Allons manger!

Let's Eat, Lafayette!

The time is upon us again when we celebrate the local institutions that fill our bellies and spoil us with their specials. For the ninth year, EatLafayette kicks off this month as dozens of restaurants across Acadiana open their doors for those who love to eat local and enjoy specialty menus and offers while they're at it. Participating restaurants serve dishes that range from Cajun cuisine to foreign fare. Lafayette's favorite eateries and fresh faces get in on the action, ensuring there is something on the menu for everyone.

The campaign runs from June 17 to Sept. 2.

For a complete list of EatLafayette restaurants, visit

Plate Lunch Lovers Plate lunches are not the most exotic of fare, but they do a body good. For a plate lunch that doesn't disappoint, visit Johnson's Boucaniere downtown, located at 1111 St. John St. The Johnsons have been cranking out delicious barbecue for 50 years after starting their grocery store in Eunice and have brought that slow-roasted love to downtown Lafayette. The ribs are to die for, as well as the sandwiches stuffed with boudin. For the best of both worlds, try the pulled pork sandwich. The pork roast is rubbed with a house blend of seasonings and smoked for 12 hours until super tender. The meat is pulled from the fat and topped with a homemade barbecue sauce. They stuff the toasted Evangeline Maid bun with the slow-roasted goodness and serve with a soft drink and a bag of chips (Zapp's, of course) for their EatLafayette special, which will only cost you $6.95.
"A lot of time and attention goes into it," says Lori Johnson. "It's a group effort to care about the final product and it shows."

Find other EatLafayette plate lunch specials at places like 2 Paul's, Antlers, Bob's Pub, Country Cuisine, Dax on Verot, Earl's Cajun Market, Mr. Keet's 2, Nimbeaux's Restaurant, Rachael's Café, or Whole Wheatery Eatery and Sandra's Health Foods Store for healthier plate lunch options.

World Travelers
For an exotic adventure for your palate, try one of EatLafayette's participants that bring foreign food to the tastiest town in the South. Masala Indian Kitchen is a trip across the globe without traveling further than the South side of town. Visit Masala for a meal with a friend and receive a free Masala Papadum with the order of two entrées. The Papadum is the Indian version of pico de gallo, with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro and a range of Indian spices - "masala," after all, does mean "mixture" or "blend." The Papadum is served with deep-fried chips that began as crushed lentils and formed into a waxy, gluten-free tortilla with cumin. The result is a thin and crispy dunking mechanism for the spicy dip. Masala Indian Kitchen is located at 2208 Kaliste Saloom Road; for more exotic flavors, visit EatLafayette restaurants Pimon Thai for Thai food or Café Habana City for Cuban.

With an extended growing season in the South, more and more restaurants are beginning to use locally sourced ingredients to create ever-changing menus with familiar flavors. "Whatever's in season" determines the flavor forecast, says Jolie's Executive Chef Manny Augello, who is serving an artisan loaf with the weekly spread free for each couple dining there during EatLafayette. Expect season spreads that use both light and bold flavors, like the boursin cheese with crushed kalamata olives, basil and extra virgin olive oil paired with a Poupart's sourdough loaf. Find Jolie's at 507 W. Pinhook Road. Café Vermilionville, located at 1304 W. Pinhook Road, is serving up a four-course menu for $25, which is an absolute steal. The first course is choice of turtle soup with sherry or the corn and crab bisque (we recommend the turtle soup), followed by a choice of the house salad or the arugula salad with a lemon-parmesan vinaigrette. For the main course, choose among the macadamia-crusted scallops, minted rainbow trout or crab cakes, followed by white chocolate bread pudding or key lime pie.

For more locally sourced dining experiences, visit Village Café, Social Southern Table & Bar and iMonelli.