Denny and Billy Guilbeaux, who were born 28 minutes apart, opened Twins Burgers and Sweets in June following a notorious dispute with their father. They have since created the business they’ve always wanted.
“We really like making people happy and products that make people happy,” says Denny, who alternates between cutting cakes and swinging his golf club in the kitchen. “We know that if something bad happens in the business, it’s because of us and if something good happens, it’s because of us.”
Denny and Billy liken their business roles to their unique bond and DNA — they’re mirror twins, which means one twin’s strengths are another’s weakness. If one’s right eye is dominant, the other’s left eye is dominant. Denny views himself as the creative mind and is the head of the bakery and kitchen; Billy is the office mind who claims he is better at solving problems.
The two grew up in the original Southside Bakery and What Time is It Bakery in Carencro, and discovered when they were young that they could sell roll-up sandwiches and Christmas cookies at school and turn a hefty profit.
“We sold them for 50 cents each,” says Billy, “and we made $80 each every day.” In middle school, they picked pecans to sell to grocery stores, and figs to make individual pies that they sold out of bus tubs with bottles of milk. “We’ve always worked. We were brought up to work and make a living by using common sense and our work ethic. This is what we’ve done our whole lives: sell cookies and food to people.”
The cookies are out every day in the showcases at their 2801 Johnston St. location, along with the standard petit fours in white, red velvet, strawberry, lemon and doberge. There are also 8-inch cakes in doberge, red velvet and Italian cream. The menu features a new “twin” burger with two house-made freshly ground meat patties seasoned with a little spice sandwiched in a slightly sweet bun. The burger is exactly what it should be — juicy with a hint of seasoning.
“If we can make it ourselves, we will,” says Denny, who has a talent for flipping pieces of cake from his spatula into his mouth. “That way we can control the consistency.”
The taste is familiar and comforting, but still unlike any burger in Lafayette. They also offer turkey burgers, crab burgers and crawfish burgers, and all hold the ability to become cheeseburgers with swiss or pepper jack. Junior burgers are available for those who want a little less than the twins. Denny estimates they sell 400 burgers a day, and says he can’t even begin to count how many sweets he bakes in a week.
“We’re happy to see the same customers we’ve served [at Southside],” says Billy. “They keep coming back, and we see the same faces on a daily basis.”
After Southside closed, the twins’ father filed a lawsuit against the two, but the parties have since settled. The twins agree that the split from their father was not about compensation or money — “it was about what’s right and wrong,” says Denny.
“We learned a lot through it,” says Billy. “The moral is that you can do it, you just have to be persistent with the right intentions. We never felt sorry for ourselves — it was always ‘what can we do tomorrow to open the business?’ We just kept moving forward.”
And with that attitude, they rebuilt the restaurant almost entirely themselves, save for electrical and plumbing work. The first week, their loan fell through and they were forced to pay for equipment and construction supplies on a credit card and the “hope and faith that everything was going to work out. We didn’t have enough money to eat lunch some days,” says Billy. They tore down and built walls to make the kitchen bigger and create a prep area; they retiled the floors, built new countertops and regrid the ceiling. After moving into the space on March 1, they received a loan from American Bank a week later and opened June 11.
Now the twins say they don’t want the business to be about them and instead want the food to speak for itself. “It’s about giving people good food that’s well made,” says Billy.
Visit Twins Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. — Elizabeth Rose
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun