Abear’s Cafe is Cajun country cooking of the highest order. Seated in Houma, Louisiana, the old, wood-frame building that houses the eatery was constructed in 1922 to be the home of S.E Gaidry and his wife Louise.
The Gaidry’s went on to run a restaurant out of half of this old house til the death of S.E in 1961.
Enter Curly Hebert and his wife Jane. They opened Abear’s in 1963 and did land-office business with Curly manning the range. He is reputed to have been one of the top hot-plate lunch cooks in the history of South Louisiana.
Nowadays, it’s Curly and Jane’s daughter Ginger who’s running the show.
On a recent visit, Ginger was in a talkative mood and regaled me with tales of growing up in the restaurant where she used to ride her little tricycle across the hardwood floors and among the tables filled with eaters.
Charming? Annoying? It just depends on the kid. Some can pull it off with aplomb and other kids get hit with the asshole label right quick.
On a recent visit I found the kitchen to be in top form.
I order a fried seafood combo platter and the waitress nearly needs a block and tackle to get the feast hoisted up on the table. Fried catfish, fried oysters and fried shrimp are anchored down with a mammoth side of red beans and rice spiked with plenty hot sausage.
Abear’s fry cook has one of the deftest touches I’ve come across in some time.
Everything is brought out of the hot fat at just the right moment.
The art of frying food is a skill lost on many young cooks who are more interested in daydreaming of standing under the steady gaze of Tom Colicchio on a far-off TV set.
A cloud-like peanut butter pie finishes off the bacchanal. I briefly envision a pie lady in the kitchen covered in flour giving consecration over an ancient Hobart mixer.
This is a blessedly delicious dessert.
The good people of Terrebonne Parish have one of the Deep South’s best meat and three diners. And if you’re into that old timey fiddle music, Abear’s puts on a Cajun dance party on Friday nights when they also host a giant fish fry.
Fried catfish with an old buzz-headed Cajun sawing on a fiddle and playing it hot? There are pure-d good times to be had in Houma, Louisiana.
809 Bayou Black Dr
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