The “Inn” Crowd

The Judice Inn

My Rouses Everyday, July/August 2017

“Still no fries!”

Judice Inn, Lafayette, La. (Travis Gauthier)

If that is your complaint, I have some bad news for you — Lafayette’s legendary Judice Inn has been serving up “The Best Hamburger in Town” for 70 years, and has not found it necessary to improve upon perfection with the inclusion of French fries. That means: Stop complaining, grab a bag of Zapp’s® and enjoy one of the best double cheeseburgers of your life.

Since 1947, the Judice family has been running this burger and sandwich joint. Sure, they’ll do a facelift every now and again (the most recent one upgraded its tables and changed the awning from green to Ragin’ Cajun red), but the most important stuff stays the same, and not just the menu — the people who go there for lunch every day, the groups of friends that meet there before or after a University of Louisiana game, former workers that stay a part of the family even when they move on.

Lafayette native and owner-operator of Pop’s Poboys Collin Cormier has been going to this Lafayette institution since childhood.

“As a kid growing up in Lafayette,” he says, “Judice Inn was where we went after any type of sporting event. Both sides were sure to be seen at Judice Inn with all previous competitiveness and vitriol a distant memory replaced by a couple of cheeseburgers and a bag of Zapp’s.”

Cormier was also fortunate enough to room with a Judice family member in college, one who worked in the family business. “I ate two double cheeseburgers and two bags of Crawtators every day he worked, which was amazing for a person who didn’t know how to grocery shop yet.”

The Judice Inn is crowded more days and nights than not with college students, local families, old-timers, cops, teens on budget-friendly dates and adults looking for a low-cost night out as well. Even these days, two can eat well for under $25, which includes food, drinks, tax and tip.

The star of the menu, of course, is the burger. Get a single or a double, with or without cheese. It’s greasy, griddled, super-seasoned heaven on a bun made to order and served with shredded lettuce, Judice Sauce (more on that later), mayo, mustard and an onion slice on the side. If you’re feeling daring, top it with an egg, but the burgers stand on their own quite well.

That is, unless you’re looking for the following: ketchup, pickles, tomatoes and, as mentioned earlier, French fries. You will not find any of these things at the Judice Inn. If that bothers you, it’s just best to go somewhere else; this is not the place for you. And that’s OK! But after 70 years, it’s not likely that the Judice family will add these items to the menu or the tabletop.

Instead of ketchup, enjoy the souped-up, ketchup-based Judice Sauce, which has been in the family for generations. No one knows what makes Judice Sauce so good. Is it Cajun spices? BBQ sauce? Peanut butter? Who knows? And the family? They’re not talking.

The family-friendly atmosphere also extends to four-legged friends, as Cormier recalls how his uncle had a standing order of two cheeseburgers for him, one for his wife and one for his cocker spaniel, Lucy. Everyone’s welcome at the Judice Inn. Come on in, have a couple of burgers and join the fun. And bring a flashlight — if you need to go to the bathroom; it’s outside.