Sitting down for lunch at Cat Daddy’s Old School Café, located at 4158 Hollywood Avenue in Shreveport, can feel like riding inside of a rocket ship as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. You get the feeling that every component is being pushed to its absolute limit and the whole thing could come apart at any moment. The café’s tiny dining room houses about a dozen booths and tables, which are usually occupied during the lunch hour, and a steady stream of customers line up for to-go orders beneath a gigantic poster of Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover taking a selfie with President Barack Obama. Daily lunch specials like fried chicken (Wednesday), smothered pork chops (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and red beans and rice (Mondays) are accompanied by down-home sides like yams, collard greens and sweet slabs of cornbread. Daily specials vary in price, but average around $8.50.
While I’ve enjoyed the plate lunches (which are served on partitioned plates, cafeteria style) and the busy, town square vibe, the best thing about Cat Daddy’s Old School Café (besides, arguably, the name of the restaurant) is their incredible peanut butter sheet cake ($2.45 per slice). Like the banana pudding at Sherry’s Diner, the peanut butter sheet cake at Cat Daddy’s is in a league of its own. There are other very good peanut butter cakes in town – at Taylor’s Restaurant on North Market Street, for example – but the version at Cat Daddy’s is on another level. Deliciously moist, dense cake is topped with a layer of rich, velvety peanut butter icing. This recipe is a classic – there probably hasn’t been a holiday gathering in my family without one of these cakes in 60 years – and Cat Daddy’s gets it absolutely right.