When Frank Wilson’s parents retired to Louisiana 25 years ago, the businessman fell for a native of the state — his now-wife Robin — and for the local cuisine. “I’d never had food like that before,” he recalls.
So last winter, when the couple — owners of Stowe’s Ten Acres Lodge — were looking for a concept for their inn’s restaurant, they came up with the idea of offering Cajun and Creole fare. Last week the Wilsons opened Lagniappe, named for the Louisiana-French term for little extras that are thrown in with purchases — think the 13th cookie in a baker’s dozen.
Robin Wilson developed the menu with well-known Stowe chef Gary Jacobson, who is running the kitchen. The fare, served Wednesday through Saturday evenings, includes étouffée, jambalaya and a “gumbeaux” of the day. There’s also fried catfish, spice-rubbed pork chops and shrimp boiled in a “special mixture of seasonings that you’d find in Louisiana,” Frank Wilson says. “It’s just like you were eating on Royal Street in the French Quarter.”
While the couple had some concerns about whether local diners would eat up the unusual fare, Wilson notes that the reception has been positive. Just in case, though, Lagniappe offers steak and a couple of other more traditional items.
“I think a lot of people have the misconception that Cajun food is over-the-top spicy,” Wilson says. “By and large, it’s not — but it is full of flavor.”