Lafayette is flush with new happenings, from hip restaurants opening, to more ways to enjoy the outdoors and the expansion of Moncus Park, Lafayette’s beloved property and community gathering spot in the heart of town. Check out what’s new in Lafayette.
Chef Ryan Trahan opened Vestal on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, which immediately created a buzz. The restaurant focused on Gulf specialties, craft cocktails, and an oyster bar was immediately named one of the 25 Outstanding Restaurants Worth the Drive by Garden & Gun magazine. “The art, the music, the food. It’s all wild, yet still tethered to Cajun roots,” said Katie Culbert, a Lafayette native and co-owner of Wild Child Wines, in the August/September 2022 issue. Check out Vestal’s 14-foot hearth!
Palmyre means “Little Palm” in France, and visitors will feel like they’ve been transported away in this Parisian cocktail lounge with a touch of Southern flare. Palmyre serves up fine wines, innovative cocktails, and small bites, but the ambiance’s equally impressive, a “bleu de travail” explosion, meaning “working blues” inspired by the chore jacket worn by 1800s French railway workers. Much of the design was created by Nashville-based interior designer Lindsay Rhodes.
We can’t wait for Sunday’s Soda Fountain to open on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette, a place to gather and enjoy sweet creations in a historic building dating to the early 1900s. The SY Yandle Confectionary & Soda Fountain once operated here, then Heymann’s Drug Store with its fountain service, so Sunday’s Soda Fountain will carry on the sweet tradition.
Over in New Iberia, the Cane River Pecan Company has supplied us with delicious pecan treats. Now, visitors may enjoy their pecan goodness in the newly opened Pie Bar, which serves up Southern specialties for breakfast and lunch, along with slices of pie, both sweet and savory. The Pie Bar offers both counter service and 55 seats overlooking historic Main Street.
We’re excited to learn that the folks at Bon Temps Grill have purchased a historic building on Pinhook Road for its new Whiskey & Vine, a jazz and blues club and restaurant that will serve craft cocktails and traditional Southern cuisine accented by live entertainment. The restaurant is scheduled to open late in 2022.
There’s so much to love at the Acadiana Park Nature Station’s 110 acres — lots of hiking trails over various terrain, canoe and kayak launches, and a nature center filled with information on South Louisiana’s wildlife and habitats. Now, a pedestrian bridge offers visitors more access to hiking trails, connecting the south side of the Francois Coulee (a stream in Cajun speak) to trails on the north side of Lafayette. Read more about this haven of nature on our blog.
Skateboarders rejoice! Coming up will be a skate park at Thomas Park, a green space off Johnston Street between downtown and the Mall of Acadiana. Plans call for potentially 30,000 square feet of skate park with ramps and bowls, adding to the park’s jogging trails, tennis courts, recreation center, and sports field.
Years ago, a former University of Louisiana at Lafayette equestrian center sat empty in the heart of the city. Residents rode by on busy Johnston Street, staring at the expanse of greenspace with ancient live oak trees and a meandering stream, and imagined an oasis of parkland. After years of fundraising and negotiations, the “Horse Farm” is now Moncus Park, with trails, an amphitheater, and a welcoming fountain. There’s a dog park, Veterans Memorial, a 4-acre lake with a fishing pier, a playground with the Interactive Water Adventure, and one of the most incredible treehouses around, the Savoy Family Treehouse and tree hammock.
The park hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, unique in that it includes a Cajun jam, local artisans, and special events. Food Truck Fridays bring innovative dishes to the park, and special events range from yoga classes to seasonal festivals. And there’s more with Phase Three coming soon. Read more about our “Sanctuary in the City” on our blog.