South Louisiana restaurants we think are worth the day trip from Baton Rouge

234 Lee Lane, Covington
3517 Highway 190, Mandeville

“I’m from Covington, so I love taking the hour drive on the weekend to visit family and get a good bite to eat. I feel like every time I make the trip, there are new businesses to try, but I usually stick to my favorites on the Northshore. For lunch, I’m always wanting to go to Coffee Rani. The menu has everything from pasta and salads to sandwiches and smoothies. My go-to is the Cobb Club. This sandwich has all the things you love from a Cobb salad stuffed inside a warm piece of herbed ciabatta bread. Don’t skip out on their dessert case, either. You can’t go wrong with a chilled cake slice or a petit four.”

—Olivia Deffes, 225 digital staff writer

Willa Jean

611 O’Keefe Ave., New Orleans

“I firmly believe that breakfast is the best meal of the day. And recent breakfasts at Willa Jean might have been the best meals of my year. This may sound like old news to some, but for years I’d struggled to get a table for weekend brunch at the buzzed-about Willa Jean when traveling to Nola for weddings, concerts and whatnot. In the last few months, however, I’ve visited the Big Easy twice on a weekday. The first thing that came to mind? A table at Willa Jean. Our first visit to Willa Jean was with friends traveling through Louisiana for Thanksgiving. I was blown away by the massive breakfast plate. I told myself there’s no way I would eat it all. But, reader, I did. The grits were rich and creamy. The scrambled eggs perfectly fluffed. And the biscuit had just the right balance of buttery crunch on the outside with a warm, soft bready inside. I left sufficiently stuffed and with visions of returning to that beautiful biscuit soon. So, a few weeks ago, when we took the whole family to check out the updated Audubon Aquarium, that’s exactly what we did. Everything was as delicious as I remembered, and my children actually ate their food. Scratch that, they loved their food. The meal even prompted our always honest 3-year-old to exclaim, ‘This is the best biscuit of my life!’ High praise, indeed. And certainly worth the wait.”
—Laura Furr Mericas, 225 managing editor