Pine Tree Lodge: Coastal cuisine, colorful culture

Pine Tree Lodge: Coastal cuisine, colorful culture

At Pine Tree Lodge, order the Whole Cat; it comes with a side of culture.

The Miller family has been serving delicious foods, including award winning fried catfish, at their waterfront location since 1984. Rebuilt after Hurricane Ike, Pine Tree Lodge offers Gulf Coast comfort foods in an atmosphere combining Southeast Texas hospitality and Cajun bayou customs.

Actually the catfish, tail and all, comes with two of Pine Tree Lodge’s satisfying sides like a twice-baked potato. This tater is baked, loaded with cheese, sour cream, chives and bacon and then baked again. Before it’s served, it’s topped with more cheese for a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Another favorite side is red beans and rice, spiced the Acadian way. But there’s also green beans, a cup of soup and marinated carrots.

What you don’t eat of your catfish plate – ’cause it is so large – you can feed to the gators that line up outside the patio of Pine Tree Lodge. This “side” of culture doesn’t cost extra.

Most folks feed the hungry gators, fish and even turtles the hush puppies served with most fried platters like the oyster, steak fingers, shrimp and the seafood sampler plates. For the big eater who wants to savor every morsel of what the Gulf and the bayous have to offer, the Seafood Sampler is the perfect choice. It comes loaded with fried delicacies including shrimp, oysters, alligator, crab cakes, catfish and crawfish tails.This family friendly dining destination has small portions mimicking the big platters, so kiddos can relish the flavorful fare including not just seafood but chicken dishes, steaks, salads, soups and gumbos. New on the menu is a fish taco made with catfish, homemade chips and spicy ranch with salsa.

To the preceding entrée items, add pork chops, hamburgers, sandwiches and rib eyes, with gator bites or Texas Toothpicks, fried strips of onions and jalapenos. If you find tart tastes tantalizing, try the fried pickles or spice up your salivary glands with boudain balls or balls of fire, spicy bites of chicken.

Finale favorites include just what you’d expect from a southern comfort menu – apple pie, cobbler and bread pudding.

Large crowds love the lodge not only for its wide selection but also for its casual comfort and Taylor Bayou location. The patio of the lodge, which overlooks the water, is a favorite locale for private parties – Christmas parties, birthday bashes and anniversary celebrations. The patio seats 90 people comfortably and leaves room for dancing and a large buffet. Inside the lodge, 100 people can be seated. The restaurant and patio are ideal for corporate events, and many are hosted out in the woods at 3296 Pine Tree Road in LaBelle between Highway 73 and 365. It’s a Beaumont address but a LaBelle location.

On weekends, Pine Tree Lodge is “port” for bikers and boaters. They come for the food and the entertainment.

The first and third Saturday, Pine Tree Lodge hosts Cool Breeze, a band that plays ’70s and ’80s rock music, and every Sunday, Cajun Zydeco streams down the bayou from the patio of the lodge with bands like Cajun Harmony and the Port Arthur Playboys, among others. Let’s just say the docks rock and so do the gators.

Some just motor up on bikes and boats for wine, beer and appetizers and to listen to the tunes; others launch boats from Pine Tree Lodge, cruise the waterway and come back to eat later.

Pine Tree Lodge is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m – 10 p.m. They are closed on Mondays for private parties and catering.

For more information, call Pine Tree Lodge at (409) 790-1600. To see a complete menu, go to www.pinetreelodge.com or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thepinetreelodge.

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