Poor Boy Lloyd’s ‘Restaurant Recovery’ episode airs tonight, featuring Todd Graves and Shaquille O’Neal

The new series with Raising Cane’s founder and CEO Todd Graves, Restaurant Recovery, will air on the Cooking Channel this month, with longtime Baton Rouge favorite Poor Boy Lloyd’s starring in this week’s episode.

Two episodes of the show, which is already streaming on Discovery+, will air each Tuesday night at 7 p.m. In each installment of Restaurant Recovery, Graves and his team work with restaurateurs that are struggling to hang on, providing fresh ideas, hands-on renovations and financial support.

In the episode airing tonight, June 15, Graves visits Poor Boy Lloyd’s, which has served po-boys and seafood downtown for more than 35 years.

In 1986, Fred Taylor purchased what is now the longest-running restaurant in downtown with savings from working on oil rigs for 20 years, a story that closely parallels that of Graves’, who opened the first Raising Cane’s with money he earned doing the same thing.

The restaurant, which provides the sole source of income for Taylor, his wife and both of his children, had to fight to survive during the pandemic with no events, festivals, and few workers and travelers downtown.

Graves is joined in the episode by basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal as they work to help Poor Boy Lloyd’s.

Shaquille O’Neal and Todd Graves pose with the family of Poor Boy Lloyd’s restaurant, as seen on Restaurant Recovery. Image courtesy The Cooking Channel

Graves helped the family with a wide range of improvements, including renovating the entry and dining area for a more open concept; adding TVs and a speaker system to the dining area; improving COVID-19 safety measures by adding plexiglass; updating all branding and the storefront to improve customer visibility; launching a radio and outdoor advertising campaign; and reducing the restaurant’s debt burden. Graves also hired local artist Marc Fresh to create a custom “Instagrammable” mural on the façade of Poor Boy Lloyd’s to attract attention to the restaurant.

This story originally appeared in the June 14 edition of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.