SLIDELL, Louisiana - Whether you're headed to Slidell or hitting the highway on a road trip to a neighboring state, a stop at the Southside Cafe can fuel your stomach with food and your soul with patriotism.
Outside, there are Caribbean colors and quirky signs and statues. Inside, the tables are filled with regular customers, many who seem to have memorized the eatery's lengthy menu, highlighted with specialties such as Southside's Famous Reuben and the Pontchartrain Pig sandwich.
"Everybody that comes here loves the place," says one happy customer, and that attitude was echoed by tables of families, friends and groups that use the cheerful setting to meet, such as a women's birthday club, and a team of retirees from the New Orleans Police Department who place their orders every Thursday.
Aside from the food and the friendly staff, there's another reason Southside Cafe lures in so many customers: It's an extremely patriotic place that honors all branches of the military with its decor. There's even a wall dedicated to local fallen heroes.
Owner Dan Deblanc is a Marine Corps veteran who was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Much of his own memorabilia was used to decorate the cafe when it first opened nearly 3 decades ago. Managing Partner Chris Legrand says that hurricanes and time have forced the replacement of many items and these days a lot of what you see comes from customers.
The duo's smiling faces welcome one and all to the popular watering hole, with the goal of serving up delicious homestyle food at reasonable prices.
Several customers sung the praises of the cocktails too, such as the Bacon Bloody Mary, which some say has so many ingredients, that you can eat it for breakfast and won't need to order anything else!