Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012
Written by Anna Purdy
If you’ve never had a Philly cheesesteak, no need to buy a plane ticket — head to Villager’s Café In Maurice.
This sandwich is one of the best in Acadiana. There is just no other way to say it. Owner MaryBeth Broussard doesn’t advertise, so the glory of her establishment is all word of mouth. In my case, my best friend began dating a native Mauricean who educated us on a sandwich worth driving half an hour in heavy traffic to get.
The original cheesesteak is made with Velveeta. Yeah, I know — pretty gross. Villager’s and most other non-Philadelphia restaurants buck tradition and use a cheese that doesn’t have 50 chemical ingredients, usually Provolone. Green bell peppers and onions are sautéed down and entwined with the meat, adding a bit of crunch and a heavenly marriage of flavor. Cheesesteaks are also served with au jus, which many restaurants forgo. Not Villager’s. Its au jus leans toward gravy with a heavy body and thick, rich flavor. This cheesesteak is served as a poboy — $7.85 for the whole and $5.75 for the half. Just get the whole. For barely $2 more, it’s always worth it. Also for what it’s worth, my guest, a native New Orleanian, said this was the closest to a New Orleans poboy he’s yet to have in Acadiana.
|Chicken fried steak|
Also on the menu was a chicken fried steak poboy. If you’re reading this and thinking, “I’ve never heard of chicken fried steak in a poboy before,” get in line, because my guest and I thought that, too. Chicken fried steak done properly is a tough game to play. The breading has to sustain its carb crispness and the meat must be tender.
Normally the meat, in the effort to create a cozy crust, is overcooked to the point of shoe leather or the meat is tremendous but the breading tastes like Evangeline Maid Bread soaked in grease and clumped onto the flesh, hanging on for dear life. With Villager’s, after half an hour of sitting in the poboy bread soaked with a luscious peppery white gravy and lettuce the chicken was just as delicious as ever.
The sweet potato fries came out before the sandwiches. I could have eaten the whole cheesesteak, but it’s hard when presented with a huge plate of thickly cut sweet potato fries to sit back and be patient. The cinnamon sugar comes on the side so you can decide if you want to go sweet, salty or spicy — $4.25 for a plateful.
Broussard opened Villager’s Café in 1997. Its location at 8400 Maurice Ave. on the town’s main drag was the site of her video rental store. When DVDs came in, Broussard saw the writing on the wall and got out. Knowing she had to do something with the space, she had the impetus to start a restaurant. “I had no money so I made everything,” says Broussard with a quick spank of the table. Wooden electrical spools were free and when given several glossy coats, some cut in two to make half tables to tuck under windows, the place becomes downright cozy. Antique tools decorate the walls and palettes are tacked to the wall, holding more décor.
Broussard says she wasn’t an avid cook before. “My friends helped me come up with [the recipes]. I got my meatball recipe from one person, got this recipe from another,” she explains.
The space is tiny and doesn’t seat many. There is a small, beautiful porch mainly shaded from the sun, but for the Vitamin D deficient who languish in offices all day the porch is a respite. In fact, the whole interior is flooded with light.
It’s tough to write about any eating establishment when the population of the town is smaller than a large high school — the words “quaint” and “adorable” pop up with alarming frequency. Broussard’s place could fall into that. Instead, it seems like a labor of love. From the interior to the food you get the impression that hard work enjoyed is the best dish served.
The menu varies from poboys and platters to salads and desserts. Check out Villager’s Café at villagerscafe.net or drive over to Maurice and look to your right.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Two bedroom cottage in Lafayette or three bedroom traditional in Erath
Gulf Brew ready threads
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
We welcome nominations from readers and leaders throughout the business community in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Cat 4 storm heads for Bermuda; travel ban called counter-productive; comet approaches Mars and more national and international news for Friday, October 17, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ebola is kind of terrifying if you watch too much Fox News and CNN. Especially Fox, which makes everything look terrifying because, well, War on Christmas and Obama and all.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
One bedroom townhouse or two bedroom townhouse in Lafayette
Hit the barre for a good cause
Whatever district you are in, please do your research. Find out what the schools need in order to teach. Better yet, ask your child’s teacher. They know!
Get your groove on with two free concerts in Downtown Lafayette Friday, both at Parc Sans Souci.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Economist Loren Scott says Louisiana is in the midst of an industrial boom unlike any other in its history, with more than $100 billion in industrial projects either under construction or in the engineering and design phase.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
Where will we get french fries smothered in awesomeness now?
Snuggle up in style
Rural Scott or rustic New Iberia home
The Louisiana Treasury holds $18 million in Israel Bonds — bonds that earn 2.868 percent when the three-year U.S. Treasury is yielding 1.08 percent.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.