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Perhaps more so than lunchtime traffic, finding a midday meal that won’t sit in your belly like a bowling ball is a nearly insurmountable challenge. Let’s face it, you drive out of any parking lot in Acadiana and run smack into a gauntlet of burger temptations, mocking your dietary discipline. On the other hand, traditional lean options like salad bars and smoothie stands don’t really give the umami many of us require to call a meal a meal. Well grab a seat at the bar, folks; The Kitchenary’s on-site lunch counter gives a first-hand view of your deliciously wholesome meal, prepared in an fully stocked test kitchen with the day’s latest supply of local produce.

Executive Chef Michelle Youngberg and her team have turned the granite horseshoe viewing bar (what was originally a demo kitchen) into a platform for delivering first-rate healthy food. Don’t be scared by the term, as these are legitimately tasty meals, complete with flavorful twists and turns. Daily offerings change to meet the availability of local produce, spinning a record of lunchtime hits like curry chicken salad on a fresh bed of greens, chicken fajitas with a smoky corn relish, sour cream, and a dollop of au naturale guacamole or the pan-seared flounder they’ll be serving during Eat Lafayette.

PRO TIP: I don’t care how stuffed you are (and you will be stuffed) don’t pass on the lagniappe daily dessert, especially if it’s the chocolate and cream cheese icing bundt from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Take it to go if you have to.

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