On the advice of her mother, who taught her to cook, Brenda Placide opened Brenda’s Dine-In & Take-Out for the love of cooking—rather than for the love of money—and her customers thank her for it every weekday by leaving her with nary a leftover. Like at many of Acadiana’s lunch houses and diners, Brenda’s menu is small and changes daily. Red beans and fried chicken on Mondays, turkey wings and smothered liver on Tuesdays, gumbo on Fridays. Each plate lunch includes the main dish, plus one “vegetable” side (such as corn, baked spaghetti, or mustard greens), a small salad, and dessert (such as bread pudding or peach cobbler).
Three generations work at Brenda’s, including her daughter, Taeleab, and her grandson, Typann. With tutelage from his mother, Brenda’s son, Damian, opened a sister restaurant of sorts in Arlington, Texas. At Damian’s Cajun Soul Café, he offers a rotating menu that’s almost identical to the one at Brenda’s.
While Brenda’s is primarily a take-out restaurant, the dining room can seat about 25 people, and it hosts a small but steady crowd throughout the day. On the morning of our interview, her own pastor dropped by for his Wednesday regular: baked chicken, smothered okra, and sweet lemonade.