D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant | Basile, LA
It's Worth the Trip
It was 32 years ago, that Daniel Isaac Fruge opened his business in a location that his son, Cory, fondly refers to as “the middle of nowhere.” As Daniel and his nine siblings exchanged ideas on how to make the endeavor a success, they referred to the dream restaurant as “D.I.’s.” This was because the siblings all called each other by the initials their mother wrote on their respective belongings to keep life organized with 10 kids. The interim name stuck, and the location itself became an unexpected element of success for D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant in Basile, Louisiana.
The fact that D.I.’s Cajun is 13 miles from the Interstate and eight miles from the closest town has made this authentic Cajun hot spot a true destination restaurant for people from all over the U.S. Six years ago D.I.’s received FAA approval to build a 3,000-foot runway to flank their restaurant and now more than 45 aircraft a week are received at D.I.’s, filled with customers willing to make a trek for authentic Cajun culture.
D.I.’s beginnings were humble — the family caught and raised its own crawfish, spirits were strictly BYOB. Two expansions later, the spot includes a bandstand and dance floor.
“Because our customers come from so many places, we have no typical guest,” said son Cory Fruge, who has worked at D.I.’s since he was 13. He says it’s not unusual to see a party of teens in prom attire sitting directly next to a group of men in full hunting gear. “The point,” said Cory, “is that everyone belongs at D.I.’s.”
And, there is a space for all as well. Three different rooms provide customers with a choice of atmosphere as they dine. While music and entertainment create a lively ambience in the dance hall, a second room provides space for a quiet meal and the main dining area overlooks both scenes from above. The main attraction, of course, is always the food.
Some of the favorites that keep customers coming back for more include BBQ Blue Crabs, Crawfish Étouffée, and all sorts of blackened and grilled seafood specialties, including oysters. The secret, Cory explained, is in the seasoning. “It’s delicious without necessarily being hot.” Cory and his dad agreed that fresh ingredients are paramount to success and that every meal is always made to order.
Sadly, Cory’s father passed away this past September, but his mother is still at the heart of the restaurant. Besides family workers, the restaurant relies on its talented and dedicated employee base, most of whom have been with the company for 15 years on average. “Our cook has been with us for 18 years, our receptionist for 30, and most of our waitstaff for 26 to 28 years,” said Cory.
“My dad’s dream lives on in D.I.’s, with our staff and with our customers — who are always willing to make the trip,” he added.