Have you been craving authentic Louisiana comfort food? Then you need to check out T&J’s Soul Food on Cameron street. From rice dressing to pork steak and everything in between, this restaurant is serving many of your favorites the way grandma used to.

Lilly Howard never saw herself as much of a cook growing up, she had a few recipes she was confident in but nothing to brag on. She comes from a family lineage of great Acadiana chefs and had no idea that one day her name would be included in that list. Lilly and her husband Tommy Keith Howard are the owners of T&J Soul Food and Lilly is the head chef.

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T&J Soul Food in Lafayette, LA. Thursday, April 29, 2022.

T&J Soul Food in Lafayette, LA. Thursday, April 29, 2022.

In 2020, the Howards decided to step out on faith.

“We got offered an opportunity with Accelerate Northside,” Lilly explains.” We got offered the opportunity to go to class and learn because [they] knew I was cooking. And we had the thought process of maybe, later on, going into business. Before the program, we started working at Lafayette High during the concession stands. At first, we did one side and I was cooking for the press box. And the following year they offered us the whole stadium and the press box. And that was fun. So that just kind of like clicked in my head, like, ‘I want to do something I want this’ you know. And after all that was said and done when we during that time we started doing Accelerate Northside. And sitting in class, I was like ‘I really want this!”

T&J Soul Food in Lafayette, LA. Thursday, April 29, 2022.

T&J Soul Food in Lafayette, LA. Thursday, April 29, 2022.

The program, through the University of Louisiana Lafayette, helped spark a fire in Lilly and provided the tools needed for success. She was excited to have a chance to provide for her family and build a legacy. Tommy, along with her son Jalon were a major inspiration for the business and are who the restaurant is named after.

God is the chef

When asked about learning how to cook and developing signature recipes, Lilly gave all the credit to God.

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“I realized that God was giving me the gift,” She says “And it was something special. That’s when everybody else could taste my food. I worked on my rice dressing mix for a long time. I tried everything. In the past, maybe two years is when I understood, this is what I need to know. And I take the whole process. And so my rice dressing is what they say is the best. I’ve heard it too many times. And I’m like,’ Y’all sure?’ Well, God, you get all the glory because it is not me. It is not me at all.”

Some of the most popular items from the kitchen, aside from the rice dressing, include baked chicken, cowboy stew, meatball stew and macaroni and cheese.

Tommy does all the barbeque items for the restaurant and has been barbequing for over 30 years. He says that the most popular grilled items by far are the pork ribs and pork steaks. They are also extending their short order menu to include some dishes they served at the concessions.

They recently moved locations from Carencro to Lafayette and hope to expand the restaurant across the city and state. They are located at 4120 Cameron Street in Lafayette. They offer delivery through Waitr and for menu changes and hours of operation visit www.facebook.com/tjssoulfoodcatering. They also offer catering and event rentals.

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This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: T&J Soul Food in lafayette serving true southern comfort