Chain restaurants rule the roost in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but hope can found at Bellue’s Fine Cajun Cuisine. The 30-year-old eatery is named after founder Wirt Bellue, a retired police captain, self-taught welder, and Creole cook extraordinaire. He’ll probably be working when you visit; if he senses you’re not from around these parts, he’ll sweep you under his wing—which is to say, he’ll want to know where you’re from, what you’re doing in Baton Rouge, how you found him, if you like seafood, what kind of seafood, and so on. Samples of everything he makes will come flying at your face; resistance is futile.
Bellue is crazy proud of his food and wants the world to taste it. As you dig into a styrofoam container of crawfish étouffée poured over cornbread dressing, tur-duc-ken with seafood, white beans and tasso, or crispy pecan-smoked boudin balls, he’ll pull up a stool alongside you and start telling all kinds of wild stories. Then maybe he’ll take you on a tour of his custom kitchen (why buy restaurant equipment when you can build it yourself?), of his welding shop next door, and of the outsider art sculptures decorating his backyard. This includes a 35-foot train-whistle contraption that, when yanked, temporarily deafens anyone within earshot.
But back to the food: It ain’t pretty to look at, but man oh man is it good. If you fall for Bellue’s as hard as we did, consider sharing the love with friends and family. He ships anywhere and will probably throw in some venison sausage or pecan pralines ’cause he’s a mensch. This food, this guy, this place—this is why we travel.
3110 Scenic Hwy., Baton Rouge, LA; 225-356-7798.