A Northside institution opens its ovens on Kaliste Saloom Road. Photos and story by Denny Culbert
Wednesday, March 9, 2012
It’s Thursday morning, May 3, in the newest dining room on Kaliste Saloom Road. Three dedicated employees in red shirts with white lettering sit on the floor making sure each table is level. Light bulbs are screwed into small glass fixtures for the first time, illuminating the scarlet and tan colored benches with dark brown wood tables. Outside, a man pressure washes the sidewalk and parking lot. The anticipation of an opening just around the corner can be felt by anyone passing through the building. Less than a week later, on Monday, May 7, the newest incarnation of Pizza Village, a nearly 41-year-old Lafayette landmark, began serving customers on the south side of town.
The original on Moss Street opened its doors in June of 1971. Owners Buddy Tarpley and Glen Landry created a place where customers and employees were treated like family. The sauce recipe, made fresh several times a week, has not changed since the day the pizzeria launched, and the family tradition has carried over to the new restaurant, according to Tarpley’s son, Jamie Tarpley, who has been involved in Pizza Village in various capacities since he was 10 years old. He now oversees both locations since the founders are in their early 60s and have taken a step back from day-to-day operations.
Michael Trahan, a 13-year Pizza Village veteran, serves as co-general manager along with Cody Broussard. In the kitchen, chef managers Scottie Shelvin and Eddie Price ensure the same quality of thin crust pizzas that have come from the Blodgett ovens since the original eatery opened. This consistency, along with making patrons feel welcome, is how the younger Tarpley accounts for four decades of success. “If you don’t have superior customer service, you don’t have anything at the end of the day,” he says. “Consistency is really big for us. We only use the highest grade products. We make our own dough from scratch everyday. When you get it, hopefully it’s fresh and piping hot.”
Denny Culbert is a freelance documentary and food photographer based in Lafayette. His website is DennyCulbert.com. He also has an excellent food-photography blog, ShootEatRepeat.com. He can be reached at
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