Whether you are rushing through another lunch break to get to your next meeting or enjoying your meal to its fullest potential, savoring every soulful bite, the tradition of plate lunches is one that holds strong here in St. Landry Parish.

While other cultural traditions boast similar themes such as the Hawaiian plate lunch, made famous by former president Barak Obama served with rice, macaroni salad, and an entrée (likely derived from the Japanese bento box), there is nothing quite like the meat and threes of a uniquely southern plate lunch found here in St. Landry. Go to any restaurant or local grocery store during lunchtime and you may find that they offer a selection of three to six choices of meat (country-fried steak, fried chicken, or pork chops to name a few more popular options) and three side dishes ranging anywhere from spicy mustard greens to cornbread dressing.

Benny's Plate Lunch, Opelousas, LA

Benny’s Plate Lunch, Opelousas, LA

Many of our local vendors offer their own set schedule of specials for any given day of the week. If you’re visiting Benny’s Supermarket on a Wednesday, for example, you may find a plate similar to this one, fried chicken with mashed potatoes, carrots, and green beans, as a potential combination. While plate lunch prices depend entirely on where you go to enjoy them, the pictured one from Benny’s comes in at only $6.99. That’s a lot of food for a great price. You’ll find similar deals wherever you go to grab this iconic, white box.

While plate lunches are designed to take with you, be it back to work to help power through the next few hours of your 9-5 or to a park to sit and enjoy the

Louisiana sunshine with family and friends, there’s no harm in sitting down and enjoying your food in whatever restaurant, or grocery store, you find yourself. As long as there’s a place to sit, a plate lunch can be enjoyed anywhere.

If you’re having a hard time finding a place that offers plate lunches, you can save some time by browsing our website under the Food & Drink section. You can refine your search by filtering for places that serve plate lunches specifically or other categories like boudin, cracklins, gumbo, or specialty stores like butchers and bakeries.

The cultural significance of plate lunches extends beyond the convenience to go where you need it to. The selection of food, robust and comforting, reminds the palate of simpler times and occasions spent with family and friends. Make a stop by one of our destinations that offer plate lunches to see for yourself why it is Gumbo for Your Soul.

Mary Hawkins is communications manager for the St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission. Contact her at [email protected]