Unique Culinary Experiences in Natchitoches La

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The French Market Express, Drive-Thru Daiquiris, Natchitoches Meat Pies and more! If you’re a foodie visiting Natchitoches, Louisiana, you’re in for a treat! This charming city known for its unique blend of Cajun, Creole, and Southern cuisine has a vibrant food scene with lots of amazing places to eat and drink! You’ll find so many amazing restaurants in Natchitoches, La that you’ll need to come back time and time again to sample them all.

natchitoches famous meat pie

Unique Culinary Experiences in Natchitoches La

My trip to Natchitoches, LA was courtesy of the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau. All opinions are mine. Many thanks to Natchitoches CVS for such an amazing trip!

Originally established as a trading post in 1714 by French settlers, Natchitoches has played an important role in Louisiana’s history and development. Today, it is a charming and historic city that attracts visitors from all over the world. As a melting pot of cultures including French, Spanish, African, and Native American, Natchitoches has an amazing cuisine, just amazing!


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Whether you’re looking for classic Louisiana dishes or innovative creations, there’s something in Natchitoches for every palate. Beyond the traditional list of restaurants in Natchitoches, La, we highly recommend three uniquely Louisiana culinary experiences you can’t miss when you visit this vibrant City of Lights, history, and culture.

Quick refresher on how to pronounce the name Natchitoches. It’s pretty easy once you stop overthinking. The official pronunciation is Nack-a-Tish, but I heard plenty of locals call it Nack-a-Dish. I think it’s safe to take your pick. 😉

The name comes from Native American tribes and not from the area’s French or Spanish roots.

French Market Express

The French Market Express

The first culinary experience you have to have in Natchitoches is the The French Market Express. More than just gas station food, The French Market Express is somewhere you just have to stop. Gas station food is all the rage, and The French Market Express delivers.

The French Market Express is a place where you can fill up your car, but it’s so much more! Located on University Parkway just off I-49, this gas station / convenience store / restaurant / wine shop is, well it’s something else.

French Market Express meat pies

Open almost  24 hours a day (they’re closed for half an hour from 3:00 am – 3:30 am each day for cleaning), there’s also a restaurant, bakery, wine shop, souvenirs, and more. Think Buc-ee’s but smaller, much less overwhelming, and 100% Louisiana. 

I definitely appreciated the fine wine selection more than Buc-ee’s huge stuffed beaver. And I was sad that the t-shirt I wanted to buy was out of stock in every size I wanted! They have the funniest souvenir t-shirts I saw on my trip!

yam pie french market express

From alligator to boudin, po-boys, to soups and salads, you can get everything here including their famous Louisiana Yam Pie and several different types of fried meat pies: regular, spicy, and crawfish. 

We heard this is the best place to order a King Cake. They’ll even bake desserts (cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries) for most any occasion!

If you just happen to drive down (or up) I-49, make sure to stop at The French Market Express.

You’ll find The French Market Express at 5109 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA 71459. Here’s their menu.

driving through to get frozen daiquiri in Natchitoches

Drive-Thru Daiquiris

Another uniquely Louisiana experience is a drive-through daiquiri. Yes, this really is the popular alcoholic beverage you’re sure I don’t mean. And yes, you can purchase them at many drive-through liquor stores throughout Louisiana.

These frozen slushy daiquiris are typically served in a styrofoam cups with a straw. delivered right to your waiting car. We got ours at Maggios’s Fine Wine & Spirits where they come a variety of traditional flavors like strawberry, mango, and piña colada, or a bit more daring flavors like 190 Octane, Egg Nog, Green Gorilla, or Pink Alligator.

frozen drink menu

You can order a small (12 ounces), medium (16 oz), large (20 oz), family (32 oz), or monster size (44 oz!) frozen drink!! To go. In your car. My mind was blown. To be sure, you can choose a nonalcoholic beverage if you want.

In Natchitoches you can get a drive-through daiquiri at multiple locations, including:

  • Maggio’s Fine Wine & Spirits
  • The Filling Station
  • Charlies Lakeside Liquor

Please note: it is legal to purchase and consume a drive-through daiquiri in Louisiana.

But, it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle on a public road.

drive thru daiquiri Natchitoches La

I’m really confused how that all works out. I suppose that means you either drink your daiquiri before you start driving again or wait until you get home to drink it and hope it hasn’t melted. Color me confused. But I wasn’t driving, and when in Natchitoches, it’s an experience you must have!

We drove through at Maggio’s Package & Liquor. Find them at 230 South Drive, Natchitoches.

lasyone's meat pie window display

Natchitoches Meat Pie

The Natchitoches meat pie is a savory pastry that originated in Natchitoches, the Meat Pie Capital of Louisiana! It is a traditional Cajun dish and is considered one of the signature foods of Louisiana.

Natchitoches even has a yearly Meat Pie Festival held every September! Featuring a river run, a brew fest, and more types of meat pies than you can imagine – this festival in the historic downtown sounds like a lot of fun to me! In 2023, the 21st Annual Meat Pie Festival will be September 15 & 16.

The traditional Natchitoches meat pie is similar to an Empanada – it’s a flaky crust filled with a savory mixture of ground beef, pork, onions, peppers, and various spices. The pies are typically fried until golden brown (in peanut oil I heard). But they have lots of different types of meat pies in Natchitoches, including alligator, crawfish, spicy, and more.

Natchitoches meat pies are a popular snack or meal in Louisiana and can be found in many restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores throughout the town. You can even pick up several types of meat pies at the French Market Express. 

They are often served with a side of hot sauce or ketchup for dipping. The Natchitoches meat pie has become an iconic dish in Louisiana cuisine and is a definite must-try when you visit!

Where to Eat and Drink – Best Restaurants in Nachitchoes, LA 

Now, on to restaurants we tried and loved! There is no shortage of delicious restaurants in Natchitoches, especially if you love Creole and Cajun-inspired cuisine! This is by no means an exhaustive list of the restaurants in Natchitoches, La, but they are a few that we tried and really liked!

If you have a suggestion that we left off, please leave in the comments.

cajun baked potato at Merci Beaucoup Restaurant

Merci Beaucoup Restaurant

Merci Beaucoup Restaurant is a top restaurant in historic downtown Natchitoches. While the name of the restaurant means “thank you very much” in French in a nod to the city’s French heritage, it’s pronounced more like Mercy than Merci. 

Some of the standout dishes include the crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, and the Cajun Potato. They also have some really great looking salads and a full dessert menu as well. I had the Cajun Potato pictured above with an added fried shrimp! It was very good!

You’ll find Merci Beaucoup across the street from the Boutique Church Street Inn at 127 Church Street, Natchitoches.

Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen (1)

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant is a must-visit restaurant in Natchitoches, but don’t ask me how to pronounce it. (I think it’s La-see-on).

lasyone's red beans and rice

This family-owned and operated restaurant has been serving up delicious Natchitoches meat pies since 1967. And Laysone’s Natchitoches meat pies are featured in the book 500 Things To Eat Before It’s Too Late by Jane and Michael Stern.

lasyone's met pie breakfast

Some of the other popular dishes served at Lasyone’s other than their famous meat pies include gumbo, red beans and rice, and fried catfish. We went there one morning for breakfast as well and they serve a full and delicious breakfast as well. And you guessed it. It’s also served with a meat pie.

Lasyone’s is located across the street from The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, in the downtown area. Find Lasyone’s at 622 Second St. Natchitoches, LA.

Hana Seafood & Hibachi Grill

Hana Seafood & Hibachi Grill

Another one of our favorite restaurants in Natchitoches, La is Hana Seafood & Hibachi Grill. They have two locations in Natchitoches, but we stopped in the downtown location in the historic Ducournau Building on Front Street. The Durcournau Building was built in the mid 1800s and was originally a townhouse upstairs with a retail space on the ground floor.

carraige way to the couryard bar at Hana Seafood & Hibachi Grill

I felt like I was sneaking around when I walked through open gates through the brick-paved carriage way to get to the courtyard. Back when this building was a townhome, the owner’s carriage would have driven through here for a private entrance to their carriage house and living quarters. If you want to read more about this historic building, here’s a more thorough history of Docournau Square.

I didn’t get to try one of their Bento Lunch Boxes, but I bet they’re great! We loved the outdoor courtyard with a bar behind the restaurant in what used to be the carriage house. In fact, we went there for a glass of wine after a busy day of sight seeing around Nachitoches. It’s really cute! I highly recommend a visit.

the courtyard bar at Hana Seafood & Hibachi Grill

Located right next to the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile Store, you’ll find Hana at 740 Front Street, Natchitoches.

steak salad at Papa's Restaurant in Natchitoches

Papa’s Bar & Grill and Mama’s Oyster House

You get a two-for-one when you go to Papa’s Bar & Grill or Mama’s Oyster House. These two restaurants are owned by the same family (Corwyn and Missy Aldredge) but serve two different types cuisines. If you’re looking for a steak salad, po-boy, or burger and fries, Papa’s Bar & Grill is your place!

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If you’re hankering for seafood dishes and fresh Louisiana oysters, head to Mama’s. Mama’s has a large outdoor patio and live entertainment as well at Mama’s Blues Room. You’ll find live entertainment every Friday and Saturday from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm as locals perform “soulful blues, smooth jazz, and upbeat zydeco!”

blue's room natichtoches la

Located next to each other in the Landmark Historic District on Front Street, you’ll find Papa’s at 604 Front Street and Mama’s at 608 Front Street.

drinks at mariner's restaurant in natchitoches

Mariner’s Restaurant

For an upscale evening out, we recommend trying Mariner’s Restaurant. Located just out of town on Sibley Lake, this restaurant offers a delicious mix of surf-n-turf, a beautiful bar, and lakeside dining as well.

steak oscar at Mariner's

The owners started Mariner’s in 2020 after 20 years of family travel adventures. I love that their restaurant pulls together influences from their journeys! The owners, Ben and Keri Fidelak, describe their approach to creating signature dishes is “using inspiration from [their] travels while infusing a southern flair, true to the historic roots of Louisiana cuisine.”

I highly recommend trying the Steak Oscar and the Charbroiled Classic Oysters. Delicious!

Find Mariner’s Restaurant at 5948 Highway 1 Bypass Natchitoches, LA 71457.

Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub

Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub

If you’re in the mood for a tasty sandwich or delicous pizza, Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub might be the place to go. The restaurant’s menu features a variety of classic deli sandwiches, including pastrami, roast beef, and turkey, as well as unique creations like the “Nakatosh Club” and the “Muffuletta.”

shrimp pizza Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub

The sandwiches are made with fresh ingredients and served on freshly baked bread, making them a satisfying and delicious choice for lunch or dinner.

We ate here for lunch one day and they serve delicious sandwiches, salad, pizza, and more. Definitely try their muffuletta sandwich and the shrimp pizza!

muffuletta Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub

You’ll find Mayeaux’s Nakatosh Deli & Pub at 584 Front St, Natchitoches.

Flying Heart Brewing & Pub

If you like local craft beers, you’ll want to stop in at Flying Heart Brewing & Pub. This Louisiana brewery started in the Shreveport-Bossier City area in 2014 when four friends came together to make good beer. I didn’t actually visit the pub in Natchitoches, but we did stop in at their Shreveport-Bossier location so I feel comfortable recommending them.

This brewery offers six house-made beers served year-round, and a variety of seasonal brews too.

In addition to their excellent beer selection, Flying Heart Brewing & Pub also serves a delicious menu of pub-style food. The menu features classic bar snacks including the “Big German Pretzel,” as well as heartier options like wings, wraps, and New York Style Pizza.

Overall, Flying Heart Brewing & Pub is a great spot to grab a cold beer and some tasty food while enjoying a casual and laid-back atmosphere.

Flying Heart Brewing & Pub is located at 108 Mill Sreet, Natchitoches.

inside look at storybrew coffe

Get a Great Cup of Coffee & More at StoryBrew Cafe

Get a great cup of coffee, tea, boba milk tea, and delicious pastries at this cute cafe in downtown Natchitoches!

Featuring an eclectic decor with dragons, thrones, books, games, and comfortable couches, this is a cute shop! And the owners were fun to talk to as well. I tried the King Cake Latte (we were there in February after all) and it was good – really, really sweet!

king cake latte at StoryBrew Cafe in Natchitoches

Bonus – you can pose next to their life-sized Dragon for a fun photo op. 🙂

You’ll find StoryBrew Cafe at 780 Front Street Suite 104 in historic downtown Natchitoches

To sum up, there are a lot of great restaurants in Natchitoches, La. This is not a comprehensive list, but a compilation of a few that we enjoyed and thought were noteworthy. Please share your favorite restaurants in Natchitoches, La in the comments!

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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