Bigger and bolder than ever, Bon Temps Grill is thriving at its new Oil Center location. With shades of bright blue and green, a new entrance and a pink faux-gator bougie bar, the restaurant has a buzz-worthy vibe. But, you’ll still find Bon Temps’ authentic Cajun favorites – with a twist -- along with new entrees, craft cocktails and bottomless brunch.
Though the owners -- brothers Patrick and Steven O’Bryan – might be boyish, both have extensive experience in the restaurant business. Right out of high school, Patrick started bussing tables at Café Vermilionville. “The very first thing I learned how to do was fold a napkin,” he recalls. He moved up to server, which put him through college at USL (now UL). “Working in that style of service, with that type of clientele, is where I got all the passion for the business,” he reveals. “I was hooked after that.”
After finishing with a degree in human resources/management, Patrick worked in HR for “like a hot minute.” But, he kept gravitating back to the restaurant industry. “I just couldn't get it out of my blood,” he confides.
From Café V, Patrick bounced from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to Mr. Lester’s Steakhouse, then worked in Dallas for 15 years. During that time, Steven was “always calling me up and begging me and saying, ‘Hey! Come back to Lafayette. We need to open up a restaurant!’” he recalls.
Meanwhile, Steven was getting his own taste of the restaurant industry. While in high school, a friend dressed in a tuxedo shirt and black pants showed up and asked Steven if he wanted to help out at Bertrand’s Riverfront Restaurant. “So I went to my father's closet, put on his black shoes and borrowed a shirt, and ended up going to bus tables,” he recalls.
Afterwards, Steven was whisked in a restaurant whirlwind – from TGI Fridays to Logan’s Roadhouse where, at age 26, he became the youngest general manager in the culinary chain. Eventually, he was promoted to area culinary expert, where he trained other locations how to run more efficiently. “What basically happened is I got tired of going to fix all these broken restaurants, and then coming back to Lafayette, then going to another one,” he explains. “That's why I kept calling Patrick, and said, ‘Look, I'm fixing everyone else's stuff, so I think it's time for us to do our own restaurant.’”
Finally, Patrick moved back to Lafayette, where he met his now-wife, Angie. “It took me coming back to Cajun country to finally grow some roots and meet my wife,” he says with a laugh.
The ambitious brothers began Bon Temps in the former Crawfish Time location on Verot School Road. They developed the menu on post-notes in Steven’s spare bedroom. “You'd walk into the spare bedroom and the giant poster-sized notes were just all over the wall,” Steven recalls. There, the boys posted all of their favorite Cajun comfort foods. That became the basis for the casual Cajun hot-spot, which became so popular that it eventually outgrew its space.
Then, in 2020, they discovered that the building formerly housing Blue Dog restaurant was available. “This is an iconic Lafayette restaurant location,” Patrick says. “When we found out it was available, it was a two-second decision for Steven and me. We looked at each other and said, “’We have to be at that location!’ You know, how can you not have a Cajun restaurant under those oak trees in Lafayette?”
In August, the O’Bryan brothers started a three-and- a-half-month remodel, then opened on November 16. They kept original favorites on the menu, adding entrées like prime rib, boudin-stuffed pork chop and Fried Catfish Mon Dieu topped with crawfish etouffée. For the business crowd, there’s a Lunch Value Menu, featuring new soups, sandwiches and combos. “Being at this location, we knew lunches were very important, so we expanded our lunch menu with items that are a better value,” Steven says.
Bon Temps also brought back weekend brunch, with signature entrées including Grits and Alligator Grillades and Crab Cake Bennies. Brand new are bottomless mimosas and Build Your Own Bloody Mary, with options like boiled shrimp, Coca-Cola Bacon and Whole Boiled Egg. “You can basically bling out your Bloody Mary,” Patrick says.
Also new is the craft cocktail menu created by mixologist Andrea Geis, who uses fresh juices and infuses her own bitters and syrups. “It's all from-scratch ingredients for the craft cocktails,” Patrick explains. The drink menu will change seasonally and offer classic cocktails and premium liquors.
Coming soon is live music in the Gator Lounge. “We're playing around with some ideas,” Patrick says. “We certainly want to do something for happy hour in the bar, and then something a bit later at night. We would love to be the bar they go to before they go out for a late night.”
MUST HAVE DISHES
New to the menu is Prime Rib, a 12- or 16-ounce slab of slow-roasted beef served with a savory au jus. You can get your meat fix seven days a week – a rarity in Lafayette restaurants nowadays.
Let Them Eat (Crab) Cake
Bon Temps’ signature creamy béchamel crab cake is coated with a cornflake and almond breading, then fried to perfection and topped with two jumbo crabmeat lumps. When you cut into the crust, the sauces just oozes out onto the plate, coating every bite of the sweet meat. Sin-sational!
Bon Temps’ new mixologist Andrea Geis concocted a creative cocktail menu using fresh ingredients and her own infusions. New drink favorites include the Empress Mule (Empress 1908 Gin, lime and ginger beer), which is as pretty as it is tasty, and Gator-Tini (Yellowfin Vodka, Blue Curacao, orange and pineapple juice), a glowy-green sensation. Cheers!