Lafayette’s Most Missed Resturants
Some towns know cars, some towns know sports, here in Lafayette we know food. We are connoisseurs. Purveyors of taste and tradition. Lafayette boasts some of the finest restaurants around, and the ones that don’t make the cut tend to not last that long. Unfortunately there are some exceptions. Over the year when conversations have turned to food, I’ve been regaled with legendary tales of restaurants past. Some I’m old enough to remember and others gone long before I got here. The following is the unofficial list of Lafayette’s most missed restaurants. The ones we wish we could have back, and the ones will never forget.
Note** (Some of these places have been gone a long time and my research has relied heavily on the memories of those who lived it. If I miss a detail, or you’ve got better information on any of these places feel free to share it in the comment section.)
In no particular order…
Long before Agave and Picante’s was a small Mexican restaurant located in the Lafayette Lanes shopping center on Johnston called Ponchos. Although Ponchos closed down sometime in the mid to late 90s, it’s still well remembered by Lafayette residents for its table top flag service and sopaipillas for desert.
Ryan’s claimed to be a steakhouse, but the main attraction was always the buffet. Whether you wanted pizza, tacos, soul food, steak, or just to tackle to massive dessert bar; Ryan’s was the place to go. A beloved destination for hungry sports teams, children’s birthday parties, and hungry college students; Ryan’s was always a crowd pleaser.
Although Ryan’s is still around in other parts of the country it was forced to close 52 restaurants in 2008 after filing for bankruptcy. Other buffet style restaurants have since opened, but longtime Ryan’s fans have never forgotten their favorite buffet destination.
Enter into a “best burger I’ve ever had” discussion with folks of the right age and inevitably Burger Tyme’s Cajun Blaze will be brought up. Though the legendary burger chain has long since left our city, fans of the Cajun Blaze have never been able to let go of the memory of their favorite burger joint. While I may have been too young to ever try a Cajun Blaze for myself, the mystic and mysticism which always surround this legendary burger when it’s discussed make Burger Tyme an easy inclusion on this list.
*Update - Since the time this story was written in 2012 (and, in part, because of public demand), Dairy Queen has made its return to Lafayette on Johnston St. across from the Acadiana Mall.
One of the cruelest aspects of national television is being forced to watch commercials for restaurants that are not in your city. At the top of the list of these offenders is Dairy Queen. Home of the Blizzard, Dairy Queen is a soft serve lover’s nirvana. With fast food favorites and RiDQulous advertising campaigns, Dairy Queen has tantalized us since its last store departed many years ago.
Lafayette may be a growing city, but until we can once again pick up our favorite Blizzard on a hot summers day, turn it upside down, and keep eating it, we’ll never be truly satisfied.
Although I’ve had a bit of experience with each of the previous entries to this list, the final inclusion I’ve only recently learned about. Hoppers, which closed long before I was born, was once the hang out for UL students before UL was UL. A diner style establishment that featured car hops, shakes, and sundae with collectible cups. Hoppers was located on the corner of Johnston and University where present day Domino’s now sits.
A casualty of the diners era, Hoppers remains a distant memory and an integral piece of Lafayette’s culinary history.