Acadiana Business

Mr. Keet's expanding to Lafayette

by Leslie Turk

Popular Maurice restaurateurs opening Mr. Keet's 2 in the old Ryan's Steakhouse location on Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

Gerard and Helen Baudoin hope to have Mr. Keet's 2, the second location of their popular Maurice restaurant, open within a month. Now a decade old, Mr. Keet's is expanding to Lafayette, taking over the old Ryan's on Ambassador Caffery across from Sam's, because "Lafayette's the place to be," says Gerard. "We want to make a lasting impression on Lafayette."

As you might expect, the restaurant is named after a "Mr. Keith," Keith Ratliff, Gerard's former business partner. "My little boy, along with every other Cajun in the area, called him Mr. Keet," Gerard says. In 2001, the lifelong rice and crawfish farmer and his then-business partner were looking to open a drive-through crawfish business and after a long discussion about the name settled on Mr. Keet's. A couple of years later, the business' success led to the construction of a 7,000-square-foot building at 9511 Maurice Ave. that initially served just crawfish and gumbo.

The Lafayette menu will be the same, offering everything from hamburgers and steaks to chicken and fish dishes and boiled crabs/shrimp to barbecue on Sundays, but the new location will have a large bar and three banquet rooms. Fifty people will be hired for the 11,400-square-foot restaurant, which is about 4,000 square feet larger than Mr. Keet's in Maurice.

When crawfish go out of season in late June, look for a variety of crab dishes to hit the menu, including a medley of boiled Blue Point, Stone and Alaskan King crabs, Gerard says.

"If there's not something you can find to eat one day or one evening on our menu, you're not hungry," Gerard says. Once people get a taste of Mr. Keet's barbecue and rice dressing, the Maurice native adds, "there won't be too many people in church on Sundays."