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(Eric Cormier / American Press)

(Eric Cormier / American Press)

Lenten season boon to local seafood restaurants

Last Modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:23 PM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Jason Guillory, owner of Mr. Bill’s Seafood Express in Lake Charles, understands the religious significance of Lent, but he also knows this time of year is awesome for business.

A certain portion of the population will abstain from eating meat on Fridays in accordance with Catholic teachings. As a result, seafood is eaten by many.

Fish, shrimp, crawfish and crabs are local favorites among followers.

“Over half of the year’s business is made during Lent,” Guillory said. “It is a very important time financially.”

At Bill’s, at 500 E. McNeese St., boiled crawfish is among the top-selling items. As a result, the restaurant’s hours are adjusted by Guillory to meet customers’ dining needs.

“When we do crawfish, we open a few hours earlier. As long as customers are in, we are open. Some get off work, go home and change, then come eat. That’s why we are open later,” he said.

Lent is regarded as the busiest time of the year for seafood consumption around the nation.

Ashley Roth, communications manager at the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board in New Orleans, said restaurants are not the only places where seafood consumption increases during Lent.

“Even at church fish fries. People eat more seafood now. And you do see a boost,” she said.

She said consumers need to be aware of eating local seafood during the time leading up to Easter.

“It is a perfect opportunity for all of us, and there is a captive audience right now,” she said.

Dave Evans, president of the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s southwest chapter, finds that his business, which already features seafood, gets busier during Lent.

“It picks up. Our menu has tuna, shrimp and salmon on it,” said Evans, who owns Luna Bar and Grill, 719 Ryan St.

“All of our restaurants that sell seafood or have a special during Lent thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the extra business our customers bring to us this time of year,” he said.

Evans encourages the public to “eat Louisiana seafood and at local eateries” every time they can.

Rules of Lent

“The other Fridays of the season of Lent are also days of abstinence from meat. The obligation to abstain from meat binds Catholics 14 years of age and older. The obligation to fast, limiting oneself to one full meal and two lighter meals in the course of the day, binds Catholics from the age of 18 to 59. Those who are younger or older may freely embrace these disciplines. But Lenten disciplines should never endanger your health.”

Source: Diocese of Lake Charles

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