From daiquiri bars to dives, there are plenty of great places in Acadiana to grab a cold one.
Travis Gauthier Photographs
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What makes a good bar is as subjective as your favorite drink to order in one. The answers will be different but all equally correct.
To some, the perfect watering hole is a place to get away from it all; others want a place they can bring the whole family for a good time. Some want an energetic sports crowd or a raucous live music venue; others want a relaxing atmosphere with a nice view. There are those who just want a place that’s close by with cold beer and cheap prices and those who will seek out a bar that concocts the perfect cocktail. The Acadiana area has places to satisfy all these tastes and then some, which makes sticking out in the crowd harder and harder to do.
First-time bar and grill owners Dustin and Erik Stark recently dealt with opening a bar and grill from scratch. Field of Dreams, located in Broussard, was their creation from foundation to finish. Before opening, the two brothers say they considered things that would distinguish their place from the rest of the pack and tried to learn as much as they could about how to build a successful business.
“It’s trying to find your niche in the community,” Dustin says. “That’s the big thing. It’s knowing your market, knowing where you are and knowing what is missing. You know, there [are] a lot of places that, say, don’t have a good live music bar, and to be able to fill in that void may not ensure success, but it definitely helps.”
“Knowing your customers is a big thing, and that goes along with finding your niche and finding out what somebody thinks of your place,” adds Erik. “It’s very important that they have an idea that pops into their head.”
In coming up with the plan for Field of Dreams, the Starks say they drew from their personal tastes and the needs of community. Erik says he visited bars from Washington, D.C., to Jackson, Miss., and kept in mind things he did and didn’t like from each. As they are both lifelong sports fans, they say they knew they wanted to build a community sports bar and grill that was family-oriented, with good food where people could come to watch the game without hassle.
“I never like a franchise,” Dustin says. “I like the mom-and-pop things, where I feel you get a little more personal touch to it. Like with us here, we’re family-owned and –operated, and the whole family’s in here. It’s almost like you can have your tailgate here. You don’t have to do the hamburgers waiting outside of Tiger Stadium. You can come here and get it and not have to clean up and everything else that goes with it.”
Since opening in May, the Starks say they’ve gone through quite a bit of on-the-job training. They’ve had to learn to make changes, tweak what’s not working and become problem-solvers. Not being a franchise, the buck stops at the two of them.
“I would say that a lot of our growing pains [came] from us not being a franchise,” Erik says. “Anything that arose those first few months, we had to make the decisions on, we had to solve ourselves. We didn’t have a hierarchy to go to or a regional manager or something like that. And in that as well was advertising and getting your name out because without being a franchise, you know, you don’t have that huge Chili’s billboard out in front of your place to bring people in.”