Growing Up In The Hub City: Judice Inn Turns 70
Apr 10, 2017 12:11PM
● By Flint Zerangue, Sr.
Judice Inn Turns 70
I remember it well—it was the early 1970s and I was a student at Woodvale Elementary. One day as I walked with my class back from the cafeteria, the school secretary (Miss Anna Judice) called me out of line and asked me to come with her—not sure if I was in trouble, I slowly walked over…”Yes, Miss Anna?” She said, “Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong, I need some help carrying something from my car.” As she opened her car door, I could smell something that was very unique, something delicious; something that I knew didn’t come from the school cafeteria. She handed me a box; it was filled with lots of small brown bags that obviously contained food, but what? As Miss Anna lifted the second box out of her car, she asks if I know what’s in the boxes. As I shake my head no, she says, they’re hamburgers — Judice Inn hamburgers — and I’m bringing them for the teachers. I remember thinking, “Wow, these teachers have it made. This must be why my parents are teachers. It’s the food!”
Several years later, and now a student at Lafayette High, I began to enjoy the freedoms of my teenage years, a part-time job, my first car, Friday night football games, school dances, etc. Then one day a group of my friends decided to meet after school to discuss some school function we were helping to plan. “Judice Inn!” they all said and the meeting was set. Judice Inn? It sounded familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. The next day, we drive into the parking lot and head inside. Then, just as I walk in front of this man’s car, he honks his horn! It scared the bejeesus out of me! I thought the guy wanted to fight or something, so I look at my friend and say, “What’s his problem?” Laughing to the point of crying, my friend explains, No, knucklehead, this place has curb service (Car Hop). If you need something you can just honk your horn and someone will come out to wait on you.
Still a bit shaken and embarrassed from the whole thing, I mustered the courage to open the door and walk inside. It only took a second or two for my attitude to change. The smell of those one-of-a-kind delicious smelling hamburgers immediately brought back memories of that day at Woodvale when Miss Anna asked me to help her bring in hamburgers for the teachers. “Wow, I’m here, I’m actually here… Judice Inn!” I ordered my first cheeseburger and was hooked from that point on. Over the years I’ve been a frequent guest; falling evermore in love with the food, ambiance and general family atmosphere this one-of-a-kind burger joint offers our great community.
For me and my family, our favorite spot was (and still is) booth #2. It’s right by the kitchen, so I can always give a little nod to whoever’s cooking that day, or refill my drink if the servers are too busy with other customers. My memories and experiences in that booth range from planning Prom dates to planning fishing trips as my friends and I studied the only aerial photo of the Atchafalaya Basin we’d ever seen (this was way before GPS). The plaques on the wall pay homage to many loyal Judice Inn patrons that have long since passed, but their memories still live on with the Judice family and longtime customers.
And that’s really what it’s all about — memories, and the preservation of them. Whether intentional or not, brothers Alcide and Marc Judice (with the help of countless friends and family) were able to turn their little hamburger stand into a Lafayette Tradition by capturing the essence of longevity in business through the simple premise of offering good food, a pleasant atmosphere, and a place where good people could go with friends or family and make memories. So Happy 70th Anniversary Judice Inn! The memories and individual family traditions that you have helped facilitate for the families of this community will forever be immortalized in your simple burger joint…AND WE THANK YOU!
Judice Inn Trivia:
-When Judice Inn opened, Johnston Street was still a gravel road.
-The Pipe and Chain that span the front of the building were originally installed to tie up your horse.
-The Secret Sauce used on the burgers was invented by their Aunt.
-After 70 years, the Judice family stands firm on NOT offering French Fries, Ketchup or Pickles (don’t even ask).
-They make an awesome Egg Sandwich, but you can’t order it during lunch on Saturdays.