T-Coon’s is a masculine paradise. The Lafayette restaurant has no frills, a lot of reasonably priced food, and family fishing photographs decorating the walls alongside Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and a boat sign that says, “Do not block the launch.”
But while T-Coon’s may look simple, it’s guaranteed the line will be out the door during busy times like Mardi Gras week and Festival International.
A longtime Lafayette cult favorite, there are specials on the line for lunch and guests can serve themselves cafeteria-style. Breakfast is served all day until the 2 p.m. closing time. According to the waitress, most customers order the Breakfast Plate ($7.95), but endless combinations of bacon, grits, biscuits and eggs are available along with the restaurant’s signature homemade bread.
T-Coon’s specializes in what the owner calls “Zydeco cooking,” a mélange of homey regional dishes such as étouffée, smothered rabbit ($11.95 for large, $7.50 for small), catfish courtbouillon ($11.25 for large, $6.50 for small) — which is different from the classic French courtbouillon, by the way, and completely Cajun — red beans and rice with sausage ($8.95 for large, $5.75 for small) and gravy.
Of course, you can even order seconds from the “extra servings” column.
If you’re looking for something lighter, the restaurant does have a grilled shrimp salad ($12.95 for large, $7.95 for small).
But when we went, we tried the fried pork chop ($10.25) and fried chicken ($8.95), for which T-Coon’s is justifiably famous. Both come with bread, two sides, and a smile, plus you can choose between coleslaw, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, potatoes and broccoli.
The lunch crowd may be light on a Wednesday, but at breakfast, you’ll need to come early. The restaurant brings an entire carafe of coffee to the table, and T-Coon’s is a die-hard favorite with construction, oilfield, guys of all stripes, and a rare sighting today, a gentleman in a suit.
The fried chicken lives up to its fierce reputation—it crunches audibly under the fork — and so does the pork chop, which comes with cornbread dressing laced generously with sausage.
My male dining guest says the chop’s good and very tender. In no time, he’s put away the entire plate and offers to take mine home also — even the broccoli. While there’s honestly better coleslaw out there, he has no problem with that either.
T-Coon’s also has beignets ($3.50) piled high with snowdrifts of powdered sugar, which come out hot, sweet and, every so often, complimentary, like they are today. We got lucky, as did two other tables.
If you order off the menu without special instructions, bring your beta blockers. That said, I once heard an outlaw biker say T-Coon’s was the best fried chicken he’d ever had.
That’s a pretty tough recommendation to beat.