ON THE MENU — Larry’s French Market talks community favorites & possible return of the buffet

Published 12:30 am Sunday, January 9, 2022

GROVES — After nearly two years of reduced operating power, Larry’s French Market is looking to ease back in to some form of normalcy.

The pandemic has taken a toll on the Mid County favorite, but patrons could see a welcome return next month, according to General Manager Stewart Gordon.

“We used to have a full buffet and live music,” he said. “(Coronavirus) changed that. We are only open form 11 (a.m.) – 2 (p.m.) daily. We are looking to reopen in February with crawfish and some form of all-you-can-eat. We haven’t quite determined how that will work.”

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Larry’s French Market, which opened in 1994, is located 3701 Pure Atlantic Road.

“We are, kind of, a refinery restaurant,” he said. “We have a lot of workers that come in. We serve fresh, home-style food. Everything is cooked fresh daily. We offer fried shrimp, fish, meatballs to baked chicken. We still have gumbos and stuff like that. We cook fresh vegetables.”

Part of the reduced hours is a product of the ongoing workforce crisis that plagues the country.

“It used to take 50 people to run this place and right now, I have 10,” Gordon said. “I don’t want to disappointment.”

The GM said the return of the buffet would probably not look like a typical buffet due to the pandemic.

“I just don’t know how an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet is going to play,” he said. “(The virus) is out there again. If we do anything, it will be a serve-type, like a platter-type. We just quite haven’t figured out the logistics yet. It is something we want to do.”

Groves City Manager D.E. Sosa said the restaurant is an anchor in the city.

“It started off as a grocery store,” he said. “It serviced that area across the highway. The refinery bought up most of that neighborhood. Somewhere in that time, Larry did a little bit of cooking and then turned it into a full restaurant… They are known near and far. I know they have been sold, but it is still his grandmother’s recipes. That is an icon for the city of Groves.”

Larry’s French Market doesn’t vary much from its menu and for good reason; the eatery has become a mainstay in the community by providing service that people look for.

“Our fish and shrimp are always good,” Gordon said. “It is an excellent recipe. We do everything good. Yesterday, we did smothered chicken. I love smothered chicken. Today, I did crawfish cornbread. It is a house recipe. It sells really well. Everything is good. It is not one particular dish. It is all taste. Everything is homemade. We stand back there and make it all.”

While the restaurant has the capacity to seat 500 people, Gordon said the location is using a third of the seating but hopes expanded operations get the place closer to normal.

“We are now selling cracklins,” he said. “That has been a big seller. We usually sell out every day. People can call and order some. We sell frozen shrimp, fish and gumbos. You can buy that stuff daily. We can do large orders. I have crawfish trailer sitting across the street and I can do catering. Whatever people want, all people can do is call and ask.”

The location can also host large parties, Gordon said.

Call 409-962-3381 for more information.