Country Cuisine started when Arthur (Roy) Williams decided to serve the same meals he enjoyed “coming up” in Duson, a small town outside of Lafayette to the public. Williams was raised in a hardworking tenant farmer’s family, where everyone pitched in to help. Since Williams was too young to work in the fields, he assisted his grandmother in the kitchen, learning young that what went into the pot was not as important as how it was cooked.
For instance, Williams’ grandmother would return home with discarded sections of a pig used in a boucherie — or hog butchering — by their landlord. She would cook these unwanted pork sections into a stew using simple ingredients such as onions, bell pepper, garlic and salt and pepper. That slowly simmering stew would result in something wonderful and delicious that even the landlord would be drawn to their house by the scent, hoping to snag a bowl.
Williams took this rich, culinary upbringing and entered the restaurant business after retiring from teaching with the Lafayette Parish School System. At first he started small with a three-man operation that was only open on weekends. The boudin, cracklins and hog’s head cheese created with love from the boucheries he knew from his youth soon drew a following and Williams moved into plate lunches.
Today, Country Cuisine is a full-service restaurant dishing out more than 20 different plate lunch choices daily, all of them meals Williams enjoyed growing up. Next year, the neighborhood restaurant reaches an important landmark.
Chris Williams is the son of Arthur Williams, whom has since passed away. The family legacy continues at Country Cuisine, where Creole cooking is still served in a laid-back atmosphere.
"The style of food is Creole — making dishes that come from long lines of ancestors who took scant ingredients to make hearty and tasty meals,” Williams said. “This tradition has evolved into serving a full line of seafood, poultry, pork and specialty items. We sell food that is made from scratch everyday. So people come hungry for a hearty home-cooked plate lunch.”
On any given day there’s a lunchtime crowd enjoying the restaurant’s plate lunch specials — meals such as meatball stew, turkey wings, stuffed baked chicken breasts, red beans and rice with sausage and rib tip stew. Williams’ personal favorite is Thursday’s smothered okra with barbecue ribs on the side.
On Fish Fry Fridays diners may enjoy a variety of seafood favorites, including shrimp stew, fresh garfish, fried or grilled shrimp and catfish, garfish courtbouillion, shrimp or crawfish fettuccine, grilled fish, crawfish étouffée and much more.
One of the biggest reasons folks visit Country Cuisine is for its pit-smoked barbecue ribs. Smoked in back of the restaurant the heavenly scent must drive the neighbors crazy. Come hungry if you’re looking for Sunday barbecue for Williams and family serve up those popular ribs, barbecue brisket and pork steak, in addition to stuffed pork roast and pork chops, fried pork chops, catfish and shrimp as well as stuffed baked chicken, among other delectable dishes. And don’t forget those sides, South Louisiana favorites such as stuffed cabbage, rice dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, potato salad and so much more.
It’s easy to see why former President Bill Clinton, who understands great barbecue, chose Country Cuisine as the only Lafayette stop when he was campaigning for Hilary Clinton in 2008.
Lunch hours are 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays and beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant opens for dinner Fridays and Saturdays and if you’re hungry late at night, you don’t have to settle for chain restaurants or fast food. Country Cuisine offers a special $8.75 a plate from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
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