Housed in a weathered, old wooden building that once served as a country schoolhouse, Shank Cat’s Bar-B-Que sits just a stone’s throw off of I-49 in Frierson, Louisiana. The business is named for the original proprietor, Carrie “Shank Cat” Scott, who passed away in 1995 at the age of 85. A giant, painted wooden sign hanging at the entrance reads “Home of the Finest, No Teeth Required.” While I can confirm that the country-style ‘que served up here is tender and delicious, the place itself is every bit as interesting as the wallet-friendly sandwiches, ribs and smoked chicken plates that come out of the kitchen.
The chalkboard menu lists a “greatest hits” of barbeque standards, including chopped beef sandwiches, rib plates, hot links and smoked chicken. Seating is limited to a few communal tables, and the restaurant’s regulars – mostly oil and gas workers – eat together or stand at the pick-up window, chatting and waiting for to-go orders. The restaurant’s fate is so closely tied to that of the region’s oil and gas industry that the Wall Street Journal sent a photographer to Shank Cat’s in March 2012 (see the photo essay here). On-line searches for Shank Cat’s turn up that photo essay, an Urbanspoon listing that I created, and not much else. It’s remote, it’s off-the-beaten-path, and yet is only about a 20-minute drive from downtown Shreveport.
Shreveport-Bossier, located at a cultural intersection where Cajun and Creole tastes blend with the Texan love of applying flame to meat, is a place that seems to have an endless appetite for barbeque. If you’re the kind of person who delights in finding new, quirky or far-flung places to scarf down a chopped beef sandwich or a rib plate, I highly recommend making the trek out to Shank Cat’s.
Thanks are owed to my friend Angie White for recommending Shank Cat’s.
Shank Cat’s is located at 6455 Hwy. 175 in Frierson, La. The restaurant is open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday.