Mary Tutwiler

Downtown plate lunch icon closes

by Mary Tutwiler

It’s not been a good summer for downtown restaurants. Victor’s, a new Greek-inspired bistro shut down after only a few months in business, Café Bonjour turned off the java taps in June, and now a beloved plate-lunch institution, T-Coon's, has closed its doors. Business owner Terry Majors is reluctant to discuss why he chose to end a tradition of fried rabbit, meatball stew, stellar rice dressing and crisp catfish, but there were indications that business was slowing down when T-Coon's stopped serving breakfast several months ago. Majors says he and his wife Torrie want to thank Lafayette for three and a half years of wonderful memories.

Restaurateur David Billeaud first opened T-Coon's on Jefferson Street in 1993. He leased the space from downtown landlord Kathy Ashworth. In 2002, Billeaud opened a second location in a strip mall at the intersection of Pinhook and Kaliste Saloom. Majors took over the downtown business and lease in 2005, maintaining the menu and recipes Billeaud perfected. The restaurant is filled with local memorabilia; the sound track for the Cajun and Creole cooking was a nonstop two-step of Cajun and zydeco. Over the years T-Coon's wooden booths saw business deals sealed, political campaigns launched, weekly French-language lunches, and habitués who could tell the day of the week by what was on the menu. As word gets out, the loss is affecting plate lunch junkies and smothered rabbit fans from across Acadiana, who claim to be losing their appetites. Major’s last word on the closure is a recommendation to head over to the T-Coon's on Pinhook and “eat with David.”