Inside Arceneaux’s on the River, a new Geismar restaurant that aims to give back

There’s a Virginia Woolf quote that has guided the direction of Suzanne Arceneaux’s life: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

Arceneaux is the chef and co-owner of Arceneaux’s on the River, a new breakfast and lunch eatery that opened at 9438 Highway 75 in Geismar in April. She says the driving force for her family is to simply show kindness and love well—and their first step is taking care of dining.

Breakfast crowds form early as the restaurant begins serving at 5 a.m., preparing hearty shrimp and grits, breakfast burritos and sandwiches, egg plates, biscuits and gravy, and more. Arceneaux says the breakfast menu was inspired by traditional family favorites she grew up loving, assembled with simple, clean ingredients.

Arceneaux’s on the River

In the Grits Cup, creamy stone-ground grits are swirled with cheese, eggs and sausage or bacon. Breakfast sandwiches can be served on a diner’s choice of a biscuit, bread, gluten-free bun or croissant. Many of the dishes are gluten-free or can be modified for dietary restrictions.

For lunch, daily specials rotate Monday through Friday, shared on the restaurant’s website. The regular menu leads with sandwiches—including po-boys, burgers, a French dip and the Stuffuleta, a rich stuffed muffuleta. Several dishes are laden with barbecue pulled-pork, including a grilled cheese, loaded fries and stuffed potato. The Hogs Cheeseburger boasts a duo of beef and pork smashburgers slathered in a bourbon bacon jam. For each Hogs Cheeseburger purchased, $2 is donated to Hogs for the Cause, which supports families fighting pediatric brain cancer.

In fact, the Arceneaux family has participated in the Hogs for a Cause barbecue competition for nine years and has won awards for its ‘cue. And the restaurant also partners with organizations like The Fellowship Center in Gonzales, boxing up any leftover food and donating it to the organization.

“The opportunities we are granted in having a restaurant go farther than just having a restaurant. We don’t want to see hungry people in our community,” Arceneaux says.

Arceneaux’s on the River general manager Eva Friedman and co-owner Suzanne Arceneaux

A Memphis native, Arceneaux first moved to Baton Rouge in 2006 to attend the Louisiana Culinary Institute. In the process, she met and married her husband, Brett Arceneaux, and the duo started dreaming of ways that they could give back to the community. Before long, it was obvious that fusing Suzanne’s technical culinary skills with Brett’s love for Louisiana cuisine would be the perfect pairing. After owning a successful catering company for 15 years together, the late nights and long hours left them longing for something that would give them more freedom to be more present in their children’s lives while also continuing to pursue their dreams.

“It’s a little ironic because it wasn’t my dream (to own a restaurant), it was (Brett’s),” Arceneaux laughs. “My realtor called me and said ‘Hey, I have a property that I think you might be interested in’. Little did I know, she had already spoken to my husband and told him the property was a restaurant. He knew better than to tell me beforehand. But when we went to look at it, we both knew it would be a great opportunity. So we purchased it in December 2023, and we opened April 18.”

Inside the rustic, intimate dining space, patrons can order at the counter before digging into their plates at warm wood tables or bartop seating.

Mr. Pig Stuff Grilled Cheese with pulled pork

As parents of three children, the Arceneauxs think of their kids when preparing food: They want it to not only taste great but also be built on quality ingredients that they would be proud to serve to their daughters and son. The restaurant sources most of its ingredients locally, buying produce from area farmers markets and regional delis and meat markets.

“Our focus has always been good quality products done as close to fresh and homemade as we can get it,” Arceneaux says. “Ninety-five percent of everything we have is homemade. We make almost everything from scratch, cutting our own fries and onion rings daily. We just wanted to implement good, quality food done right and at a price people can afford.”

Arceneaux’s on the River is at 9438 Highway 75 in Geismar. It is open Monday-Friday, 5 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit arceneauxs.com or call 225-673-3997.