In the late 1700s, South Louisiana was a melting pot of cultures where families, friends, travelers, and neighbors gathered around the table at mealtime. Today, Cajun culture still revolves around food, family, and joie de vivre, which is a joy of life. Many of the area’s most popular restaurants have been around for decades because of their warm hospitality and feel-good food. Check out these restaurants that have stood the test of time.

Keller’s (1895)

Victor Keller, a descendant of France, opened the original Keller’s Bakery in 1895 in Abbeville, just south of Lafayette. His grandson later opened a downtown Lafayette bakery in 1929, where it still stands today. While Keller’s bakes delicious cookies, petit fours, cakes, pies, and brownies, it is best known for its delectable king cakes made during Mardi Gras. 

Poor Boy's Riverside Inn (1932)

In the 1930s, Hulo “Poor Boy” Landry started a snowball stand after discovering he had a flour allergy and could no longer work for the family enterprise - Evangeline Made Bread. He would take his lunch breaks in between serving customers who quickly took notice of his poor boy sandwich he learned to make in slave quarters in New Orleans and from his coworkers at The Roosevelt Hotel. After repeated requests to buy his lunch, satisfied customers encouraged him to open a restaurant when they realized how delicious his poor boys were. Hence, an iconic restaurant and nickname were born.

Don’s Seafood (1934)

This Louisiana landmark has been serving Cajun food since 1934. Here, you’ll find traditional Cajun dishes made with local seafood, rice, and crawfish, along with the Holy Trinity—bell peppers, onion, and celery. Chicken and sausage gumbo, Jacked-up Oysters, and generous seafood platters are favorites. Feeling adventurous? Try the blackened alligator! Note: The Original Don's Downtown is closed.


Don's Cocktails

Borden’s (1940)

Lafayette is home to the country's last Borden’s Ice Cream Shoppe. The ice cream parlor opened in 1940 on Johnston Street in downtown Lafayette and remains a popular hangout today for the young and old. Soak in the nostalgia as you indulge in classics like sundaes, banana splits, and homespun milkshakes. You can even bring your dog for a special puppy treat!

Judice Inn (1947)

Brothers Alcide and Marc Judice opened this burger joint after coming home from WWII. The diner was once on the outskirts of town, but the city has grown and developed, making Judice Inn right in the center. While the city may have changed, Judice Inn still serves some of the best burgers and milkshakes around. Gerald Judice, the youngest of Marc’s sons, now operates the restaurant.

La Fonda (1957)

This Tex-Mex restaurant is the locals’ place to see and be seen. Caricatures of long-time customers adorn the wall. On the menu, you’ll find classics like enchiladas, burritos, tacos, great steaks, and fried rabbit (try it with queso!). The margaritas are delicious, too—be sure to ask for a dollop of their signature sangria on top.

La Fonda Cocktail

Alesi (1957)

Mariano “Mike” Alesi and his wife Bertha brought the first Italian pizza house to Lafayette in 1957. This family-friendly restaurant serves all the favorites, including pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, and chicken parmesan. Look for their iconic neon sign on Johnston Street.

Ton's Drive In (1963)

Ton’s Drive-In opened in May of 1963. It was a real drive-in back then, with carhops that paraded out trays of hot dogs, chili, fried chicken, and hamburgers to cars full of customers. This family-owned restaurant has been handed down through generations. Dripping with a small-town vibe, Ton's Drive-In has passed through the hands of three smart, talented ladies. Initially owned by Rosemary Girouard, then her daughter-in-law Jaunita, and now granddaughter Hollie Girouard run the spot. Check out their new location in Downtown Lafayette. 

Dwyer’s (1965)

Trained to cook in FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, Stanley Dwyer opened this downtown diner in 1965. Today, it’s a go-to place for comfort food and plate lunches. You’ll find everything from hardy breakfasts to filling lunches of smothered steak, catfish courtbouillon, meatball stew, and fried chicken. Be sure to check out the stained-glass window inside and the fabulous mural on Garfield Street.

Dwyer's Cafe Father and Son

Poupart’s (1967)

Step inside, and you’ll be transported to a French countryside bakery. For over 40 years, the Poupart family has made the finest French pastries, Old World bread, sweet treats, and savory soups and sandwiches. Dine in, order out, or even ship a king cake to your friends and family around the country.

Laura’s 2 (1968)

Laura Broussard started serving plate lunches from her Lafayette home in 1968. Today, her granddaughter Madonna continues her legacy with dishes like spicy baked turkey wings, crispy pork chops, and incredible rice and gravy. The legendary Anthony Bourdain even dined here on his last trip to Cajun Country in 2018.