Just when I think most restaurants have been covered in the Teche Area, several more turn up. Visiting with Catherine Wattigny about today’s column, I learned where three generations of her family ate dinner and passed out Moon Pies celebrating last week’s historic anniversary of the Moon Landing in 1969. Le Beau Jardin Bar & Grill has an oasis feel for those who find their way to the off the beaten path restaurant that also sells adult beverages. It would be hard to tell you who gave more accolades of the other, but owner Dewayne Self and Judith Kay have managed to survive the initial scarey first three years in business — and then some. Aug. 1 they will be celebrating 12 years on W. Admiral Doyle Drive, just past the Aggreko buildings near the airport. They are no strangers to the workers at Halliburton, Schlumberger, Norris International, Carbo Ceramics and pilots that fly in and out of the airport, but for those who don’t get down that far on Admiral Doyle Drive, they may be new to you, too. If you’re lucky, catch them on a quiet night for a custom made platter of food and you’ll leave fully satisfied and have new friends. Meet the merry makers.
How do people know about Beau Jardin, do you advertise?
Word of mouth. We’ve been here for 12 years next week and we never advertise. We’ve been serving customers with homestyle big buffets at lunch, or they can order from a limited menu of burgers and other short order items. Most guys come in with 30-minutes or less for lunch, so the buffet is always filled with freshly prepared dishes.
For people who have never been, describe the atmosphere.
We do a lot of plate lunches but at night it’s quiet and people come to relax, play a little pool, watch the news on television, but we also do a lot of private parties. Reunions are big especially with the guys that eat here regularly that graduated in the 1960s and 1970s. We do their reunions. Also cyclists. Every week on Tuesday and Thursday night we have a bicycle club that stops in and on the second Saturday of the month, they kick of a ride from here. It’s a big stop for cyclist including the Cycle Zydeco group.
Give me an example of a Friday night recently.
Last week we had about 25 in here from grandparents, their kids who are now parents and their children. A lot of our regular customers bring their children who play at the pool tables while the parents eat and visit. If a regular is coming for a drink and to play pool, they respect the family time and vice versa. It’s a mixed crowd, laid back. It’s just comfortable.
Speaking of comfort, walking up to the door on a hot night I noticed how cool the patio dining area was, how did that happen?
I’ve double insulated the roof and we have fans. The plants give it the garden look. It took about two years to name the place. We wanted something that fit the area and of all the names we tossed around, The Beautiful Garden in French seemed the right thing — for the French culture here. It seemed perfect, but you can’t imagine how many people ask, “What does Le Beau Jardin mean?” We could have called it Joe’s and had the same response. But it is the beautiful garden. Sometimes we have birds in cages up front, and a fish aquarium. The kids like those.
What are your specialties?
Anything you want, really. Our most popular burger is called the Jalaluya (pronounced Hallelujah) Burger. It’s made with jalapenos, pepper Jack cheese, bacon, fried jalapenos and then slathered with house jalapeno mayo. All burgers are served with house fries, lettuce, tomatoes and onions with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard at the table. We also serve a Mexican, Muffaletta, Tuscan, pressed Cuban, and others including some for sports fans — Saints, UL and LSU burger. The Saints burger has grilled boudin, UL is similar to the Jalaluya and LSU has grilled purple onions topped with a fried egg. Or you can build your own.
What are some of the other favorites?
Be sides shots of tequila? Fried shrimp poboy and for appetizers, fried okra. We have 30 different brands of beer from the popular standards to the featured local brewed beers. We’re a restaurant that also serves adult beverages.
Is there anything else you do for customers?
Judy majored in hospitality at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Then she became food and beverage director at the Hyatt’s and traveled all over the world. She does everything, cooks to order and is in here at 6 a.m. preparing a selection of breakfast items that are delivered to the businesses in the area. Then she is back here preparing the lunch buffet. We’re closed in the afternoons but open again at 5 p.m. mostly for regular customers stopping by after work.
How did you end up here?
My first job was at Angola when I was 18 years old. Then I got into the oil business. I’ve traveled all over the world as a consultant, still do, but I’m here when I’m not out there.