Downtown dining isn’t typically lauded for affordable pricing. While there are certainly pricier restaurants in downtown Lafayette, there are several businesses making their name off of a cost-friendly, casual dining experience. If you’re trying to budget with where you’re eating out, then these quality restaurants should be right up your alley (or right up the road!).
Hideaway Kitchen on Lee (formerly known as The Stand) is where you should turn your attention to first. I’m not sure how much of my readership is the nightlife type, but if you are, Hideaway Kitchen is a great alternative to the cramped quarters of Mel’s Diner on a Saturday night.
While they may not be open 24 hours a day like Mel’s, their food packs that delicious and greasy punch you need at 2 a.m. Their hours are catered to the needs of the night owls, open from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. The menu is focused on the sandwiches, all of which are $6 to $8; my personal favorite is their pulled pork.
Hideaway’s seating is all outside, and the space is a cozy courtyard of sorts on the quieter side of downtown on 407 Lee Ave. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to keep track of events and their weekly specials.
Downtown’s affordable dining options span through breakfast to dinner, so if your midnight excursion to Hideaway leaves you wanting more downtown fare, then take a trip to Black Cafe on 518 S. Pierce St. for some of their breakfast.
Black Cafe’s breakfast is a hidden gem of Lafayette. Their specialty is the Scotch Egg. My go-to, the “Which Came First,” is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in chicken and fried for $4. Pair that with something from their espresso bar, and it’s a one-of-a-kind breakfast at a very fair price.
Lunchtime is when downtown food options really open up. There’s something delicious to be had for lunch every day of the week without emptying your coin purse.
Johnson’s Boucaniere on 1111 St. John St. is an iconic lunch spot. With a history dating back to 1937, Johnson’s has perfected the art of cooking meat. From the boudin to the brisket, everything they serve up has a taste that’s purely theirs, with a kick-a** barbeque sauce to boot. To top it all off, you will never walk away paying much more than ten dollars for a quality meal.
Poupart’s Bistro on 100 E. Vermilion St. also has its fair share of taste and history. This downtown location of Poupart’s Bakery (originally opened in 1967) focuses on the lunch menu rather than the baked goods. You can never go wrong ordering their lunch special: half of a sandwich and a cup of soup for ten dollars. On Thursdays the special is a quiche and French onion soup, possibly the most French lunch deal in all of Lafayette.
On Sunday’s, Johnson’s and Poupart’s are both closed, so the best lunch at the best price will be found at Spoonbill Watering Hole & Restaurant at 900 Jefferson St., served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their bacon and eggs breakfast with fries and cheese grits is one of the best things you can get for Sunday brunch since Saint Street Inn closed, for a sensible $8.
I hope this helps give an idea of cheaper dining options downtown. As a student, I know it can be difficult to budget food spending while also wanting to experience the cuisine Lafayette has to offer. Luckily, these restaurants all offer excellent meals at reasonable prices.