Brands can become institutions —legacies that outlast their founders and become fixtures in our lives. In Acadiana, if your brand is food, it can become sacred. That means you don’t mess with it.
Now, imagine you inherit the institution or buy it. Well, on the one hand, you’ve got everything you need to succeed. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Or if it tastes good, don’t fuss around with the recipe.
But businesses are living things in their own way. There’s a balance to strike between what old customers expect and what new customers want. Growth comes with change and requires innovation. How do you do that with an institution?
Christiaan’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Acadiana are both at the helms of Acadiana food institutions. And when it comes to staples, there’s no brand more traditional than Savoie’s Foods.
Open a pantry and you’ll find the same roux Ms. Eula Savoie first cooked in batches and sold in the family grocery store in Opelousas decades ago. Today, Savoie’s is a multi-million dollar food manufacturer and sells Cajun specialties like boudin, tasso and andouille sausage across the South.
Ms. Eula passed away in 2010 and the company is now in the hands of Freddie Lafleur, who is the company’s CEO. Like most of the employees at Savoie’s, he’s been with the company for a long time. Thirty-seven years ago he started counting beans at Savoie’s as a company account. Now he’s in charge of the family-run sausage empire.
Robert Autin had two dreams as a kid: becoming a doctor and owning a restaurant. Today, Robert is a surgeon practicing here in Lafayette. And in 2017, he bought a restaurant, a Freetown institution: the Acadian Superette.
Since then, Robert’s put his stamp on the restaurant adding his own specialties to the menu — smoked meats, lamb, cochon de lait — on top of the Superette’s line of plate lunches.
Ms. Lynne, who sold the Superette to Robert and ran it since the 1990s, is still on hand to help him out. Robert has turned Ms. Lynne’s Superette into a hangout. He’s added a patio, a bar, and now hosts live music and private events. Somehow, he still finds time to scrub in for surgeries.
This show was recorded over lunch at Tula Tacos in downtown Lafayette.
Photos by Lucius Fontenot. And you can check out more lunchtime conversation about iconic Acadian food here.