Soileau's Dinner Club shares recipe to success for recent awards - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Soileau's Dinner Club shares recipe to success for recent awards

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An Opelousas restaurant is the newest member of the Louisiana Restaurant Hall of Fame.

Soileau's Dinner Club has been around for more than 80 years and can now add a few new awards, like "Restauranteurs of the Year," to their list of accolades.

"81 years later and we're still thriving," said Scott Soileau who now owns the restaurant with his wife Beth Deville Soileau.

The dinner club opened its doors for the first time in 1937, an idea spearheaded by Scott's father, Clarence Soileau, and uncle, Cliff Veillon.

"It was tough in those days. I mean they went through the [Great] Depression, a war, the civil rights movement, a fire, yeah those guys were tough," said Scott. " My dad and my uncle built all this. We have big shoes to fill."

Soileau and his wife have now owned the restaurant for nearly 40 years. Despite some renovations and a new building, the restaurant's history still hangs on its walls with numerous photos from decades ago.

Beth and Scott swore to continue the tradition of the restaurant's original owners

"Most of everything we do here is handmade from recipes handed out throughout the years," said Beth. They said most of the dish's recipes were written on tattered papers through the years by Veillon, Scott's uncle.

"Quality ingredients with no shortcuts, that's what my dad always told me. Start with quality and you'll end with quality," said Scott.

The restaurant has stuck to those recipes but has made a few small changes to their menu.

"This is dated 1973, and a T-bone steak for $4.50, a super seafood platter for $3.50. That's pretty much unbelievable huh?" said Scott holding up an old menu in awe of the difference a few decades can make to the price of food.

You'll find that quality not only in their delicious food but also in their loyal employees, some of whom have been there for more than 30 years.

"It's like my second home. I came and I stayed stuck," said Patricia Ned who's been working at the restaurant for 38 years.

"We are a family. We just a family. We don't care. You miss it, honest to God, like when we were off for a whole week, I missed coming to work," said Julia Thomas, also known as "Steppa" by her co-workers because of her quick pace. She's been at the restaurant for 34 years.

"That's what keeps me here. Beth and Scotty, they're like my backbone. I've been with them for so many years and I don't live far from here. I love my boss man and my boss lady because anytime something goes down and you need a ride or something they'll go down and get us. That's a blessing," said Dequetta Ford, another 34-year veteran of the restaurant. Ford prides herself on making "the best tartar sauce" around.

And other employees are quite literally family.

"I've grown up with half, probably more than half of the kitchen staff. You know they watched me grow up so it's nice to cut up and joke around at work," said Beth and Scott's son and next generation of the restaurant, Josh Soileau.

All of that is what the Soileau family says is their recipe for success.

"The involvement of family, the support of family, the staff, the restaurant family, the crew, the awards on the wall behind me, yeah, it's all a team effort," said Scott.

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