Ms. Cookie treats everyone who walks through her door like family. The Rouge City Cafe owner leaves the kitchen to greet customers with a hug each time someone new walks in. I’m not saying it’s science, but somehow the food tastes even better when you know exactly who’s making it.
Rouge City Cafe may appear unassuming just up the street from LSU’s north gates on Highland Road, but looks can be deceiving—the white brick building is a soul-food powerhouse. Ms. Cookie took over the neighborhood joint last August, but she’s been cooking classic comfort food for decades, she explained as she briefly joined us at the table.
Rouge City Cafe offers daily plate lunch specials like smothered okra with sausage and shrimp, meatloaf with mashed potatoes, lasagna, fried fish and crawfish etouffee. The everyday menu features dishes like wings, cheeseburgers and po-boys.
My dining partner and I ordered the specials of the day: fried chicken with red beans and rice and collard greens for me, and a fried pork chop with red beans and potato salad for her. Both of our meals came with skillet cornbread, served flat like a pancake.
The red beans and rice were well-seasoned, and my fried chicken legs came the way all fried chicken should come: with a hearty amount of meat and a thick batter that was crunchy without being dry.
My dining partner’s pork chop was daunting in size, and the potato salad had more of a starchy consistency rather than being overly creamy. The large portion sizes are enough to leave you feeling stuffed and still have extra to bring home.
The shining star, though, was Ms. Cookie’s Ooey Gooey Deaux. She insisted we try the dessert, and with good reason—it’s dangerously addictive. The warm, chewy texture was perfectly gooey and sweet. My dining partner compared it to cake batter, but in the best way possible, where you can’t help but lick the bowl clean. We were already full from our meals, but had no problem finishing the ample slice of cake.
All of the lunches are affordable, with an entree, two sides and cornbread for about $10. Rouge City Cafe also serves breakfast until 10:30 a.m. Happy hour is every Tuesday and Thursday.
If you’re in the mood for Louisiana cuisine, a comforting and filling plate lunch or an authentic home-cooked meal, Rouge City is the way to go. Though you may go for the food initially, it’s Ms. Cookie’s benevolent disposition that will have you coming back again and again.
Rouge City Cafe is at 2679 Highland Road. Hours are Monday through Saturday 6 a.m.-6 p.m.