Local restaurants take complimentary app offerings beyond the bread basket

Pass the bread and butter, please—and the fries and pork rinds, while you’re at it.

Everyone loves free bread at the start of a meal. And there are many places to get it in Baton Rouge, from fine Italian-style restaurants to down-home Southern eateries. But it’s not the only treat customers can snack on while waiting for the entrees.

Here are a few Baton Rouge eateries that start you off with complimentary bites. Just remember to save room for the rest of your meal.

Hush puppies and ice cream at Crawford’s Restaurant

This Staring Lane seafood spot is known for its fried catfish, served hot, fresh and lightly breaded. But that’s not all that’s battered here: Each meal begins with a bowl of hush puppies. And before you take your last bite, there’s one more surprise: creamy, sweet soft serve, on the house. crawfords-restaurant.com

More places for hush puppies: Drusilla Seafood

Seasoned pork rinds and cotton candy at SoLou

While this Perkins Road restaurant has plenty of mouthwatering starters, its little baskets of fried pork skins are tasty, spicy—and complimentary. The restaurant also often surprises diners at the end of the night with a fluffy tower of cotton candy. eatsolou.com

More places for cotton candy: Jubans (which, like SoLou, is owned by Making Raving Fans Hospitality Group) caps off its meals with mint-flavored cotton candy. Ruffino’s dishes out complimentary pink cotton candy for dessert, too. Both restaurants kickstart things with crusty bread.

Red and green salsas with chips at Tio Javi’s

Though many Tex-Mex restaurants offer free chips and salsa, this Constitution Avenue spot goes the extra mile and offers not one but two salsas. Its classic red salsa is smoky and flavorful—but not too hot for those who can’t take the spice. The Green Sauce is creamier than your average salsa verde, almost like a combination of guacamole and green salsa. tiojavis.com

More places for chips and salsa:
Blue Corn Modern Mexican, Rock Paper Taco, Mi Padres Mexican Grill, El Rancho Mexican Grill and many, many more

Fries at Supper Club

The rest of the meal may be a splurge at this swanky, Vegas-style restaurant, where you can try rare cuts of premium-grade steak and high-end spirits. But while you wait for your cocktails to arrive, kick things off with hand-cut French fries, served with ketchup and aioli. supperclubbtr.com

Fruit slices at Sushi Yama

To make you feel better about all the sushi rolls you just consumed, this Perkins Road establishment brings a healthy treat with your check. Cleanse your palate with a plate of pineapple chunks or other fruit like melon. sushiyama.co

More places for fruit: Asian Seafood House (pickled cucumbers or peanuts)

Pickles and chips at BRQ Seafood & Barbeque

Before you even order your mains at this Jefferson Highway restaurant, you’re met with bowls of house-made potato chips and bread-and-butter pickles. It’s the perfect combination of savory, sweet and tangy, but beware: Once you start snacking you won’t be able to stop. brqrestaurant.com

This article was originally published in the December 2022 issue of 225 magazine.