200 Greenleaf Drive / 337-981-2364 / acadianvillage.org

 

30

Shucks!
 

ABBEVILLE For fresh seafood including oysters and crabmeat and wild game like alligator and duck, SHUCKS! is your one-stop shop. The restaurant’s recipes have been handed down generation to generation, ensuring the same bold, delicious flavors are delivered every time. 701 W.  Port St. / 337-898-3311 / shucksrestaurant.com
 

An order of candied, charbroiled oysters (served with a sugar cane pepper glaze and a feta and bleu cheese crumble) is just the start of a delicious meal at SHUCKS! Follow it up with an order of crawfish étouffée and fried tails, which pairs perfectly with a “Shrimply Irresistible” Bloody Mary.

 

31

Liberty Theater
 

EUNICE This historic vaudeville house is now widely known for “Rendez-Vous Des Cajuns,” a radio and TV show recorded in front of a live audience every Saturday night. Tickets are available the morning of the event, and guests are invited to a dance floor in front of the stage. 200 Park Ave. / 337-457-6577

 

32

Little Big Cup
 

ARNAUDVILLE With a beautiful dining room and a deck overlooking Bayou Fusilier, Little Big Cup has come a long way since its days as a coffee house. The restaurant now serves traditional Cajun cuisine with an elegant presentation, and their boucherie brunch buffet on Sundays is a must-try. 149 Fuselier Road / 337-754-7147

 

33

Lafayette Science Museum
 

LAFAYETTE Part natural history museum and part planetarium, this establishment teaches its cultural history through art exhibitions and hands-on science. Its 10,000 square feet of exhibition space includes a virtual reality lab, a crawl space designed to teach about insects and a virtual aquarium. 433 Jefferson St. / 337-291-5544 / lafayettesciencemuseum.org

 

34

Vermilionville Historic Village
 

LAFAYETTE Preserving history from 1765 to 1890, Vermilionville is a unique history museum where Acadian, Native American and Creole culture come to life. Local artisans are costumed and in character as they guide visitors through seven restored homes and demonstrate cooking and live music. Boat tours are also available. 300 Fisher Road / 337-233-4077 / vermilionville.org

 

35

Blue Dog Cafe
 

LAFAYETTE What better way to enjoy Cajun cuisine than surrounded by a private collection of George Rodrigue’s art? Named after Rodrigue’s iconic character, Blue Dog Cafe hosts live music and even serves an award-winning brunch featuring carved prime rib, crawfish enchiladas, oyster cornbread dressing and free mimosas.1211 West Pinhook Road / 337-237-0005 / bluedogcafe.com

 

36

Buck & Johnny’s
 

BREAUX BRIDGE The best of Cajun and Italian flavors are combined at this unique restaurant. Live music is played Thursday and Friday nights, but be sure to consider Buck & Johnny’s famous Zydeco Breakfast on Saturday mornings, when you can enjoy music and bottomless cocktails. 100 Berard St. / 337-442-6630 / buckandjohnnys.com

 

37

Champagne ’s Cajun Swamp Tours
 

BREAUX BRIDGE Set up camp, board a kayak or airboat, and journey down historic Lake Martin. With an experienced tour guide, you’ll encounter several native birds like burrowing owls, great blue herons and pileated woodpeckers. You’ll also learn about the 500-year-old cypress and tupelo trees and the secret of how Cajuns harvested and used this wood. 1151 Rookery Road / 337-230-4068 / champagnesswamptours.com

 

38

Cowboys Saloon
 

SCOTT The wild west and modern amenities come together in the Cowboy’s family. Pool tables, a jukebox and bar-top video games await patrons looking for a boot-scootin’ good time at the Saloon. The Nightclub is just a few steps away for anyone looking for live zydeco and country bands. 211 N. Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. / 337-232-6003 / cowboyslafayette.com/saloon

 

39

Artmosphere
 

LAFAYETTE The vibrant colors and eclectic decor of this bistro’s exterior are just a taste of what you’ll find inside. Enjoy lunch, dinner or a late-night meal prepared with ingredients from Artmosphere’s own garden, or show up to see displays of local art and live music six nights a week. 902 Johnston St. / 337-233-3331 / artmosphere.vpweb.com

 

40

Randol’s Seafood Restaurant
 

LAFAYETTE Make this your next stop if you’re looking for toe-tapping entertainment in a downhome environment. Even as it nears its 40th anniversary, Randol’s maintains nightly live music and prepares signature Cajun meals and seafood cooked to perfection. 2320 Kaliste Saloom Road / 337-981-7080 / randols.com

 

41

Parish Brewing Company
 

BROUSSARD In addition to its flagship beer Canebrake, a wheat ale sweetened with cane syrup, Parish brews a wide selection of local favorites like its juice bomb IPAs, Ghost in the Machine and Envie Pale Ale. The taproom is open six days a week and tours are available on Saturdays. 229 Jared Drive / 337-330-8602 / parishbeer.com

 

42

Pamplona Tapas Bar
 

LAFAYETTE Both the food and ambiance of this tapas bar are styled after Ernest Hemingway’s favorite retreat: Pamplona, Spain, which is famous for bullfighting. All of the restaurant’s ingredients are prepared and served fresh, from their fruits and greens to their meat and seafood. A selection of Spanish wines are available to top off the meal. 631 Jefferson St. / 337-232-0070 / pamplonatapas.com
 

An order of mussels at Pamplona’s Tapas Bar comes finished with a savory saffron cream. The refined dishes are inspired by a combination of international flavors from Spain, France, Italy and North Africa, and dinner is complete with a perfect glass of wine served through a precise, temperature-controlled pouring system.

 

43

The Wurst Biergarten
 

LAFAYETTE The first of its kind in the Acadiana area, this open-air market and catered park serves traditional biergarten cuisine and European and German beers. After you’ve had your fill of food and drink, hang out on the outdoor deck and listen to live music, or wander through the market area where local vendors and artists sell their treasures. 537 Jefferson St. / 337-534-4612 / wurstbiergarten.com
 

Laughs, drinks and food abound at The Wurst Biergarten’s patio bar, where family and friends can gather for a fun-filled night under the stars. The festive space has a huge selection of imports and domestic beers and even has wine on tap. Top it off with something to eat — we recommend trying the boudin grilled cheese.

 

44

Steam-boat Bill’s
 

LAKE CHARLES Need we say more than “hot and spicy crawfish”? Since the 1980s, Steamboat Bill’s has served some of the best Cajun flavors from both land and sea. Tuck into a plate of crawfish and shrimp pistolettes, jumbo butterfly shrimp, fried oysters or boudin balls. Catering is also available. 1004 N. Lakeshore Drive / 337-494-1070 / steamboatbills.com

 

45

Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center
 

THIBODAUX Managed by the National Park Service, this site features an Acadian history museum, walking tours and boat tours down Bayou Lafourche. Once a week, the center also hosts a live Cajun music session and, as part of their linguistics program, a Francophone get-together to preserve the original language of the area. 314 St. Mary St. / 985-448-1375

 

46

Pont Breaux’s Cajun Restaurant
 

BREAUX BRIDGE Listen to live Zydeco music almost every night as you enjoy traditional Creole cuisine and seafood at this cultural cornerstone. Patrons are invited to hit the dance floor once their meal is done, and group rates are available for families and larger parties. 325 W. Mills Ave. / 337-332-4648 / pontbreauxscajunrestaurant.com

 

47

Evangeline Oak Park
 

ST. MARTINVILLE The story of this historic site inspired the famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, which recounts the trials of Evangeline as she awaits the return of her true love. The Evangeline Oak is said to be the spot where they finally reunited. Near the park is Evangeline’s tomb, which is adorned with a bronze statue of her likeness. 122 Evangeline St. / 337-394-2232

 

48

Shadows on the Teche
 

NEW IBERIA Sitting along the Bayou Teche and surrounded by towering oaks, Shadows is an historic antebellum home originally constructed for a sugar planter in 1834. The home is now a National Historic Landmark, with original furnishings and family belongings preserved inside to showcase the lifestyle of that time. Tours are available. 317 E. Main St. / 337-369-6446 / shadowsontheteche.org
 

This Classic Revival-style home depicts the Southern plantation lifestyle of the 1800s and is visited by over 25,000 people each year.

 

49

La Poussiere
 

BREAUX BRIDGE The good times have been going strong at this authentic Cajun dance hall for over 60 years. Not much has changed in that time, and it still opens its doors every Saturday and Sunday for live music showcasing the culture’s traditional music, language and heritage. 1301 Grand Pointe Ave. / 337-332-1721 / lapoussiere.com

 

50

Morvant ’s Bar & Grill
 

YOUNGSVILLE Perhaps most well-known for the delicious burgers they’ve been slinging for more than 30 years, Morvant’s is also a go-to for drinks, poboys, boiled crawfish and their speciality eggplant fries. Guests can enjoy the atmosphere inside or grab a table in the covered patio. 200 Lafayette St. / 337-856-7469 / fb.com/morvantsbargrill

 

 

 

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