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.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
The look of leather
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Historic three bedroom in Crowley or contemporary town house in Lafayette
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Hot style for fans (and beyond)
Four bedroom Acadian or three bedroom traditional
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
"I have never seen anyone who worked harder for our people than Sen. Mary Landrieu, so I would like to share a synopsis of a few of the many things she has done to help Louisiana."
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
Three bedroom Acadian or a two bedroom town home