Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Olde Tyme Grocery - Lafayette, LA

When the Dining Companion and I were recently in Lafayette, LA, we made a couple of stops at Olde Tyme Grocery. While it's now an awesome po'boy (poor boy) place, at one time it was a grocery store.

Some of you may not be familiar with this most quintessential New Orleans sandwich. (The other being the muffuletta, but that's a tale for another day.) A po'boy is a sandwich that consists most commonly of fried seafood or also roast beef. It comes "dressed" with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayonnaise. However, roast beef po'boys often come with mustard. I don't think anyone is 100% certain how the name came about but Wikipedia had the following:

In the late 1800s fried oyster sandwiches on French loaves were known in New Orleans and San Francisco as "oyster loaves", a term still in use. The sandwich was alternately called a "peacemaker" or "La Mediatrice".[4]
There are countless stories as to the origin of the term "po' boy". A popular local theory claims that "po' boy", as specifically referring to a type of sandwich, was coined in a New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin (originally from Raceland, Louisiana), former streetcar conductors.[5] In 1929, during a four-month strike against the streetcar company, the Martin brothers served their former colleagues free sandwiches.[5] The Martins' restaurant workers jokingly referred to the strikers as "poor boys", and soon the sandwiches themselves 
took on the name.[5] In Louisiana dialect, this is naturally shortened to "po' boy."[5]

When you walk into Olde Tyme Grocery you still get that grocery store vibe. Only nowadays the shelves are filled with chips and beverages. 

I love Zapp's chips - The Voodoo flavor is seriously good

You place your order at the counter and you can either dine-in or take out. 

The first time we stopped by we ordered the Shrimp po'boy. It's shrimp seasoned and fried to a golden brown, served "full dressed" on a baugette style french bread. The bread is key. Any other bread and you have a shrimp sandwich. The french bread makes it a proper po'boy. And this one was spot on perfect.

Shrimp Po'boy at Olde Tyme Grocery

I spotted some small pies on one of the many shelves and grabbed one of those as well. It was a Buttermilk Pie and oh my goodness... it was wonderful. Buttery and tangy, not too sweet; the perfect way to finish a fantastic lunch.

Buttermilk Pie
We weren't done with Olde Tyme Grocery yet. Finding ourselves at odds and ends for lunch the next day we headed back and tried the Roast Beef and Sausage po'boys. We also snagged a half a shrimp for good measure. Oh yeah, and another buttermilk pie. The Roast Beef po'boy was one of the best roast beef sandwiches I've had. Sadly we ate it all before I could get a picture but trust me on this, get one when you visit.

There are no few excellent food regions in the country and Southern Louisiana is a great one. The diversity of the food and culture and the warmth of the people make it a truly wonderful place to spend some time. I may be biased as I grew up in the area but I believe that everyone should experience it at least once.

As the Cajuns say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" and of course Happy Travels!


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