If all goes as planned, by 2020, the petrochemical and transportation infrastructure network will top $117 billion in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis parishes. To put that sum into perspective consider this: That’s sum is about a third of the total capital investment that takes place in the entirety of the United States in a typical year. These investments saw Lake Charles, the heart of the boom, named the fastest growing city in Louisiana in 2017. The city is in hyperdrive and no place is seeing more action than Pujo Street Cafe, the evergreen eatery at the corner of Pujo and Ryan streets, in the magnificent dark red brick building that once housed Gordon’s Pharmacy.
Like a scene straight out of the 1980s TV drama “Dallas,” at any given time hoards of businessmen sip martinis while huddled over surf and turf platters featuring mammoth blackened shrimp and hunks of prime beef. Open for nearly two decades, Pujo Street Cafe serves lunch and dinner in an environment that mimics that of a New Orleans courtyard if it was cross-bred with a fern bar. The exposed brick walls in the historic building are accented with ironwork and an eclectic array of local artwork, some available for purchase. The vibe is equally suitable for a business dinner, your grandmother’s birthday luncheon or an impressive first date.
Happy hour is taken seriously here from 4 to 7 p.m. every day except Sunday. Monday offers buy one, get one free martinis; Tuesday is buy one, get one free cocktails (some exclusions apply); Wednesday brings $3 house wine and Cosmos; Thursdays have $1 well highballs; Friday means 25 percent off all drinks, excluding wines by the bottle; and Saturday has $1 domestic longneck beers on offer. The covered, climate-controlled outdoor patio at the front of the restaurant is dog friendly and affords a perfect view of the lively street and downtown scene and shops.
The Hollywood Salad: Roasted tomatoes, feta cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, spiced pecans, purple onions and kalamata olives over fresh greens.
4 Dishes to Try
Pecan-Crusted Oysters Topped with a Spinach Tasso and Smoked Gouda Sauce.
Pan Fried Corn Fritters
Homemade Corn Fritters Pan Fried and served with a Bacon Aioli.
Pan-Seared Redfish Filet Topped with a New Orleans Style Meuniere and Lump Crabmeat Served with Rice Pilaf and Grilled Vegetables.
Spinach, Feta, Parmesan and Panko Rolled Inside a Juicy Chicken Breast Wrapped with Bacon, Baked to a Golden Brown and Topped with a Feta Cream Sauce Served with Grilled Vegetables and Baked Potato.
On Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Henning Cultural Center (923 South Ruth St., Sulphur) hosts Boudin Wars, an annual peoples’ choice event where southwest Louisiana restaurants and chefs compete for the title of “Best Boudin in SWLA!” Attendees can sample participants’ boudin entries in Traditional and Exotic categories and vote to elect the area’s best boudin.
Pujo Street Cafe
901 Ryan St., Lake Charles