Poor Boy's Riverside Inn
Poor Boys Riverside Inn is one of Lafayette’s oldest restaurants. In 1932, pastry chef Hulo “Poor Boy” Landry found himself out of a job when he developed an allergy to flour during the depths of the Depression. Not to be deterred, Landry returned to Lafayette from New Orleans, bringing with him one of the city’s newest food fads—snowballs. He built a portable snowball stand from scrap lumber and bicycle tires and relied on the generosity of family and friends until he could get back on his feet. Landry soon parlayed his earnings into a sandwich stand featuring another recent food trend from New Orleans: poor boys, hence, his nickname. The eclectic menu also included raw oysters and the snowballs that had given him his start. Once the stand grew into a prospering business, it transitioned into a full service restaurant and moved from St. John Street to a beautiful spot overlooking the Vermilion River at Pinhook Bridge. The menu expanded to meet the demands of Lafayette’s hungry, including a variety of fish, seafood, and Kansas City steaks.
Hulo’s new location had been open just a few months when it was submerged beneath the historic Flood of 1940, but he soon bounced back and continued to prosper at that location until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bought him out to make way for a dredging project. In 1946, he opened the first air-conditioned restaurant in Lafayette where the Hilton now stands. For 31 years, this location served as a center for Lafayette’s festive life, including banquets, wedding receptions, company and civic dinners, UL and LSU coaches’ meetings, and more. Longtime customers still reminisce about the tradition of Sunday dinner at Poor Boy’s that they grew up with, while continuing to dine there today with their own children and grandchildren. Today, Hulo’s granddaughter, Elaine Hurst Alderman, manages and continues the family tradition at Poor Boy’s fifth location with her mother, brother, sister, and daughter. Elaine grew up in the restaurant and has early memories of grinding breadcrumbs from loaves of French bread in the kitchen as a child. She has carried on the tradition of dining at the restaurant every Sunday with her family.
Visitors to Poor Boy’s are treated to some of Lafayette’s best traditional fine dining in the warm surroundings of an all-cypress dining room and nature park setting. The restaurant’s most popular dishes include the lump crabmeat sautéed in butter, the stuffed flounder, and the Crabmeat Imperial, created by Eugenia “Mrs. Poor Boy” Landry. Those looking for a heart-healthy meal need only to ask about the off-menu items, including tasty vegetarian entrees.