From boudin to barbecue, Bergeron’s gives diners quick service, plentiful plates

Big bang for your buck

Baton Rougeans who don’t get across the Mississippi River much may not know about Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats. It’s no secret to the folks who live and work around Port Allen.

If you want ample quantities of reasonably priced, tasty food served in an atmosphere utterly lacking in pretence, this combination meat market and restaurant has it in spades. Our recent lunch visits found full parking lots and a bustling dining area surrounded on two sides by the tempting cases of meats and sausages offered by the market.

Bergeron’s is a place that seems to understand that the lunch crowd wants its food, and wants it fast. On one visit, a co-worker and I ordered each of that day’s specials, expecting the woman at the counter to give us a number or to ask for a name when the food was ready. The food was ready, and she handed it to us in insulated foam takeout boxes, a choice of fine china that suggests takeout is a big part of this place’s business.

What each of us got was acceptably warm and plentiful. Bang for your buck is one of the themes here. The chicken plate ($7.50), with sides of baked beans and potato salad, was more than filling. I was expecting a quarter chicken, but it was half (breast, leg, drumstick and wing). It’s not the best barbecued chicken I’ve had, because I prefer a tangier sauce, and more of it. Providing squeeze bottles with sauce options wouldn’t be a bad idea when barbecue is among the specialties, though Bergeron’s does have a shaker of its own dry seasoning that helped make the chicken a bit more interesting.

The potato salad was chunk style, with a creamy base that had just a hint of mustard, and the beans had some ground meat or diced meat that added some flavor and heartiness. We liked both.

I thought the sauce worked better on the ribs ($8.50), which had a smoky flavor that the sauce complemented but didn’t mask. Bergeron’s half-rack St. Louis style pork ribs were extremely tender, such that the bones neatly slid from the rack of meat, with a crisp but not tough exterior. Really nice ribs, especially for the price.

My lunch guest was unimpressed with the quality of the sweet tea — something that good barbecue deserves. I rather liked the raspberry tea, one of four options on the tea dispenser.

We decided to focus on sandwiches on our second visit. The sausage po-boy ($5.99) featured sliced links of Bergeron’s sausage on dressed po-boy bread. The bread is nothing special, but it serves as an ideal sausage delivery system. Of course the sausage, made on the premises, is very good. While it isn’t spicy, it does have a great smoky flavor.

The stuffed hamburger ($5.99) was a concept we couldn’t pass up — adding jalapeno and cream cheese to the interior of the burger. To our palate, the stuffing didn’t as much zip as we expected to a burger that was already thick, juicy and dressed with mustard, mayo, onion, lettuce and tomato.