Natchitoches, Louisiana is known for so many things. It is the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase, it was voted the Best Southern Small Town last summer, it is host to the famous Natchitoches Christmas Festival, and (most importantly) it is home to some of the best locally-owned restaurants in North Louisiana. Here is my unofficial guide to Natchitoches restaurants—bon appétit!
The Pioneer Pub
The laid-back, comfortable atmosphere of the Pioneer Pub is one-of-a-kind, and its food consistently keeps people coming back for more. My favorite thing to order from the Pub is “The Wookie,” a plate full of homemade fries topped with brisket, cheese, jalapenos, sour cream, and just a dash of heaven. The Wookie is a perfect appetizer for friends to share. Another favorite is the El Camino Burger—deliciously topped with guacamole, homemade salsa, and jalapenos—served with homemade fries. You’re safe with anything on the menu, though. The Pub also serves amazing homemade pizza and an assortment of beers on tap. I recommend this Natchitoches staple for lunch, dinner, or even both!
Also located in Historic Downtown Natchitoches, Merci Beaucoup is known by all locals as the perfect place for delicious, Cajun-inspired food in a charming atmosphere. Merci Beaucoup is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., so don’t get too wrapped up with shopping along Front Street and be sure to save time and stop by for lunch! The Cajun Potato is a must-try for a first-time diner. The Cajun Potato is stuffed with crawfish etouffee and jumbo fried shrimp—that should be reason enough to order it!
Technically, Grayson’s is located in Clarence, Louisiana, not Natchitoches, but we’re making a small exception here — go along with it. If you’re in Natchitoches and you mention Grayson’s Barbeque, heads will turn and mouths will water. A short drive out of Natchitoches will lead you to a small, inconspicuous building on the side of the road—aka, the home of this Central Louisiana legacy. You can smell the deliciously-smoked meat as soon as you get out of your car, so just follow the smells. The chip sandwich on a homemade bun with baked beans is my go-to order, but you can’t go wrong with anything they have to offer—especially their homemade desserts! Psst. Grayson’s also takes orders for holiday hams, but you’re going to have to plan ahead. They’ve already sold out for this year—that’s how big of a deal this hidden treasure is.
I could recommend every single one of the restaurants in Natchitoches to you—Lasyone’s Meat Pie Kitchen, Mama’s Oyster House, Papa’s Bar and Grill, Maglieaux’s, The Landing, Mariner’s, you name it. They are all absolutely delicious. So, just consider this my top 3 Natchitoches restaurants. I implore you—make sure to fit in as much time for eating as you can possibly handle during your trip to Natchitoches. Between the beautiful Christmas lights and light displays, fireworks shows, shopping, and dining, I wouldn’t blame you for deciding to extend your visit for as long as you can. Natchitoches is a Louisiana treasure during the holidays, so don’t miss the chance to experience the City of Lights this year. For help planning your trip, visit the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights website for a list of events and activities.