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There’s always an emphasis as a married, dating, or engaged couple to go on dates. Granted dating pre-kids is way easier. It’s the post-kid dates that are hard to come by.
Dating then becomes more complicated when your built-in babysitters live roughly 3-9 hours away. At this point, free date nights are few and far between.
My husband and I fall into this category; we live nowhere near our family. Date nights that are free of charge rarely happen for us.
I know, I know, just pay a sitter.
Not for every week. That, my friends, isn’t part of the budget.
So, what are two transplants to Cajun land to do for date nights? We’ve scoped out every local family friendly restaurant in town, whether they’re actually labeled as a family restaurant or not.
Now let’s define “family friendly.” When I say this, I basically mean that no one looked at my nutty toddler cross-eyed and prayed we would quickly exit the building during our meal. For us, we need great food, a fun atmosphere, and the ability to tote the tot along with us most weeks.
Here are eight of our favorite local places in the Lafayette and Iberia Parish area, and side note … I narrowed this down. There aren’t many food misses in Cajun Country.
This restaurant was once the beloved Viva La Waffle food truck that all of us food truck weekenders knew and loved. I ate lunch at 10AM many a Saturday to get my hands on their food. Now Pop’s is their brick and mortar store that serves up creative po-boys. I’ve never eaten a po-boy there that I didn’t love. In fact, if you go, be sure to order the fried pickled okra and the pimento cheese, you won’t regret either.
A hole in the wall with a questionable looking store front, but amazing over stuffed po-boys. Is this starting to look like a best po-boys list? I promise I’ll go elsewhere soon. Bon Creole is a more traditional po-boy shop that offers many other Cajun classics as well as huge burgers. We’ve never left this place hungry and my toddler has been in every mood under the sun here, still the locals say hi and are friendly.
Jane’s Seafood & Chinese
The & Chinese always throws people off if I’m being honest, but the fried rice is the best in town. This restaurant was renovated recently after a fire burned the building down about 4 years ago. There are many seafood places near our home in New Iberia, and yet we still end up at Jane’s every time we want fish. I’ll also add that I teach in Delcambre and that crowd drives all the way into town just to eat Jane’s. The atmosphere is so family orientated that no one will ever notice your child is crying, because there are probably thirty other children that could possibly be fussing as well. Best boiled seafood in the area, at least according to my friends.
Old Tyme Grocery
Yes, another po-boy place. They serve other things, I’ve just never gotten past their sandwiches and home-style fries. Can I admit here that I am not a huge Cajun food fan and once balked at my husband when he wanted to eat at these po-boy places upon first moving here? If you haven’t been to this funky place, go there soon. Everything about it is interesting, the décor, the food, the fact that I’m sure they sell something other than a fried crawfish po-boy but I’ve never tasted it. At this point, I should turn this into “the po-boy you need to have” post.
For my north Louisiana friends who might be reading this, this isn’t what you’d expect from BBQ. Johnson’s is a Cajun take on BBQ. True story, people serve rice dressing (known as dirty rice north of Baton Rouge) with BBQ plates here. At Johnson’s I have tried most of the meats, they’re all good. However, I didn’t try all the meat until I ran my standard BBQ test … do they make good pulled pork, beans, and potato salad. They passed by the way. Also, the outdoor seating means that no one cares what kind of day your toddler is having.
Cooper Street Coffee
Located off the beaten path in Jeanerette, this coffee shop serves up the best biscuits you’ve ever eaten. I thought I could stand to leave for work an hour early to just get their coffee, but no, the biscuits sealed the deal. A massive cat head bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with lattes served in actual mugs, there isn’t a better Saturday morning breakfast date in town.
One of the few places to serve up exceptional Paleo food alongside your unhealthier home cooked favorites creates a dining experience that everyone in our family is happy about. I can hang out in the Fit Meals column and enjoy their perfect Coconut Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Rice while my husband (who’d rather live off potatoes and gravy) orders Chicken Fried Steak, leaving everyone happy. Rachel’s is the perfect restaurant if you or your spouse are a health nut and the other one isn’t.
Sometimes we like to go on coffee dates and not eat “real” food. Poupart’s is one of those times. My husband and I love to order coffee, a pile of baked goods, and chat while our silly kid lovingly talks to the pastry we didn’t purchase while simultaneously eating everything we did. Coffee and pastry at Poupart’s feels like you are on a mini vacation in Europe, without having to deal with TSA.