shrimp sandwich
NOLA BBQ shrimp poboy on Poupart’s French bread

On the Menu

By Elizabeth Rose
July 26, 2012

After opening its doors 10 years ago, Jefferson Street Pub has expanded to bring “more life into the business,” says owner Gus Rezende, by creating a menu of lunch, dinner and late-night foods that will make you cringe at the bowl of peanuts in your regular after-work hangout.

“We didn’t get into the business to be just a bar,” says Rezende, who owns the business with BJ Crist (who also part-owns Dix Almost Famous Daiquiris and Tropical Smoothie Café). “When we purchased it, we knew that food would complement the bar business. It’s a perfect fit for us to serve gastropub food. We wanted to keep it simple, delicious and affordable.”

But elevated gastropub food, says co-chef CJ Pothier, who worked in Chicago for seven years and then Cochon in New Orleans before coming to Lafayette. He says his time in “high dining” gastropubs aided in the creation of JSP’s menu. “I wanted to take what the rest [of the gastropubs] do and twist and refine it. We wanted it to be fresh, new and innovative.” Pothier and his co-chef, Robert Sandburg, who worked at Jolie’s before moving over to JSP, make all of the dishes from scratch, including sauces and the house charcuterie plate. Though they don’t market JSP’s food as farm-to-table, they source as many ingredients as possible from local vendors: meats from Eunice, bread from Poupart’s, Gulf seafood, cheeses from Belle Ecorce Farm in St. Martinville and produce from Lafayette.

cornish hen
Half of brick-cooked cornish hen served with rapini sauteed in a lemon-butter sauce

With those ingredients, Pothier and Sandburg created three separate menus for their respective meals. The lunch menu is the most extensive and varied, including mussels, wings and pickle fries. “Doing lunch was a no-brainer, with the business around downtown,” says Rezende. For those seeking lighter fare, the arugula salad with lemon and pecorino shines, as well as the Caesar salad with grilled romaine lettuce. Other menu standouts are the BLT with pork belly, brick cornish hen, and shepherd’s pie with brisket, pork shoulder and bacon cooked in Guinness, which Pothier says is his favorite. “Because [shepherd’s pie] is cheap to make, it’s often thrown by the wayside.” But JSP tops it with cheesy chive mash and serves it in a cast iron skillet for a filling departure from the norm.

Dinner is an abbreviated menu and offers the staples, including the JSP burger, BLT and shepherd’s pie, but also grown-up grilled cheese with roasted tomato soup and the house charcuterie and cheese plates. “We cater to complement our huge selection of draft beer and classic cocktails,” says Rezende. That huge selection of beers on tap rounds out at 35, and Pothier encourages people to visit for a post-work drink and a “lounge meal.” For lunch and dinner desserts, they also feature a chocolate bread pudding with SoCo sauce, strawberry lime sorbet with lime and basil and a Guinness float with homemade vanilla ice cream and topped with a sprinkling of chocolate chips.

shepard pie
Served in a skillet, shepherd’s pie marries pork and beef cooked in Guinness and topped with a cheesy chive mash.

And then comes late night. Pick up a bacon cheeseburger, Publican Tenders (buttermilk chicken tenders), a grilled cheese sandwich or a serving of macaroni and cheese ­— to-go only — between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. For happy hour, grab a couple bar snacks for $2 each, including Momma’s Trash, a spicy Chex mix blend, the house-made potato crisps or boiled peanuts.

Though Rezende and his team have created an extensive and eclectic menu of “elevated” pub food, Rezende says there are no plans to expand beyond the bar to a full-time, high-brow restaurant, despite his two chefs’ previous culinary experience: “Please, no white linen!”

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