LOUIE’S CAFE

209 W State St
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(225) 346-8221

1/5 stars

[We’ve updated this review, depriving Louie’s of its second star. After a few weeks of critical distance, we’ve all agreed that while Louie’s was a decent spot to end up in Baton Rouge, it doesn’t stack up very well with legitimately good diners we’ve visited since (see Silk’s in Philly for a recent for-instance).]

We’re awarding Louie’s just 2 stars, but we all agree it was a pretty decent “shitty diner”. First, the high points: the service was exceptionally friendly and, in the case of one of the cooks, full of character. This dude made the following announcement to the room at one point: “Last po’ boy! There’s one left, not two. Next person who orders a po’ boy, that’s the last one. You can come look at it.” He also prohibited us from ordering from the tray of biscuits sitting on the counter, deeming them “unservable” because they’d been sitting out for two hours. Our waitress brewed us a fresh pot of coffee rather than serve us the old stuff. In short, Louie’s has your back.

On the down side, Louie’s is dirty and disheveled inside. The kitchen is in the middle of the room with chef’s pass seating looking on, but those spots are off-putting – the kitchen is kind of a mob scene, with something like half a dozen employees doing the job of maybe two. Near the door sits a wire cage that once must have proffered some Baton Rouge weekly – it’s now stuffed full of shredded and crumbled newsprint, as though that bygone weekly had at some point decided to hire raccoons as distributers. The raccoons’ work remains unmolested by the staff of Louie’s.

We sat against a wall that featured a large original mural describing a Louie’s location on a beautiful white-sand beach stocked with tan, fit vacationers. The Louie’s in the mural has outdoor seating, and the waiter is wearing a tuxedo minus jacket. Dolphins frolic in the bay. We decided the art was depicting “fantasy Louie’s”.

The food was unexceptional, slotting in just above a meal at Denny’s. Although their website boasts that Louie’s is the “home of the veggie omelet”, Keith found it overstuffed (“just because you have 10 vegetables on the premises doesn’t mean they all have to go in the veggie omelet”) and a generally milquetoast affair. Chris’s western omelet held few surprises:”it offered neither delight nor injury”. Danny fucking loved his veggie omelet.

Besides the service, Louie’s scored points with us for grace notes like the mural of “fantasy Louie’s” and the poster of LSU cheer leaders near our table, which featured autographs from each of the charismatically flawed “Golden Girls”.

The bathroom was the sort of place where you don’t want to touch anything without first assuming a protective layer of paper product. On the other hand, the coffee was pretty tasty, and Danny’s fruit cup was fresh (it’s worth noting that when the fruit cup arrived at the end of the meal, we were all thoroughly surprised it wasn’t canned). Louie’s isn’t exactly a study in contradictions, but it is certainly on the cusp: some serious attention could make it a darn good diner, but any further erosion will thrust it into all-out calamity.

[3 out of 3 of us agree with this review. Although we all feel that it may be a little harsh, we’re incapable of rationally defending our moderate affection for Louie’s.]

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