At the beginning of this century, downtown Lafayette was anything but a thriving commercial market,
There’s a vibrant farm-to-table movement happening in Lafayette these days, and much of it can be credited to Chef Manny Augello and Abi Broussard Falgout of Bread & Circus Provisions. Augello hails from Sicily and Falgout a traditional Cajun family where food is an art, a religion and mostly derived from local farmers and producers.
“Because Manny is from Sicily and I grew up in a traditional Cajun family, we actually find non-farm-to-table food bizarre,” Falgout said. “Both of our heritages are known for their culinary ingenuity and thriving with limited resources.”
The two first established Bread & Circus as a booth at the local farmer’s market, selling cured meats, pickles and condiments in addition to specialty items such as sandwiches. Their goal was to deliver food grown and raised locally that lacks the preservatives and additives routinely found in packaged foods.
“In a way, having access to mass-produced ingredients from around the world sucks the soul out of food,” Falgout explained. “Plus, we are surrounded by some of the most passionate and talented food producers in the country. It's an honor to showcase Acadiana through food.”
When their products sold at the farmer’s market were well received, and the community began pleading for more, the duo opened a restaurant six months later at 258 Bendel Road, near the corner of Bendel and Pinhook roads. Bread & Circus bases its menu on what’s available from local farmers and producers, serving it up in a variety of delicious ways.
“We use old-school techniques from around the world,” Falgout explained. “The result is a mash-up of iconic Cajun and international foods that highlight the richness of Acadiana.
Bread & Circus is more like four restaurants in one. A menu of hearty and inventive sandwiches, soups, salads and plate lunches are served daily at the counter, and the lunchtime atmosphere owns a Brooklyn deli vibe. Come dinner, Bread & Circus turns into a candlelit full-service restaurant with a hip ambiance, an unexpected menu and incredible cocktails. For Saturday brunch, the environment morphs into a sunny, Motown version of dinner, and by Saturday night— from 10 p.m. to midnight — Bread & Circus transitions once again, serving one-of-a-kind snacks and cocktails as their “late night service.”
“It's where we let our kitchen (culinary circus freaks) run wild,” Falgout said of the late Saturday night offerings. “They produce a new menu each Saturday. All the cool kids come. It's a lot of fun.”
Favorite lunch items include the smoke-rubbed house-made chips, the fried chicken on Wednesdays that arrives with a smoked gouda mac and cayenne buttermilk slaw with a honey hot dipping sauce and the Juicy Lucy Thursdays which features their trademark burger. The latter was described thus in Thrillist.com’s “Where to Get the 10 Best Burgers in Louisiana” article: “The hand-ground beef burger is perfectly seasoned and flavored, stuffed full of cheese, served on a brioche bun that’s so tender that it should fall apart, but never does, with tomato, lettuce, and a caramelized onion mayo." Hungry yet?
Dinner favorites are more laborious to choose, Falgout said.
“That’s like making me choose my favorite child,” she said. “It’s different depending on which mood I’m in. But I’m always in the mood for ramen. I can honestly feel my soul bathing in that rich, delicious broth when I eat it.”
The Bread & Circus ramen featured on The Cooking Channel’s TV show, “Chuck Eats the Street,” marries handmade udon noodles with ginger-braised boneless pork ribs, miso broth, a house pickled egg, Louisiana shiitake mushrooms, sprouts and raw vegetables. Another dinner favorite of Falgout’s is the house-cured charcuterie board.
For brunch, a must-have — besides the house Bloody Marys — are the bounuts, boudin-stuffed donuts served with Poirier’s cane syrup.
Like the ever-changing menu, Bread & Circus offers daily specials. For lunch, they provide a daily plate lunch, sandwich, soup and vegetarian special.
“If you can resist the other menu items, the vegetarian special is almost always a kitchen favorite,” Falgout said.
Beer is half price during Friday’s lunch service and late night includes $1 Miller High Life and $2 shots of Jameson. Every week, the dinner specials feature new charcuterie and cheeses from Wanda Barras’ Belle Ecorce Farms.
Remember those cured meats, pickles and condiments? Visitors to Bread & Circus may purchase those to take home as well.
Bread & Circus Provisions
258 Bendel Road
You may make the reasonable assumption that Wing Fingers, a restaurant, and bar serving, most notably, chicken wings, is just ordinary. You would be wrong. The eatery on Johnston Street near the UL campus is anything but ordinary.
The restaurant started as a food truck when owners John Hackney and Taylor Cooper were hanging out building a fire pit. John remembers saying how he wanted more than his current job, but it took Taylor to convince him they could make it happen.
The pair teamed up to serve boneless chicken wings in a new way. There are signature sauces for the wings, and each portion comes atop a base dish of your choosing with garnishes tailored to transform ordinary chicken wings from appetizer into craft entree. Wing Fingers has expanded their offerings in the brick-and-mortar space to include bone-in wings, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a full bar as well.
Those wing dishes, boneless or traditional, are offered with seven sauce or dry rub options with garnishes to match. These include the Strange City: honey mustard-habanero sauced wings with roasted red pepper coulis and pickled mustard seeds; the Strawbanero: strawberry-habanero sauced wings with fresh strawberries and strawberry gastrique; Buffalo: the classic reimagined with pickled celery ribbons and gorgonzola mousse; and Lemon Pepper Dry Rubbed wings with lemon zest. Once you choose your wings, you’ll decide what to have them served on. You have options like fries, pepper jack mac and cheese, and slaw.
The burgers and chicken sandwiches, each served on honey butter brioche, involve options as well. Once you decide between the beef patty or the fried chicken, you have topping options like the Basic B: house-made mayo, lettuce, and tomato; the Bad B: habanero honey mustard, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and roasted red pepper coulis; and the Pepper Jelly B: pepper jelly, slaw, sweet peppers, and pepper jack cheese.
The menu also features a full complement of appetizers like fried pickles, pepper jack cheese sticks, fried jalapeños, and the Loaded Team Porch Fries topped with a honey garlic dry rub, pepper jack cheese sauce, pepper bacon bits, fried jalapeños, and an egg.
The team at Wing Fingers has pushed limits of what a chicken wing place can be, just as they set out to do. As John puts it, “If you’re looking for something basic, we only have a few options for you.” He says that the Strawbanero is everyone’s go-to choice, but his favorite is the Bad B style chicken sandwich.
He describes the vibe as “youthful, vibrant, and memorable,” and it really works. The bar carries several Louisiana craft beers, and there is a large stage for live music. There are events and specials every Friday and Saturday when the restaurant is open late.
Wing Fingers is open at 1043 Johnston Street every Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and every Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Pamplona is a classic. It has been since it opened in December of 2007. Combining rustic decor, a beautiful downtown setting, delicious and interesting food, and a stellar wine and cocktail program, Pamplona has been at the forefront of dining experiences in Lafayette for years.
General Manager Andrew Payne, who began his time at Pamplona behind the bar, heads a team, with Kris Allen helming the kitchen, that crafts an exquisite guest experience. Andrew describes the restaurant’s concept as Spanish with an emphasis on tapas-style dining. He says, “It was conceived by looking at the local landscape of restaurants and doing something that wasn’t being done yet.”
From those beginnings, the Pamplona concept has also recognized that Spanish food and culture has a local influence that is often overshadowed by the French. Andrew says that Pamplona also includes some other Mediterranean influences with some local flair, which can be seen throughout the restaurant’s offerings and encompasses a well-honed concept that he describes as romantic, adventurous, and passionate.
The food program is eclectic yet familiar and approachable, and diners have every opportunity to experience a large variety of flavors. For those unfamiliar to tapas style dining, this is where the adventure comes in. A typical meal can encompass many shareable dishes granting the diner a chance to experience a large number of delicious items.
Some of these “Small Plates” include Garlic Shrimp, Hanger Steak, Lamb Sliders, Sweetbreads, Foie Gras, and Mussels, each expertly prepared with thoughtful accompaniments. Though elegant, much of the food is of a humble nature (they’ve got some of the best French Fries you’ll ever taste), with butter, herbs, and old-world flourishes taking center stage. The tapas, both hot and cold varieties, consist of nods to classic Spanish dishes (Morcilla and Bacon Wrapped Dates) and beautifully on-theme creations such as Crawfish Croquettes and Ceviche. Andrew says his favorite dish is the Seared Tuna.
Rounding out the menu are ample selections of soups and salads such as the Arugula and Manchego Salad and Beef Carpaccio, as well as full-size entrees including steaks and seafood. There are also several dessert options prepared in-house.
There are also two options seldom found in a restaurant setting in Lafayette: The house specialties of Paella Velenciana and Cochinillo Asado are true showstoppers. The Paella is authentic with all of the traditional inclusions. It’s well worth the 45 minutes to 1 hour that it takes to prepare. The Cochinillo is a roast suckling pig cooked in the traditional style. Call at least 24 hours ahead to request this item.
Pamplona is also an excellent destination for its beverage options alone. They offer 14 by-the-glass wine selections each dispensed from a cellar system that ensures quality throughout the bottle. A full bottle list and many beer selections are also available. This is only the beginning, however as no less than ten selections are listed on their Absinthe menu, and they offer flights of those made in France and the US. The true gems of Pamplona’s beverage program, however, are the craft cocktail program, focusing on pre-prohibition classics as well as new and clever creations, and of course, their legendary Sangria prepared fresh daily. Your kitchen cabinet may already contain the red cup evidence of a Festival International indulgence in this delicious concoction of fruit and wine.
From 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Pamplona offers the following specials:
25% off Tapas
$1 off Beer
$3 House Wine and Sangria
$4 Well Cocktails
The drink specials continue all night on Wednesdays.
Pamplona is open at 631 Jefferson St. in downtown Lafayette every Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., every Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and every Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Pamplona is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Heading Southwest on Johnston Street, Lafayette diners will find fewer locally owned and operated restaurants traveling the less densely populated areas on their way toward Maurice. But near the intersection of West Broussard is a gem of a bakery and coffee shop owned by Chuck Nguyen, his sister Hahn, and his brother-in-law Rainer. Zuhause Bakery & Coffee, opened in August of 2017, sits in a clean and elegant building with open and inviting dining spaces inside offering full-service coffee beverages and pastries of an Old World style and quality seldom encountered anywhere in Acadiana. Hahn describes the food menu as, “a unique mix of European, Asian, and American pastries and other dishes.”
The pastries are specially made with exacting technical skill. They are beautiful to look at in their large glass display cases near the order counter, and each is utterly delicious. Though there is all manner of confections on display from elegantly simple Palmiers and other cookies to elaborate cakes and tarts, Hahn says the homemade custards have become the star of the show, and there are plenty of varieties. The custards make appearances in the Fruit Danish, the Custard Sammie, and the Custard Danish.
The coffee menu is exhaustive but not overwhelming. All of the traditional espresso-based drinks like Cappuccinos and Lattes are available, as well as pour overs, cold brew, and regular drip coffee. Several milk alternatives are available as well. The bean selections are from artisanal roasters like Cuvee in Austin, TX, and Congregation in New Orleans. Zuhause also offers a wide variety of teas for those who prefer them, and the Asian influences Hahn referred to show up in the form of Vietnamese Iced Coffee, a refreshingly delicious drink brewed a la minute with sweetened condensed milk. Zuhause even offers 5% off drinks for those bringing their cup.
In addition to great pastries and quality coffee, Zuhause offers more standard lunch fare as well. There are meat pies, savory puff tarts, and quiches as well as a rotating selection of soups. The artisanally crafted breads are delicious and beautiful. Some serve as the foundation for the Shrimp Poboy and the Vietnamese classic Banh Mi, which despite its seemingly odd placement at an Old World bakery has become the most popular lunch item at Zuhause. For dessert, try a slice of German Chocolate Cake or one (or four) of the many rotating flavors of Gelato. Pro tip: go with the Affogato, a scoop of Gelato topped with Espresso or a Gelato Float.
Zuhause Bakery & Coffee is open at 6774 Johnston Street in Lafayette every Tuesday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., every Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., every Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and every Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Acadianians are known for doing things their way. When it comes to preparing food, it’s unlikely you’ll find a local who’s concerned with how someone else does it. This is the premise behind Broaddus Burgers, the Lafayette restaurant located at 610 E Kaliste Saloom Rd.
The owner, Shawn Broaddus, says when he decided to settle on a burger-centric restaurant, he knew he would be offering lots of options. To be sure, there are many preset burgers to choose from, but the focus is on letting the customer decide. “We are a build your own burger restaurant,” he says, “that gives you all the tools to create your dream burger.”
Some of those tools are your standard burger components: bun, patty, cheese, sauce, and toppings, but the design of the final construction is entirely up to the customer. Shawn purposefully puts the creativity in the hands of his guests, and describes the proper guest experience as, “You told us what you like, and we didn’t burn it.” He also takes license with the term ‘burger’ itself, offering lots of options for all tastes.
From the ground up, the options for your Broaddus Burger are as follows:
Bun - White or Wheat, Cheddar Jalapeño, Sweet Bun, Ciabatta, or even a Fried Eggplant Bun
Burger - Broaddus Burger (6.4 oz), Spicy Broaddus, Chicken Burger (a 5 oz fried or grilled chicken breast), Turkey Burger (6.4 oz ground turkey patty), Portobello Mushroom Cap, Ahi Tuna Steak (6 oz), Stuffed Burger (Broaddus stuffed with pepper jack cheese), and the Black Bean Burger (a vegetarian option).
Toppings - Nearly endless choices including four cheese options, bacon, chili, fried egg, pepper jelly, fried pickles, avocado, mac and cheese, grilled pineapple, and various sauces to name a few.
Broaddus Burgers also offers hot dogs (with options, of course), and there are plenty of sides to complete your meal as well. Fries, baked potatoes, grilled veggies, and cheese sticks are available. They are also known for some of their non-burger menu items including Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Quesadillas, and a Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese.
Shawn cooks his burgers on a flame grill as opposed to a flat top griddle, and he seasons them as they are mixed, not when cooking them. He likes the flavors yielded by these choices and says, “The food is seasoned and cooked the way people from Acadiana like it.”
There are daily specials for each day of the week:
Monday - $6.49 Cheeseburger and Fries
Tuesday - $3.99 Turkey Burger
Wednesday - $3.99 Chicken Quesadillas and 2 for 1 Margaritas
Thursday - $1.99 Chili Dogs
Friday - $3.99 Fully Loaded French Fries
Sunday - Merch Club - Wear some Broaddus merch and receive a special item or discount with your meal.
When visiting Broaddus Burgers, you’ll want to bring your appetite and your go-to method of decision making, but if you need help there are plenty of burger combinations to choose from listed on the menu, and they are all good. They also offer a featured off-menu item that rotates every so often, just to keep it fresh. Shawn says his current favorite is a custom built fried chicken burger: Fried chicken breast on a sweet bun with honey mustard, sriracha, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and pepper jack cheese.
Broaddus Burger is open every Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.