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.”
Popular 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 harder 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 offer 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.