One thing that I’ve noticed since moving to Baton Rouge is the lack of traditional, ‘old-school’ diners that serve breakfast 24-hours a day. I’m a fan of homegrown, mom-and-pop-owned, greasy spoon types of places…nothing fancy, just great cheap breakfast food (and I don’t mean Waffle House or iHop).
Frank’s Restaurant satisfies most of these requirements and has now become my go-to breakfast spot. It’s a little out of the way, so it’s not packed with tourists or hung-over college kids…mostly locals. Their motto is, “It’s All Good” and it really is. I’ve never had a bad meal there. It’s got a 70’s back-woods cabin kind of ambiance so it’s super-casual and relaxed.
The place is always packed but the wait-staff are always more than attentive and professional and usually stop by the table 3 or 4 times after breakfast is served to ask if you needed anything else. Our coffees and waters were refilled countless times without having to ask. The restaurant occupies a lot of square-footage (it’s big), so we’ve never had to wait for a table for more than 10-15 minutes.
The portions are huge and the homemade biscuits and gravy are outstanding (they claim to have the ‘Best Homemade Biscuits in the World’). Being a silly Northerner, I just had to try the alligator sausage. And no, it doesn’t taste like chicken (okay, yes it does, but it also kind of tastes like fish and pork, too!).
They own their own smokehouse (right next door), so they smoke and prepare their own meats…always fresh. In addition to the traditional eggs-toast-and-homefries fare, we’ve also tried the banana pecan pancakes, corned beef hash, Cajun boudin, as well as the French toast…all outstanding. They make a decent cup of coffee, too.
If you’re in the mood for a great breakfast, no place else will do. I wish they were open 24-hours a day.
8353 Airline Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70815
Phone: (225) 926-5977
A photographer friend of mine from up North stopped down for a visit and he wanted to explore some Southern plantation homes…so we hopped in the car, hugged the Mississippi River, and made the short drive over to the Oak Alley Plantation (about an hour’s drive from Baton Rouge).
It was well worth the trip. As we approached we were greeted with a view of a quarter-mile avenue of gigantic 300-year-old live oak trees that lead down to the classic Greek revival antebellum plantation home.
We opted for the house tour (about $20 bucks for 30 minutes). The tour guide was fantastic, dressed in period costume and full of energy, enthusiasm, and quite witty. The subject matter was focused mainly on the families who lived there rather than the general plantation-area history itself (e.g. the slave workers that made it successful), but it was still quite informative and very enjoyable. The view from the balcony overlooking the live oaks was breathtaking, and that in of itself was worth the price of admission.
After the tour you are welcome to tour the grounds for as long as you like. The property is meticulously cared for and is very serene and peaceful…I could have stayed for hours. You really can’t appreciate how magnificent those giant oaks are until you are completely surrounded by them. I’ve never felt so small! And BTW, they start serving mint juleps at 10am.
POP Culture Alert: I’m a fan of Ann Rice’s book “Interview with a Vampire” and it turns out that the film (starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt ) featured Oak Alley as Louis’ home. That’s kinda cool, eh?
Oak Alley Plantation
3645 Highway 18 (Great River Road)
Vacherie, Louisiana 70090
Phone: (225) 265-2151
Note: Special thanks to T.C. Pellet for the great photos.