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Thursday, August 28, 2014
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There are two Steamboat Bill’s locations in Lake Charles. One on Lakeshore Drive and the other on the corner of Martin Luther King Highway and Broad Street. (Johnathan Manning)<br>

There are two Steamboat Bill’s locations in Lake Charles. One on Lakeshore Drive and the other on the corner of Martin Luther King Highway and Broad Street. (Johnathan Manning)

The small seafood platter comes with stuffed shrimp, fried catfish, stuffed  crab, fried shrimp, fries, cole slaw and a pistolette. (Johnathan Manning)<br>

The small seafood platter comes with stuffed shrimp, fried catfish, stuffed crab, fried shrimp, fries, cole slaw and a pistolette. (Johnathan Manning)

Steamboat Bill’s a local favorite

Last Modified: Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:21 AM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

While my cousin Patrick was visiting recently from Nederland, Texas, my sister Becca and I took him to Steamboat Bill’s.

He was only here for a week, but two days later, he talked us into going back for more shrimp at Sunday lunch.

With its wide selection of seafood and Cajun cuisine, the Lakeshore Drive restaurant is a local favorite and a stopping point for Interstate 10 travelers.

I eat at the restaurant every so often, but I think we hit it at peak hours both Sunday for lunch and Friday night. It’s a good-sized restaurant, but every table in the place was taken.

It wasn’t a long wait either time, but groups had to wait until all the members of their party were present before they could be seated.

Both times Patrick ordered a large portion of medium-sized shrimp. He taught me a new way to eat fried shrimp — dipped in marinara sauce.

I had never heard of doing that, but when Patrick asked the waiter for some marinara sauce, he obliged without hesitation.

I ordered the small seafood platter on Friday night and a bowl of gumbo on Sunday.

I’ve become partial to the stuffed shrimp that come with the small platter and the captain’s platter. There’s something in that stuffing — perhaps diced peppers or onions — that makes it delicious.

The small platter also comes with fried catfish, stuffed crab, fried shrimp, french fries, cole slaw and a roll.

The captain’s platter also comes with fried oysters.

On Sunday, aside from me and my chicken and sausage gumbo, the table was basically a seafood fest, with Patrick, Becca, my mom and Aunt Susan all ordering shrimp and my dad eating fried oysters.

Most meals are served with a Louisiana roll, which is a pistolette.

For those not familiar with Louisiana cuisine, a pistolette is a fried bread roll, often stuffed with crawfish or shrimp.

Steamboat Bill’s has some of the best around.

Some of the prices are a little on the high end, but there are plenty of affordable options.

Many of the seafood options come in smaller and large.

There are two restaurant locations in Lake Charles — one on Lakeshore Drive and another on the corner of Broad Street and Martin Luther King Highway. The two locations are now under one ownership, according to Steamboat Bill’s website.

While the restaurant is one of the most well-known in Southwest Louisiana, it also has received national renown.

It was featured as part of USA Today’s Mark Watson’s column on 10 places around the country to eat.

It has also catered to vice presidents and presidents.

For those of us living in Southwest Louisiana, it’s just another example that we don’t have to travel far to get some of the best food around.

Online: www.steamboatbills.com

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