The Baton Rouge food scene is rapidly growing and Erin Bowling’s covering it every step of the way, on her Instagram account. From new restaurants like Rocca Pizzeria to staples like Rama Restaurant, Bowling wants to show locals what all Baton Rouge has to offer and get people to step out of their comfort food zones. Her Instagram photos will make your mouth water, give her a follow @eatbatonrouge to keep up!
What made you want to start the @eatbatonrouge Instagram account?
I really enjoy trying new dishes and restaurants, so people were already asking me where they should go in town and what they should try. One day, I overheard someone say there was no good food in Baton Rouge, and it really upset me because I knew it wasn’t true—they just didn’t know where to go. So I started
@eatbatonrouge to tell anyone who might be interested that there is great food in Baton Rouge.
How has your life changed around the food you eat or the places you go?
I think by nature, we all resort back to the same few restaurants, but @eatbatonrouge forces me to plan ahead and seek out new places. I also used to eat mostly vegetarian, but now I eat whatever the restaurant I’m at does best. If you asked my friends and family this, they would say they the biggest change is that they have to share their food now and wait for it to be photographed. They’ve been good sports—thanks guys!
Since starting @EatBatonRouge, are there things about the food scene you learned that you didn’t know before?
I quickly learned there are a lot of great food writers out there in Baton Rouge. There are also a lot of people who are interested in trying new places and supporting local restaurants. I’m no expert, but I have learned that we have some legislation that makes it tough for restaurants and breweries to get started.
Do you think there are elements to the Baton Rouge food scene that are missing? Is there anyone in Baton Rouge you feel is trying to change that?
We need a dozen more restaurants to cater to vegetarian and other diets, but still create really interesting food. Cocha is doing a great job at this. We had always lacked real Neapolitan-style pizza. Rocca came to the rescue this year, and Dat’z will as well. As a whole, we have a lot of good options for trying the food of other cultures, but I think UMAMI and Rama do a good job of giving you the classics of their cuisine, but also some more adventurous options. I hope for more of that.
We are sandwiched between Creole New Orleans and Cajun Lafayette. While we can’t surpass the rich history of those cities and their food, I think we could do a better job at our roots. We need a casual spot in every neighborhood selling poboys, boudin, gumbo and maw maw’s secret recipes.
What are some places opening up in Baton Rouge that you are most looking forward to in 2018?
The vendors coming with White Star Market are very exciting. We’ll get raman, bao, wood-fired pizza, innovative tacos, Creole fare and a new coffee shop—all things I think Baton Rouge could use more of.
What are some of your favorite food places in Baton Rouge right now? What would you recommend getting there?
BRQ is doing a great job of catering to the pickiest of eaters, and also the more adventurous ones at the same time. Kalurah Street is killing it with their deserts. They change often, but the first one I had was their was a grapefruit tart and I almost cried. Some of my favorite Baton Rouge staples are Tofu Pad Thai and Panang Shrimp at Rama, a Muffaletta Poboy from Anthony’s Deli, Eggplant Parmesan from Pinettas, and a vegetarian platter from Serop’s or Albasha.
What do you see for the future of the Baton Rouge food scene? How do you think it will grow over the next couple of years?
I see more rotating seasonal menus, and more menus that cater to lots of dietary restrictions. I see more affordable, casual dining options that still make great food like Overpass Merchant. I hope that we begin knowing chefs by their names and not just their restaurants. I hope that it gives them the built-in recognition that they need to experiment, expand and introduce new concepts.
Do you have any advice for other foodies that want to start their own Instagram account?
Do it—there’s nothing to lose! It’s fun, and it makes you push your boundaries.
Photos by Kristine Stone @ Rocca Pizzeria