Featured photo: Several members of the team from The Cotton Boll Grill, none of whom were overly excited to be photographed.
You know that old saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?
I tend to think that the more things change, the more they change. Especially in Shreveport-Bossier’s restaurant community. In 2017, local food lovers saw gains (Whisk Dessert Bar, El Mono, Fat Calf Boucherie, Wooden Spoon Pizza, Evi’s Schnitzel Haus and The People’s Market opened, among others) and losses (Sherry’s Diner, George’s Grill, Anvil Bar and Grill and Barbara’s Eatery closed, among others). One change that I regret, as someone who dines out frequently, is the erosion of what was once an incredible local diner culture. Thankfully, we’ve still got The Cotton Boll Grill.
At The Cotton Boll Grill, located at 1624 Fairfield Avenue in Shreveport, your waitress is probably going to make fun of you. She’ll deliver her sarcastic jabs with affection, but they’ll still be sarcastic jabs. The cook working the grill – who stands about three feet from customers seated at the counter – will also be receiving some jabs. There will likely be one old timer seated at the end of the formica counter trying to make the waitresses laugh while nursing a black coffee. As customers pay and leave, someone may call out from the kitchen: “See y’all tomorrow!”
And the food at The Cotton Boll Grill can be the kind of bracing Southern goodness that you only wish your mama used to make. The hot water cornbread is probably the best restaurant cornbread in the city. The candied yams are perfect – molten, sweet and buttery at the core and crispy around the edges. Each of the daily plate lunch specials seems to have its own following; I’m a chicken and dressing guy (Mondays) who occasionally runs with the fried pork chop crowd (Thursdays).
Shreveport-Bossier’s restaurant community is a reflection of the world around us – a world that is definitely changing. But The Cotton Boll Grill shows no signs of adding quinoa bowls any time soon, and the waitresses still talk to you like they’ve known you all of your life. That’s why – despite there being a lot of exciting new places to eat in Shreveport-Bossier – I ate at The Cotton Boll Grill more often than I ate at any other restaurant in 2017. With its quirky regulars, hard-working and hilarious staff, and dependably delicious, comfortable food, The Cotton Boll Grill may not be trendy but it absolutely is one of Shreveport’s most indispensable eateries.
If you enjoy this kind of local food coverage, download Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.