Ask locals in Shreveport-Bossier about their “go-to” barbecue joints, and it won’t be long before someone mentions Taylor’s Catering and Restaurant (1136 North Market St., Shreveport). As they tell you about the gargantuan barbecue plate lunches served up by this humble, family-run lunch house each Friday, you may detect a hint of what sounds like fear creeping into their voice. It’s not fear that you’re hearing – it’s awe.
During my recent visit, I learned what is so awe-inspiring about the restaurant’s Friday barbecue lunches. The rib plate that I attempted to tackle ($9) included four large ribs, an Olympian discus of hot water cornbread, three sides and a slice of peanut butter cake. Where your average plate lunch house offers three or four vegetable sides to choose from on any given day, Taylor’s usually offers between 12 and 16 side options.
I enjoyed my entire meal, but dessert was remarkable. This is your grandmother’s peanut butter cake, a small-town bake sale fundraiser thing that will knock your socks off. Do your best to leave room for some.
Monday through Friday, Taylor’s offers plate lunches of the meat loaf, fried chicken and chicken spaghetti variety for $8.50. But first-timers are going to want to try Taylor’s on a Friday, when throngs of people start to descend upon the restaurant at 11 a.m. for the delicious ribs, barbecued chicken, sausage and combo plates. My friend Angie White, a locavore with a comprehensive knowledge of area restaurants, tells me that the cooked-to-order catfish plates ($9.50) are as satisfying as the barbecue.
A few tips for first-timers: The staff here can be curmudgeonly in a lovable kind of way. Grab a tray before you get in line, or someone may shout at you. Check out the menu board and decide on your sides before you approach the serving line or, again, there may be scolding. And, for Heaven’s sake, don’t dawdle while deciding between cornbread muffin or hot water cornbread (you want the hot water, trust me), or you may be affixed with a weapons-grade evil eye. One can hardly blame the staff of Taylor’s for not wanting to stand there holding your lunch while you make up your mind. After all, the plate must weigh six pounds.
Taylor’s Catering and Restaurant is open for lunch only, Monday through Friday. They can be reached by calling (318) 675-0007. In a shrewd business move, they charge 25 cents apiece for to-go food containers.