Catfish Charlie’s…Homemade, Big, & Fresh

By Harolyn F. & Scott B.

We love our local food, and today was no exception.

catfish charlie's, monroe Louisiana
Catfish Charlie’s

We dined at Catfish Charlie’s which is located in the Office Depot Shopping Center on Louisville Avenue in Monroe. Doug Wood opened the restaurant 7 years ago with the motto “homemade, big and fresh”. Growing up Doug’s grandfather owned Harry’s Seafood and relatives also owned Bend of the River Restaurant so the restaurant has been a family affair for the Woods.

Kim Romero who is the General Manager is a delight and if you are not sure what to eat she can give you so many suggestions you end up wanting a little of everything on the menu.

catfish charlie's, monroe louisiana
Catfish Charlie’s menu

Unique to their restaurant is the thin & crispy fried catfish and hand cut mozzarella cheese sticks battered and fried.

cheese sticks, catfish charlie's, monroe louisiana
Hand cut and battered Mozzarella Sticks

Did we mention the great homemade desserts such as Ooey Gooey Cake. Need we say more? Yum.

Ooey Gooey Cake, catfish charlie's, monroe louisiana
Ooey Gooey Cake

Daily specials include gourmet burgers, all you can eat thin and crispy catfish, 14 oz hand-cut ribeye steak, Catfish D’Arbonne or fish tacos.

The Catfish D’Arbonne comes with one catfish fillet, fried or grilled, on a bed of rice and smothered with a delectable crawfish cream sauce.

catfish d'arbonne, catfish charlie's, monroe louisiana
Catfish D’Arbonne

The fish tacos are a fried taco shell filled with grilled catfish and a spicy coleslaw. They are served with fries and hushpuppies.

fish tacos, catfish charlie's, monroe louisiana
Crispy Fish Tacos

If you are looking for healthier options but just as tasty as any other dishes try the grilled Ahi Tuna or Salmon and grilled vegetables.

Catfish Charlie’s is a restaurant that is spacious, family friendly, and very affordable with meals prepared fresh and served quickly.

The restaurant also has banquet space with accommodations for 100 in large room and 60 in smaller room. They are open for business Monday-Thursday 11am-8:30pm, Friday & Saturday 11am-9pm, and Sunday, 11am-3pm. They offer Dine In, Take Out, or Drive Thru service.

Cheniere Shack Restaurant

by Alana C. & Ruth C.

Cheniere Shack menu
Cheniere Shack menu

Ruth and I headed out for late, late lunch to a local favorite, The Cheniere Shack (pronounced Shin-e Shack).  We just missed the lunch time specials which seemed tempting on this very cold day.  They have 6 choices such as red beans and rice to a patty melt from 11AM – 2 PM for just $6.39.  What a deal!  They offer hot water cornbread with their red beans and rice.  That is truly a southern delicacy you can’t find everywhere.  We missed that time frame so we ventured into the full menu.  Our waitress Danielle, said boiled crawfish is their most popular item, then fried fish, boiled shrimp, and the po-boys –  that is any of those are a hit.

They have a selection of appetizers but we saw one we had not seen on any other menus around town – fried banana peppers.  Oh, were they good!  They give you ranch and another special dipping sauce that were both complimentary to the peppers.  If you’ve never had banana peppers, they are not spicy hot, they have a little bitty kick to them with a sweetness.  This is the only place I have ever had these.  I know I will be back for some more.

Basket of Fried Banana Peppers
Basket of Fried Banana Peppers

We enjoyed them and quick as we were popping them into our mouths, out came our main entrees.  Ruth chose to combine two favorites, by getting the crawfish poboy.  The crawfish are fried, and there was a mound of them.  Alone they were enough for 2 meals!  I told her to try the special sauce that comes with it and just eat some plain as she couldn’t close the poboy to eat like a sandwich.  She loved them with just a little dipping and still had more than enough left to carry home for another meal tonight.

crawfish, cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana
Crawfish Poboy

The French bread of the po-boys comes from Gambino’s bakery out of South Louisiana.  It is perfect for a po-boy or as the bread with your meal, which is what I had.  I enjoyed the shrimp sampler, to try the shrimp four different ways – fried, boiled, grilled, and blackened.  I gave Ruth one of each to try, too.  This may be why she carried home over half a po-boy!  Ruth’s favorite was the blackened with the kick of spices that it had to it.  My favorite was the grilled as they were flavorful and not overcooked.    My meal came with a salad and a choice of potato – baked, fried, or fried sweet potatoes.

fried shrimp, grilled shrimp, cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana
Shrimp Sampler

We were stuffed, but know that their desserts are famous, especially the pies.  It’s the meringue!  I don’t know if I ever have seen meringue piled so high.  We went through the list of options – lemon, lemon ice box, chocolate mousse, pecan, and coconut.  They also have a homemade coconut cake by Mrs. Terry that is about 5 layers high.  I’d say it’s almost 12 inches high!

coconut cake, pie, cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana
Desserts (Look at the size of that cake!)

If you like coconut (unfortunately, we don’t), it’s a must try.  I have testimony from my coconut nutty friends that it is unbelievable.  We chose lemon ice box, since it’s a true Southern dish.  It was fresh and tangy lemon throughout.  The crust was like a vanilla wafer cookie that we loved.  This type of pie does not require meringue, but the amount was just right for our over the top finish to lunch.

lemon pie, lemon ice box, cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana
Lemon Ice Box Pie

If you have kids, they have to get a whoopie pie.  It’s not a pie, but two homemade chocolate M & M cookies with icing in between.  You might want to send them home with grandparents after the sugar rush, but they will love it too.  I know mine do, as Mr. Robin and Mrs. Terry always make sure they get one somehow!

whoopie pie, cookies, cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana
Whoopie Pie Cookies

Cheniere Shack is the off the beaten path neighborhood restaurant, where most the folks eating there know each other by name.  You’ll enjoy a casual dining experience with large portions for a reasonable price.  During crawfish boiling season, you better arrive early, as they go through crawfish as quick as the season comes and goes.  You might even find you make a new friend with some of the locals before you leave!
cheniere shack, west monroe louisiana

Alana and Ruth

Cheniere Shack is located in West Monroe at 7975 Cypress Street. They are open Monday-Thursday from 11 am to 9 pm and Friday-Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm. They are closed on Sunday.

Lunch with a View at Waterfront Grill

By Dianna P. & Norma L.

Waterfront Grill
Waterfront Grill

Since February 14, 1997 when Don, Sam and Clay Weems decided to “cast aside the frying pan” and open Waterfront Grill, they have been serving up quality seafood and steaks that are grilled, baked or sautéed to perfection!

The Waterfront Grill provides relaxing view of the tranquil Bayou DeSiard.  You will find plenty of sports memorabilia in the restaurant.  ULM is located just across the bayou.

bayous, Waterfront Grill, monroe louisiana
Beautiful bayou views

Starting with appetizers, patrons are mostly drawn to the famous “Oysters Weemo” but on our adventure we decided to try the Barbeque Shrimp.  We do believe it has now moved into the number 1 spot! It is perfectly spicy and with each bite you can’t wait until the next one. It comes with crunchy garlic bread that is perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce.  The portion size is generous enough for two to share.

shrimp, Waterfront Grill, monroe louisiana
Barbeque Shrimp

For entrees, we chose the 6 oz. filet with a stuffed potato and the famous Catfish DeSiard. The filet was cooked to order and was tender and juicy.

steak, waterfront grill, monroe louisiana
Filet with stuffed potato

The Catfish DeSiard was 3 baked catfish filets piled high with seasoned bread crumbs, green onions, parmesan cheese, mushrooms and shrimp.

Catfish DeSiard, waterfront Grill, monroe louisiana
Catfish DeSiard

An outing at Waterfront Grill is not complete without one of their wonderful desserts. The White Chocolate Bread Pudding is the way to finish the meal.  It is warm and creamy and well, what else can we say…You gotta try it!

bread pudding, dessert, Waterfront Grill, monroe louisiana
White Chocolate Bread Pudding

The service is always superb, the portions generous, you can ask for lunch-size portions if you would like. Daily lunch specials are available as well as ordering off menu.  Nightly specials are offered too.  Waterfront Grill is open Monday-Thursday: 11am-9pm, Friday and Saturday: 11am-10pm.

Good Food with Healthy on the Side

by Sylvia B. & Sheila S.

daily harvest, louisiana food, monroe louisiana
Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest has had a long standing reputation in Monroe-West Monroe as the place to go when looking for a healthy meal. Owner Philip Thigpen delivers that with his “good food, and by the way, it’s healthy” approach to his menu.

cookies, healthy eating, daily harvest, monroe louisiana
The cookie counter at Daily Harvest

“People want to eat healthy food without eating the same thing,” Philip said. So they have broadened their menu with delicious food options that are not only tasty, but good for you too.

The atmosphere is casual and friendly. And the staff is too. Walk up to the counter and check out their menu. It’s a perfect set-up because you can check out their baked goods like cookies and freshly made bread while you decide what to order.

At the suggestion of a co-worker, Sylvia ordered the chicken salad on homemade Cranberry Pecan bread and a cup of Broccoli Cheese Soup. The sandwich was better than promised, especially with their freshly made bread, and the soup was warm and just plain good!

chicken salad, broccoli cheese soup, daily harvest, monroe louisiana
Chicken salad sandwich and broccoli cheese soup

I had checked out the daily specials on their website and could not wait to try the Jalapeno Cornbread Stackup. They top their jalapeno cornbread with turkey chili, cheese, sour cream, and a few more jalapenos.

jalapeno cornbread, daily harvest, monroe louisiana
Jalapeno Cornbread Stackup

I also finished my meal with a huge cookie. And by huge, I mean HUGE! (Just look. It’s as big as my hand!) You can choose from Oatmeal, Chocolate Haystack, M&M, Ginger Molasses, Oatmeal Peanut Butter, and more. I chose the Heath Bar. 

Heath Bar Cookie

Menu options include breakfast sandwiches and wraps, salads, sandwiches (both hot and cold), soups, pizzas, and a hot sandwich special of the day. They have a full catering menu too! Daily Harvest is open Monday-Saturday from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Crawfish and a Pig Sandwich at Cormier’s

By Norma L. & Scott

Cormier's Cajun Restaurant & Catering
Cormier’s Cajun Restaurant & Catering

Cormier’s is a family owned restaurant that was previously a gas station. The Cormier family acquired the property and turned it into the family restaurant you see today on Forsythe Avenue. It is still a family affair with Jamie Cormier running the day to day operation.

Order your crawfish by the pound
Order your crawfish by the pound

Their most popular item is boiled crawfish which has been voted #1 in the Twin Cities since 1989 and that is evident by the tremendous crowds that come eat there. The crawfish might be their most popular menu item but is followed closely by their famous Pig Sandwich, made from delicious pulled pork and their own special sauces. You can also find an assortment of salads and blackened fish on their menu for looking for a healthy option. However, if you are so inclined, we suggest trying their bread pudding for dessert as it is truly delicious. Boiled crawfish can be found on the menu from the end of January to the end of June. Cormier’s closes the month of August for little R&R but open back up in September to starting serving boiled blue crab thru October.

Jamie mentioned they have a very active catering business in addition to the restaurant including frying over 1,300 turkeys in 2013 during the holiday season.

For appetizers, we recommend boiled shrimp; they had a great favor, were easy to peel and are a great starter for your main meal.

Boiled Shrimp
Boiled Shrimp

I had the Pig Sandwich which is pork roast cooked in a spicy, savory sauce served on French bread and dressed with mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, onions and topped with vinegar cabbage. If that sounds mouth watering, you are right! It was terrific and for a very reasonable price of $6.99.

pig sandwich, cormier's, monroe louisiana
Pig Sandwich

Norma tried a bowl of the crawfish etouffee over rice, which is another crowd pleaser according to our friendly and knowledgeable server Sarah.  According to Norma, it was every bit as good as advertised.

crawfish, etouffee, cormier's, monroe louisiana
Norma with a bowl of crawfish etouffee

We enjoyed the bread pudding for dessert and it is worth saving some room for it.  It is a great way to finish off your meal.

bread pudding, cormier's, monroe louisiana
Bread pudding

Cormier’s is located at 1205 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe, Louisiana. They are open Tuesday- Saturday 11:00 am until 2 pm for lunch and then open back up at from 4:30pm till 9pm during crawfish season and Sunday they are open from 3pm- 8pm.

Lindz’s Cafe

By Austin B. & Norma L.

Lindz's Cafe in Monroe, Louisiana
Lindz’s Cafe in Monroe, Louisiana

Located about one mile from the up and coming downtown Monroe on DeSiard Street, Lindz’s Café is a home cooking lovers’ kind of place. Owned by Tex Mahon, an ex-military chef, the restaurant is the perfect place for him to provide savory, simple, country dishes that any native of the south will find comforting and fulfilling.

Original tiling of Faser's Pharmacy
Original tiling of Faser’s Pharmacy

Lindz’s Café, pronounced (Lind-sy) started out as Faser’s Pharmacy in the 1920s. The original tiled Faser’s logo is in-set in the floor of the restaurant, surviving the change from the pharmacy to Snow White Cleaners in the 50s, to a laundry mat in the 80s and 90s. The almost one hundred year old building is well suited for a restaurant whose emotional core is that of stepping back through time. When you enter the restaurant, you immediately find a wave of nostalgia for days gone by intoxicating. Many eclectic and interesting antiques decorate the walls, and are used to bring a warmth and homey feel to the cafe. The miss matched chairs and tables may seem out of place in another space, but here it feels comforting. It reminds one of the acquired furniture over long periods that fill the home of maw maw and paw paws’ house.

Lindz’s Café is open for breakfast (6:30-10:00) and for lunch (11:00-2:00). The breakfast is made fresh every morning. You can drop in for the “Early Bird Special” and have coffee, eggs, bacon, grits, and toast, or give Lindz’s Café a call and they will deliver your order to you. Lunch is set up buffet style with specials each day to choose from. On Mondays, for example, choose from inside-out bell peppers, chicken smothered pork steak, or tips. The buffet is always loaded with fresh vegetables cooked southern style: sweet corn, black-eyed peas, yams, and mashed potatoes covered in a cream or brown gravy .

Lindz's buffet
Lindz’s buffet

If buffet is not your style, then Lindz’s Café is happy to let you pick an item off their menu. Sandwiches, homemade daily beef burgers, fish tacos, po-boys and their hand battered crispy onion rings are brought out quick, fresh, and hot by a smiling server with a great personality.

Lindz’s Café’s burgers are one of their specialties with claims by the regulars that it is the best burger in town. The burger patties are handmade every morning, grilled and come served with a butter toasted bun and trimmings. You can get their famous onion rings as a side. The huge onions are dipped in a homemade batter, and fried into thick onion rings that are crispy and crunchy.

Lindz's big burger and crispy onion rings
Lindz’s big burger and crispy onion rings

Another great item to choose off the menu is the classic chicken fried steak. This large cut steak is battered and flash fried to perfection. The chicken fried steak is covered in a tasty, well-seasoned, flaky crust. The steak itself is fork cut tender and melts in your mouth. It is a tricky thing to get a chicken fried steak not to be dry and chewy. Chef Tex has the chicken fried steak down perfectly and is proud to promote that he adds no extra salt to any of his dishes saying jovially “That’s what that salt and pepper shaker on the table is for…”. The chicken fried steak is covered with white country gravy that is a perfect complement to the steak. Get the steak with a side of the sweet yams that are thanksgiving worthy and fluffy creamy mashed potatoes.

Chicken Fried Steak with gravy and sides
Chicken Fried Steak with gravy and sides
Tex Mahon, owner
Tex Mahon, owner

It is a great mid-day meal with prices ranging from around $3.00 to $8.00. Lindz’s Café is open every weekday and, due to popular demand, some Saturdays. Go in, grab a great lunch, and if you ask nicely, owner and chef, Mr. Tex Mahon may play you a song on his newly acquired piano.

Mohawk Seafood Tavern

By Sylvia B. & Georgie H.

Lee Carter, Sylvia, & Georgie

Lunch time and we needed a place to eat, something different, a place that we have never gone before.  We mutually agreed to go the Mohawk Seafood and Tavern.

We started on our way! Once we arrived we were greeted and seated by our waiter Lee Carter, all decked out in his white coat.

Once seated, we knew right away that we would try the famous seafood gumbo that we had heard so much about.  Once eaten, we agreed that it was a bowl of deliciousness.

Mohawk’s Seafood Gumbo
Ann Norman, owner
Ann Norman, owner

The Mohawk is a well-established restaurant that opened in 1952 in Monroe, Louisiana.  Before ordering our entrée, we talked to Ann Norman who gave us a brief history of the restaurant that has been owned and operated by the Norman Family for 62 years.

For our main entrée, one of us ordered the grilled salmon with steamed vegetables as a healthy choice and the other choice was the seafood combination platter (fried catfish and stuffed shrimp). The portions were good and plenty.

Grilled Salmon
Grilled Salmon
Seafood platter with fried catfish and stuffed shrimp

There’s always room for dessert so we shared a slice of Banana Foster Ice Cream Cake. Umm, Umm good!

Banana Foster Ice Cream Cake
Banana Foster Ice Cream Cake

If you have not tried the “Mohawk” it’s your turn to go.  You can order from the menu or try one of the daily specials.

Closed Sunday’s and Monday’s

Shout out to Ann Norman and Lee Carter! We enjoyed our lunch!