Third-generation restaurateurs follow their family’s calling at PJ's Grill in Crowley
As far as the Boulet men of Crowley are concerned, the restaurant life may be grueling, time-consuming, and sometimes headache causing; but they are thoroughly involved for one reason.
“It’s a calling,” said Peter John Boulet Jr. The 36-year-old is holding the fort down the day we take the time to talk about PJ’s Grill.
Sitting inside the restaurant which boasts two huge rice silos in the front of the main restaurant area — this is where cool outdoor eating takes place — Boulet asks me a question.
“Do you know what Boulet means?” he says.
Actually, I don’t,” I reply.
“In French, Boulet means meatball,” he answers.
Added evidence that the Boulet men are cosmically connected to food and restaurants … remember, it is their calling.
Boulet explains that his father Peter John Boulet, Sr. began his restaurant career working as a general manager at Burger Tyme in Lafayette. The senior Boulet eventually started working with his father Billy who owned several Sonic Drive-Ins and two Luther’s Bar-B-Qs.
“My dad got his food business stripes at the Luther’s in Little Rock that my grandfather owned. The business has been in our blood a long time,” Boulet Jr. explains.
Immediately, a flavor-induced memory pops into my mind the minute I recall eating at Burger Tyme.
“You guys know the recipe for that spicy burger with onions?” I ask, having eaten an untold amount of those burgers at the restaurant in the 1990s.
Boulet Jr. smiles and provides some crucial Acadiana area hamburger knowledge.
“They have the Cajun Blaze. We make one called the Cajun Blast with a barbecue sauce, jalapeños, fried onions and cheddar cheese. We use my uncle Brian Boulet’s seasoning and barbecue sauce. He owns Cajun Blast Southern Seasoning,” Boulet explains.
With it unequivocally proven that the Boulets are food enthusiasts of the highest fashion, the most logical question sitting inside the restaurant — that featured crawfish étouffée over rice and veggies as the plate lunch of the day — is what do people order the most when they walk through the doors of PJ’s?
Dishes and their descriptions started rolling off Boulet’s tongue like he was a radio DJ reviewing the week’s Top 40 hits.
“The Bon Temp Boulet, which is a grilled chicken sandwich, sells all the time. Our beignets which were voted number one in Acadiana Times for years are second best only to Café Du Monde in New Orleans. And our biggest seller is the Philadelphia Lawyer which is our version of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, only we make it into a hamburger.”
Let’s pause for a moment to take in the idea of a cheesesteak burger.
Yes, the burger has grilled onions, grilled peppers, and grilled mushrooms, plus it’s topped with provolone cheese and beef gravy.
“Oh, and our turkey club sandwich is ordered all the time, too. The folks in Crowley love it,” Boulet said.
I left PJ’s with my mind, body and palate in a delightful place.
Yes, food is a calling for the Boulet clan.
2021 N. Parkerson Ave.
A breakfast consisting of a three-egg omelet filled with onions, bell peppers, cheese, salsa, grilled potato squares and toast is too delicious to pass up.
Popeye & Olive
Named after a beloved cartoon couple, one of which loves spinach, the Popeye & Olive is a crowd pleaser. This gourmet burger is made with spinach and oil — hence the name — vinegar, avocado, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, and provolone cheese.
How in the heck can any self-respecting catfish or crawfish lover pass on a po’ boy with fried or grilled catfish topped with crawfish?