Fields establishment offers old-fashioned, one-stop shopping and dining experience
The Beauregard Parish community of Fields isn’t what you’d call a thriving metropolis. The school, Hyatt High School, closed in 2008. The community’s mailing address, once Fields, has been changed to Merryville.
However, in a location that once served as a post office, an after-school stop for kids, a grocery store and a community news source, Russell and Tonya Havens operate Havens General Store. It’s an old-fashioned, one-stop shopping and dining experience.
Of course, this one-stop shopping location is stocked differently from the chain stores in heavily populated areas.
At Havens General Store, shiners and worms are always available. Deer corn is offered during hunting season. PVC joints and other handy hardware items are stacked in the back of the store.
Though it goes fast, there’s also cane syrup, jelly and other preserves, including mayhaw; fresh-ground corn meal; and farm-fresh produce. Local honey — from Bearhead — is sought after as a sweetener and also as a remedy for allergy symptoms.
“We still serve free coffee,” said Tonya Havens. “In the mornings, local men gather here and solve the world’s problems,” she added, grinning.
Some do their best problem-solving over tomato gravy and biscuits, one of the breakfast menu items. But it’s OK to just sit and sip a cup of coffee inside at a table, on the deck in a rocking chair or in the glider at the front of the store.
Russell came up with the hamburger Havens General Store customers rave about. It’s the most-ordered item on the menu — a half-pound of Black Angus beef seasoned a day beforehand and cooked to order.
One day the Havenses served 80 burgers in a restaurant located in a community of about 400 people.
“Customers aren’t just from Fields,” Tonya said. “People drive here from as far as Sulphur and Orange.”
Customers are also from Merryville, Singer, DeQuincy and Starks.
On Friday night, homemade pies are added to the menu, which features mainly short-order type cooking.
Menu items ordered for this food review were the fried catfish dinner, deer sausage on a bun with potato chips and a BLT with fries.
The three filets of catfish were dredged in mostly cornmeal (the way it should be) and served with hush puppies, fries, a few dill pickles and a couple of slices of onion: Traditional, simple, delicious and filling. The cook knew what he was doing.
All sandwiches, including the deer or pork sausage on a bun, are dressed to order and served with chips, fries, potato tots, onion rings or fried okra. Get grilled squash in season.
The BLT was served on perfectly toasted, thick-sliced white bread. Bacon was also thick sliced. It was stacked with just the right amount of bacon, lettuce and tomato. The sandwich didn’t fall apart.
Havens General Store food isn’t fancy. And it’s not diet fare. But it’s good food, prepared in a way that won’t disappoint — and the prices can’t be beat.
The meal for three, including three fountain drinks, — with free refills — was $21.46 before tax and tip.
If there is another place to get a satisfying bite to eat for the price, find a hand-crocheted baby dress with matching hat and booties, lye soap and old ammo boxes, I don’t know about it.
Menu prices range from $4 to $7.50. The burger is $5.50. Add a side for $1. Hot Box, ready-to-go foods and Hunt Brothers Pizza are also available.
Havens General Store is across from the old school, where La. 389 and La. 109 make a “Y.”
It’s south of Merryville and north of DeQuincy and Starks. The address is 6598 La. 109.
Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. The place is open until 7 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday hours are 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Help yourself to a free cup of coffee at Havens General Store in Fields. While you’re there, you can pick up some shiners, PVC joints and deer corn and enjoy a satisfying, down-home meal.
The fried catfish dinner includes three filets, hush puppies, fries, dill pickles and onion slices.