One of the Northside’s best-kept secrets keeps it simple. By Anna Purdy
|Photo by Robin May|
|Crawfish étouffée potato|
As a young drinkslinger at a now defunct dive on Moss Street, The Potato Place at 3803 Moss St. was one of the nearest spots to nab grub that wasn’t fast food — a term that is questionable in both its parts — so it was an easy choice to eat there. Besides, something about a gigantic spud loaded down with seafood, cheese, chicken, beef or even red beans and sausage is a marvel of culinary architecture — a fat spud split and bearing the weight of amazing fillings and toppings somehow retained by the potatoes skins.
Potatoes are satisfying. Like a pinstripe suit or a little black dress, they go with everything, irony being if you eat too many you may not fit into said black dress, but whatever — a great meal of potatoes leaves you full and happy. It’s a tuber so important a political movement was named for it.
The Potato Place has been around for 15 years this July. It's owned by Cindy Brown, who began cooking professionally when her youngest son was a junior in high school. Her husband Jim works with her. It is a small space and hasn’t undergone too many changes in the many years it’s been open, but it’s never needed to do so.
The Potato Place does have wraps, cookies, bisque, gumbo and some pasta dishes, but when you go to a place with this name and see a collection of Mr. Potato Heads on top of the drink machine, you gotta go for the potatoes.
Jim brought out samples of the kind of potatoes they use. Each weighs about 2.5 pounds and is the size of a Ragin’ Cajun’s forearm. It’s baked, split and for lack of a better term chopped to allow for the toppings of your choice to blend and meld with the starch. The potatoes range from $6 to $7 plus tax depending on what you get, and one is enough. One is enough for lunch and dinner and breakfast the next day if you are selective, taking up the length and width of the Styrofoam box it’s served in.
What is it about broccoli and cheese? Even the most finicky child usually eats it. The Potato Place’s broccoli and cheese potato was the favorite of everyone at our table. The broccoli isn’t overdone and the cheese doesn’t have that warning yellow sheen most often honoring bowling alley nachos — it is thick and shredded to better melt on the hot spud. Add diced tomatoes and a some sour cream and it’s a party.
If you love cheeseburgers and you want to be gluten-free, try The Potato Place’s cheeseburger potato. You 86 the fries and the hamburger bun and the potato kind of takes the place of both. Heaps of ground beef and cheese poured over the potato with tomatoes and jalapeños. Juice from the jalapeños jar, by the way, is waiting for you on the counter if you want extra kick without the crunch.
Cindy says her favorite aspect of owning and working at The Potato Place is “meeting people.” Tucked in the shopping center at the corner of Pont des Mouton and Moss, the Potato Place is a small space with a small staff — one of whom was The Independent’s own Heather Miller when she was a young thing — and has the cozy feel of familiar clientele. It’s a joint you either know about or you don’t.
And no matter how people with a vested interest in real estate and commerce try to rebrand it, those of us who know the Northside are never going to call it “Upper Lafayette.” Check out the menu at potatoplace.net.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.