Prairie Home Cooking
Find down-home hospitality and good food without pretense in Louisiana’s Cajun prairie.
For an authentic Louisiana experience, don’t overlook this off-the-beaten-path region. Opelousas and the entire St. Landry Parish are filled with hidden gems and boast a heritage influenced by the French, Germans, Spanish, and American Indians who settled here. In Opelousas, stop by Savoie's Sausage for a taste of their Cajun smoked sausage, and grab a table at Back in Time for their Pearl Harbor salad—a longtime favorite. Hear charming Cajun and Creole French still spoken by the locals. Dance to accordion-fueled zydeco tunes, and shop for local art and antiques.
When it comes to cuisine, menus feature old family recipes. Smoked meats reign supreme, and hearty plate lunches are popular. Don’t be surprised to find the best meals in the most unassuming of spots, like a gas station. That's right, you can fill your tank while you fill your tank! Pull into Billy's Mini Mart in Krotz Springs and try the cracklins to see just what we're talking about. Speaking of cracklins, those delicious fried pieces of pork fat, try to time a visit during the Cracklin Festival held in Port Barre each November.
Other must-stops along this trail include Red River Grill, where the seafood and steaks earn high marks, and Fresh Catch Bistreaux. Both are in Marksville.
As you go, take in the beauty of the remaining prairie. Some two million acres were once covered with prairie land, hosting hundreds of species of native grasses and wildflowers. Much was destroyed because of agricultural practices, but there is an effort to preserve and restore the habitat. A good example exists in Eunice.