Monday, June 20, 2016

Bechac's Restaurant

Bechac's Restaurant was a legendary eating establishment at 2025 Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, right on the lakefront. It opened for business way back in 1885. In 1974 the Louisiana Tourist Commission sent a photographer and writer to the business to take pictures and get information about it. Here is what they printed. Click on the images below to view a larger version. 



In 1926 the restaurant hosted a group of officials from Biloxi, MS, in town to discuss the designation of "The Riviera Route," a road between Baton Rouge and Biloxi. Here's the article. Click on it to increase the size of the print.



Originally, the building looked like this, back when it was a casino in the 19th century.


In 1885, it was Paul Arcenaux's Casino Restaurant. 


Here is a photograph of the interior of Bechac's early in its history. 






An ad from the 1946 Mandeville telephone directory

Back in the 1970's, here is what the restaurant looked like.







Bechac's Restaurant closed in 1993.



 Today the building is occupied by The Lake House.  Here is what the building looks like today.


Tom Fitzmorris, the restaurant critic for the Times Picayune/Nola.com, wrote a great article in 2011, recalling Bechac's, its food and its setting. In part, he said, "In 1847, a two-story Greek revival plantation home went up on the Mandeville lakefront, on Lot #1 in Marigny’s 1834 town plan. In 1885, the prominent Bechac family opened a restaurant in the building. 

"For most of its history, Bechac’s served the New Orleans escapees with food a lot like what could be found in the restaurants at home. It was less formal and had a simpler menu, dominated by seafood pulled out of the lake across the street."



According to a recent article on NOLA.com, the Bechac's house was built by Bernard de Marigny in 1834 for use as a lakefront retreat. It became known as Bechac's beginning in  1912, when the Bechac family took over and continued its operation for five generations.

The bar featured a mahogany top and cinderblock base. Walker Percy and his friends were among their regular customers.