Tag Archives: local love

Top 10 Local Restaurants in Monroe-West Monroe

Local Favorites Restaurant Guide see more at pamelapetrus.comOne of my favorite things to do is eat. Not kidding. I think heading out to a fun restaurant could even be considered a hobby of mine. When Matthew and I travel, we make it a point to only eat at restaurants that we don’t have at home, with the emphasis being placed on places local to the area. Since we’re so focused on the culinary experience, I thought I’d share some of our local favorites here in Monroe-West Monroe. These are the places that we’d recommend to friends from out of town and we hope you’ll give them a shot too! Be sure to tell them that I sent ya.

  1. Catfish Charlie’s. Let’s face it. Louisiana is all about that seafood. While you’ll get some different flavors here in North Louisiana than what you’ll find down south, seafood is still a necessity. Catfish Charlie’s is by far my favorite fish joint. The flavors are superb, and you won’t find anything else like it in town. Matthew and I would recommend the thin and crispy catfish (Ask for just one filet if you’re not a big eater.) and the fish tacos. Although, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
  2. Avocados. This is one of my favorite Mexican joints. The food seems to be a bit fresher and the service there is great. My favorites there are the fajitas and the super nachos. Matthew loves the carne asada and I’d highly recommend the strawberry mojito.
  3. Cotton. If you’re looking for a bit of a nicer dinner, Cotton is a good spot to go. It’s owned by Chef Cory Bahr and gets a lot of traction because of his fame in the culinary industry. Definitely get the duck wraps. I’d also suggest the Mississippi Mule if you’re searching for a cocktail. Definitely don’t forget the duck wraps though.
  4. Genusa’s. Another nicer restaurant option is Genuasa’s. With primarily an Italian flair, they offer more upscale dishes and a large wine selection. You really can’t go wrong on the menu there, and usually the chicken dishes are my favorite.
  5.  The Fieldhouse. This local joint is near the college and offers your typical sports grill vibe. There are multiple tv’s showing a plethora of athletic events and even individual tv’s at some of the booths. For the menu, I definitely suggest the tossed chicken tenders (go with the BBQ) and the homemade potato chips. The sweet potato tots are also a fav. This is a great casual, fun option for lunch or dinner.
  6. Trapps. This is one of our newer restaurant options and it’s a favorite because it’s right on the Ouachita River. If there’s a patio to sit on (especially one with a view), I’m always game. At Trapps, I definitely prefer sitting outside to look over the water. Here, I’d recommend the seafood nachos which is enough for a sizable group of folks.
  7. River & Rail. I’d recommend this restaurant primarily for the atmosphere…it’s one of the best in town. With a large patio area, nice landscaping, and rustic vibe, River & Rail offers probably the best outdoor dining option in town. It also gives a great view of the river and I could sit out there for hours.
  8. Waterfront Grill. You guessed it…another waterfront option. This one lives on the bayou near the ULM campus. If you’re lucky, you can get a window seat to see the beautiful bayou and the turtles and birds that live there. Sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the ULM ski team practicing. My favorites at Waterfront are the crawfish cheese dip and grilled pork chops…it’s literally what I get every time. Matthew loves the Catfish Desaird, which is another local fav. Again though, you really can’t go wrong on their menu.
  9. Johnny’s Pizza. I wouldn’t be a good local if didn’t suggest Johnny’s.  This local pizza joint started here in 1967 and has since spread all over the south. When people move away from North Louisiana, they always want Johnny’s as soon as they come back home. I can’t really explain the distinction without saying, “It’s just not like other pizza.” I usually opt for the classic pepperoni and cheese sticks. However, they’re pretty famous for the Sweep the Kitchen, which includes a bit of everything. Whether you pop in to a restaurant or get it to go, a trip to Monroe-West Monroe isn’t complete without a Johnny’s Pizza.
  10. Iron Cactus. This one is a little further out of town in Calhoun. However, it’s worth the drive. It’s a quaint little place offering delicious Tex Mex. (As you can tell, I eat a lot of chips and salsa.) I love the flavors here and the menu offers some variation from typical Mexican restaurant fare. I usually keep it simple with the fajita tacos, and I’ve heard great things about the cactus roll and margaritas.

These are my local favorites! If none of the above strike your fancy, you might consider RawZ, BBQ West, or Trios. Monroe-West Monroe is known for its large selection of local restaurants, so you really can’t go wrong with any choice. I must admit, it was quite difficult to come up with a list of favorites because so many are good! If you hit up any of these favorites, be sure to let me know what you think! If I’m in town, there’s a large chance that you’ll see me at one of these.

Also, if you’re interested in a full list of options, check the restaurant page of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can also find a list of things to do and a calendar of events there!

Grown Ups Buy New Mattresses

Cloud Supreme BreezeIf you were to make a list of those totally non-glamorous adult decisions/purchases that you have to do when you’re a grown up, buying a mattress would be on the top of that list. As a matter of fact, it’s a little disheartening to spend your hard earned money on something that no one else will even see! Buying a car is exciting…you can show that off. Fabulous new living room furniture…people will see and use that. Even new bedding can be exciting…you can share a pic on Instagram and folks will see it when you give a tour of your home. Spending thousands of dollars on a new mattress? Not that exciting.

However, I can honestly say that spending what I’d consider a large amount of money on this hidden gem has been one of the best decisions we’ve made! Neither Matthew nor I have ever bought a new mattress. (Raise your hand if you’ve lived with hand-me-down mattresses too!) Even the king sized mattress we got when we were first married was given to us by his parents when they had to buy a new one. Personally, I just couldn’t ever justify spending my money on something like a mattress when there were cool shoes to buy and vacations to take.

Cloud Supreme BreezeI don’t think there’s anything wrong with hand-me-down mattresses, but Matthew and I were in desperate need of a new one. You see, my wonderful husband doesn’t roll over gently when he sleeps. Instead, he flops. There are seriously no words to describe the way in which he does this. With our old mattress, I’d bounce around like a little baby on grandpa’s knee and wake up every. single. time. he rolled over. Not only was the bouncing an issue, but I’d constantly be pulled into the dip in the middle. With Matthew being so much bigger than me, I’d have to fight being pulled to the middle whenever he’d get into bed. All night, I’d fight gravity pulling me into a hole and trying to stay asleep when he decided to roll over. I don’t even need to mention how badly our backs hurt when we woke up in the morning and how we were the exact opposite of well-rested. Needless to say, it was time.

It took us months to make the commitment, be we finally selected a Temperpedic mattress with Breeze Technology. (I get terribly hot when I sleep, so anything that’ll help me to be cooler when I sleep is a blessing.) When I say that this mattress has changed my life, I am only barely exaggerating. It does take a bit to adjust to the feel of a Temperpedic mattress, but within just a week or so, I was adjusted and in heaven. I do NOT feel Matthew flopping around and sleep peaceful through the night. Most days, I don’t even wake up when he gets out of bed! We both wake up feeling much more rested and without all of the aches and pains.

We were in Lafayette a few weekends ago and it was our first time to stay in a hotel since getting our new bed. Not fun. After the first night, I completely remembered what it was like to sleep in our old bed and missed our new one terribly.  I told Matthew that there should be a website where you can choose a hotel based on whether or not they offer Temperpedic mattresses. (Take note of that, Temperpedic. Let me know when I can register on the new site.)

Cloud Supreme BreezeFor the record, I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. (Although, that would have been nice.) I just wanted to share with you how very much of a difference this mattress has made for me and that I regret not buying it sooner. If you’re considering a new mattress (or other furniture), I highly recommend visiting Sleepy Hollow Furniture at 900 Louisville Avenue in Monroe. Their showroom is great and they’ll let you try different options for hours (speaking from experience). As a matter of a fact, I’d suggest asking for my friend, Benay. She’s the absolutely sweetest and knows her stuff! (She’s also not one of those crazy salesperson types which we all hate.) Y’all know that I always encourage shopping local when you can, and this would be my top suggestion for furniture after just going through the process myself.

If you’re interested in reading about other grown up purchases that Matthew and I have made, check out the post about buying a car and of course all of the posts about our first house. Guess I’ll go shop around for some 401k packages and car insurance…

Salt & Pepper – New Ownership!

Salt & PepperAs most of you know, I opened Salt & Pepper Accessory Boutique with my sister in 2009. Almost 4 years later we sold the business to our wonderful friend, Jessica Pollard. Both Sherri and I wanted to pursue other things, (I am LOVING new real estate career by the way.) and we knew Jessica could take the reigns and make magic happen with the business. Since taking over, Jessica has added her own spin to our little shop, and it’s been so fun to watch it evolve. I thought I’d take a minute to formally introduce Jessica to my readers and friends.

Pamela: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview for my readers. Tell us a little about yourself.
Jessica: I am originally from Oak Grove, Louisiana and this is my second retail store to own. I have a degree in fashion merchandising and have worked in retail for 19 years…it’s in my blood! I love being able to be creative with the business and styling customers based on their individual personalities.

Pamela: Nineteen years is a long time. What makes you love the fashion/retail industry?
Jessica: Fashion is ever changing…from styles and seasons to colors…there’s always something new to explore. Plus, getting to interact with customers is very exciting.

Pamela: What sorts of products have you added to S&P?
Jessica: I’ve added more clothing options, new boots, sandals, and the well-loved Minnetonka Moccasins. I’ve also expanded our collections of customer favorites like Lenny & Eva and Natural Life.
Pamela: (You all MUST go see the new Lenny & Eva products…they’re my favorite!!)

Pamela: What have you done to make the store your own?
Jessica: I have taken the clothing options in a different direction, offering a different style than the store had before. I’ve also added local art from our area.

Pamela: What do you feel sets S&P apart from other similar businesses?
Jessica: We take great pride in our customer service…you just don’t find that everywhere. Plus, our merchandise is so versatile that it fits any age group.

Pamela: What have been your biggest challenges from owning your own business again?
Jessica: It’s always tough to find unique products that aren’t offered just anywhere, and that’s something I’ll always be pursuing. Staffing is sometimes a battle because it’s important to find employees that work hard and represent your business well. On top of that, I’d saying finding the balance between a work like and a personal life is something I’m continually working on.

Pamela: As we wrap up, please tell us what your favorite trend is for the Spring 2014 season.
Jessica: The boho trend is my favorite! I love boots with dresses because it’s funky and fun. Plus, I’m in love with fringe!

Salt & PepperThank you, Jessica, for the interview!  Make sure to stop by the store on Antique Alley soon and show her some love! You can also follow Salt & Pepper on facebook and Instagram. She’ll ship items nationwide, so be sure to snag some of your favorites! We want you all to welcome and support Jessica just the way you did us. We truly appreciate the love you’ve shown her the last 8 months, and we hope you’ll keep it up!

Salt & PepperAs for me, I truly loved getting to know you all and have missed seeing your faces regularly. Please add me on Facebook (Pamela Bryant Petrus) so I can keep in contact with you. (You can also follow me on Instagram or twitter.) Furthermore, if you know of anyone hoping to buy or sell a house, please call me! My contact info is on my real estate page.

Salt & PepperBefore we wrap up, there are two more things to talk about.

  • First, Jessica is hosting a FASHION EVENT this Saturday, March 15 at the store (400 Trenton Street, West Monroe). The fashion show starts at 7:00 pm and there will be food and lots of fun. I will be there cheering Jessica on and I really, really hope I’ll get to see lots of familiar faces there. Please join me in supporting Jessica’s first event at the store!
  • Second, Jessica and I are teaming up to offer my FIRST EVER giveaway on the blog! You can enter to win a $25 gift certificate to Salt & Pepper just by heading over to the S&P Instagram (@saltandpepperboutique). Take a look around and then come back here and comment with your favorite item. (Be sure to click “follow” because you don’t want to miss seeing the spring arrivals.) Leave a comment here and a random winner will be chosen on Friday, March 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm!

Thank you again for stopping by! Don’t forget the show on Saturday, and be sure to comment for a chance to win! Much love – Pamela