Feed Your Soul: Catahoula’s Restaurant

5321 Desiard Street, Monroe, LA 71203
I found out why Catahoula's Restaurant has customers coming back for more. Opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, the owners' gamble paid off.
Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 8:59 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Catahoula’s Restaurant in Monroe was a dream for owner Shane Smiley. “I had an interest and always wanted to own a restaurant and came back home, and time passed really quickly, and finally, at my age, I either needed to do it or stop talking about it,” said Smiley.

The upscale relaxed atmosphere creates a tone where you can have a business meeting or head over for a family outing. The staff helps create that feeling throughout the restaurant. Shane says that they enjoy what they do and the people they meet while doing it.

One server especially loves her job and some of the perks to it as well. “I love meeting new people, especially when people come from out of town and they always get the good southern food,” said Raylyn McDaniel.

Walking in, the smell is amazing and the taste is even better. I tried the lunch special, and on Wednesdays, that is the fried chicken. It comes with greens and cornbread as well. My opinion after trying it, well, it was one I will be coming back for. Don’t forget dessert, they have a key lime pie that is perfect.

The view in the dining room complements the food. Overlooking the bayou, the view is beautiful and relaxing. That is why Smiley chose this location.

Catahoula’s opened during the COVID Pandemic and on one of the worst days. When many would wait, they wanted to get started. “We opened in August; it was the hottest day of the year in 2020,” said Smiley.

While many restaurants struggled to find staff, Smiley didn’t have that issue. He built a place that has a loyal staff. During this time, particularly during the pandemic, you know, where a lot of people have had trouble hiring individuals. We have been blessed to have the people that we have here and been blessed to have good employees that want to stay here,” said Smiley.

The staff will tell you why. “The atmosphere is here. It’s really comfortable. I mean, we get along with everybody,” said Emily Allen.

Smiley said it was not all easy opening when they did. “I can say that it’s very trying to open in phase two of the pandemic and then go to phase three where even fewer people are eating out,” said Smiley. They did find ways to make sure Catahoula’s survived.

“We didn’t know any different, so we’ve had to mold ourselves around what we what we think we need to be.”

Catahoula’s great service, staff, and food will feed your soul.

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