Around Town

Pete’s RePetes. Again.

by Christiaan Mader

New ownership and management hope to return one of Lafayette's favorite dives to its former glory by bringing back the classics.

Want the scoop on Pete’s? Well here it is: It’s gonna stay Pete’s. The folks behind Southern Hospitality Kitchens — the culinary team responsible for Social Southern Table & Bar, Charley G’s and The Tap Room — have purchased the squat and curmudgeonly sports bar, building and all, with restorative intentions.

Social Executive Chef Marc Krampe tells ABiz he plans to return greasy unctuousness to the house burger The Big Pete, to lower prices and to deck the bar with tap beers. Yes, it will be open on Sundays.

Krampe could have a successful run at the GOP presidential nomination with a platform like that.

Longtime fans spent the better part of 2015 groaning that renovations and a menu revamp had sanitized the venerable burger dive’s charms and flavors. ABiz reported eagerly on the updates, beaming about brushed wood floors, sunlight and its new fast-casual, family friendly menu approach. Judging by some post-reno Yelp reviews, folks would have gladly traded the sheen of the latest iteration for a pint of draft Bud, a juicy burger and a side of seasoned fries.

To wit, this sagacious Yelp reviewer:

It really is a shame, but I think we have visited Pete's for the last time. I'd seriously take the old ratty-looking place with a solid burger and a Sunday Saints game over this newly renovated imposter of a sports bar any day.

Last year, Pete’s founder Preston Guidry took the reins of his flagship sports bar, named for his brother Peter Guidry, and updated the restaurant’s dining room and kitchen. The Guidrys shut the restaurant down for a couple of months last summer to gut the joint after taking over daily operations of Pete's for the first time in 20 years. The restaurant has seen several non-Guidry operators, but the Guidry family retained ownership of the building over the years until its recent sale to Southern Hospitality.

While the updates delivered a clean and less homely Pete’s, changes to legacy burger recipes, cooking methods, arcade games, hours of operation, prices and menu size rankled loyal patrons and failed to attract the sort of fast-casual crowd the tidier presentation targeted.

Krampe, by his own account, was one such longtime devotee. He, like thousands of other Millennials, Gen X-ers, Hippies, Yuppies, Boomers and Lafayette neophytes, had an emotional attachment to the spicy dankness that was Pete’s. People around here have been taking their kids to Pete’s after baseball games for generations.

While aesthetic renovations will be minimal, Krampe has set about replacing the steam grillers added in 2015 with good-old-fashioned flat top griddles, a scientifically superior medium for burger cooking. He reports that he’s spent time perfecting the seasoning and umami of the original Pete’s burger, settling on a beef blend that will throw diners back to a time when, even if America wasn’t great, the food at Pete’s was. He’s consulted relics of a former menu to curate more old favorites, including the world-famous seasoned fries and chips.

All of this should be welcome news to folks who have criticized “New Pete’s” for dry burgers, high prices and missing favorites. With Krampe and his crew eyeing lower prices, the latest re-Pete will also serve as a great budget dining option, something that will serve Lafayette’s recessing economy well.

We’ll refrain from jumping off the same bridge we did last year in making any proclamations of Pete’s future greatness, but we’re certain that many of you will find this step backward to be one in the right direction.

As of press time, no re-open date has been scheduled.