February 2, 2006 - "New Port Allen Restaurant"

It's a little before noon In West Baton Rouge Parish, and Marcus Gallow has the smoker going strong, barbecuing pork steak.

Travelers along LA 415 just north of Port Allen are beginning to find their way to some of the best cooking in south Louisiana. And it has a familiar name--Ronnie's. You may know them from their place on Florida Boulevard in Baton Rouge--some of the best cracklings, sausage and boudin you ever put in your mouth.

When Ronnie's went over the river, they brought all that with them...and added some new stuff. "This place here, we're doing the seafood," says owner Willie Kartchner. "That's going to be the only difference. We're doing the fish plate. We'll have the buffet line. It's more like a dine-in area, other than my store across the river which is more like an in-and-out."

Ronnie's roomy and fully equipped kitchen, supplies the buffet with everything from fried fish to macaroni and cheese. They're at Krawdaddy's on the Lobdell Highway. And, true to the name, crawfish will be a big draw when the season gets going. But even now you can frequently get some of the early mudbugs--along with, says Kartchner, "Boiled shrimp...crabs in season, fresh fish, fresh shrimp, peeled shrimp--a different variety."

Good Cajun cooking has a hew home in West Baton Rouge Parish. They're open 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM seven days a week.