Don't Leave Natchitoches, Louisiana, Without Trying a Lasyone's Meat Pie

One of the state foods of Louisiana you must make a pit-stop for.

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant in Natchitoches, LA
Photo: Meg McKinney

Natchitoches (pronounced nack-a-tish) was the original French colony in Louisiana and the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. Established in 1714, the town is steeped in history with plenty to see and do, but to hear some people tell it, visitors simply cannot come and go without trying a savory meat pie. And not just any old meat pie, but one from Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant, located downtown on Second Street. Family owned and operated since 1967, the Lasyones describe their restaurant as an authentic, soulful Creole cuisine experience.

A Natchitoches meat pie is one of the official state foods of Louisiana. It's a deep-fried turnover, similar to a large empanada, what some call a hand pie. At Lasyone's, each pie is scratch made, and they make 400 to 1000 a day. They start by slow-cooking their well-seasoned ground meat mixture (80% beef and 20% pork) and letting it cool overnight. When it's time to assemble the pies, they cut out rounds of thinly rolled pastry dough and top each one with a scoop of filling. The rounds are folded over into a half-moon and crimped closed with fork tines. The pies are then fried until the crust is golden brown, crisp, and lightly blistered. One of these meat pies is large enough to fill the palm of a hand, but that's not why they're called hand pies. It's because they're meant to be picked up and eaten out of hand rather than from a plate with a knife and fork.

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant in Natchitoches, LA
Meg McKinney

Founder James Lasyone started out as a Natchitoches grocery store butcher who understood how local cooks wanted the meat ground for their homemade Cajun meat pies. He started working on his own recipe in the 1950s and opened Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen in 1967. Thanks to word of mouth from satisfied local customers, the business took off. As word spread, visitors started coming from all over, which led to write ups in the national press and spots on travel shows. Now guests flock to Natchitoches in search of meat pies, sometimes by the tour bus load.

James's daughters, Angela Lasyone and Tina Lasyone Smith, now run the family business and are still making classic Cajun meat pies just like their dad did. They've added crawfish pies and other combos to the menu, but the original meat pies remain the most famous and popular item. It would be foolish to go to Natchitoches, the place that put meat pies on the map, and not try at least one from Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen.

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