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D&D GROWS OVER TIME WITH FAMILY FIRST MENTALITY

For more than 50 years, a small, family-owned drive-in in Larose has been serving up delicious food and memories of older, more relaxed times to the people of south Lafourche Parish — now three generations running.

D&D Drive In will turn 55 this year with its first days dating back to the business’s beginning in the summer of 1964.

The local eatery is owned by husband and wife David and Darlene Ledet. Together, they work with daughter Erin Ledet and her husband Adam Doucet — the next in line to run the business — a three-generation company lineage.

The family said a combination of good food, hard work and that unique, down-home, old-school feel are what’s allowed the drive-in to succeed and withstand the test of time in the ever-changing world of restaurants.

D&D has a lot of call-in and pick-up business, though there is a dining room available at the restaurant. The menu offers a full allotment of typical drive-in cuisine — all made to with fresh ingredients and fair pricing. A favorite for many locals is also D&D’s full menu of delicious desserts — ice cream cones, shakes, malts and other treats that have been appeasing the taste buds of locals for more than a half-century.

“I think we’re unique to this location,” David Ledet said. “We’ve had people stop by just to take pictures of the restaurant.”

“I love when people from the older generations bring their grandchildren or great-grandchildren in just to talk about old times,” Adam Doucet said. “They always mention how many hot dogs you could buy with a dollar and how they’d walk over from their houses to buy an ice cream cone. Kids don’t do that anymore and I think that’s why we like to maintain our drive-in style so that the memories last.”

D&D has had a few name changes and expansions along the way.

The business started as R&R Drive in 1964 — the product of Roland and Ruth Ledet.

It later became H&R Drive-In when Roland went into business with his brother-in-law, Harry Hebert.

Roland’s two sons, David and Darrel Ledet then owned the restaurant, dubbing it Double D Drive-In.

Now, David and Darlene Ledet operate the restaurant while grooming Erin and Adam for the future. They also adopted the current name — D&D Drive-In.

Since the time of opening, D&D has expanded its building, though operating out of the same central location at 12410 La. Highway 1 in Larose at the southern foot of the Larose Intracoastal Bridge. The early days didn’t feature the dining room, operating just out of a small kitchen.

But while things may have changed around ownership of the restaurant over time, the principles of D&D have never changed over time.

Adam said D&D makes its own hamburgers — never using frozen or artificial patties. The chili served is from the same recipe from the restaurant’s beginning — the same recipe that’s fed grandparents, their children and now their grandchildren over the years.

“It’s a place full of memories,” he said.

David said running the business has become a way of life for he and his family, adding that they take great pride in providing the community with the food they’ve come to enjoy over the years.

“Something that I think sets us apart from other places is that the owners are in the business every day,” David said. “We know the restaurant can’t run itself. A lot of people who aren’t familiar with restaurant management think the day begins when the open sign turns on and it ends when the sign goes off. But for us, it’s our life — every day. And it’s been my whole life.”

But for as laid back and old-fashioned as D&D may be, they are also aware that it’s now 2019 and the world is changing fast. And they’re here to adapt and evolve with the times.

The restaurant has become highly active on social media with more than 2,000 followers on Facebook and also a presence on Instagram, as well.

Erin Ledet said they use social media to engage with customers and seek their input on what items are a winner, what can be changed and how to be better overall as a restaurant — now and into the future.

“Everyone’s on Facebook — young and old — and with us being active on social media platforms, it allows us to reach our audience in a different way,” she said. “We’re now able to monitor things like what people want to see on the menu, what changes we should make and ways to improve overall in the future. We’re now able to form relationships with our customers — even when they’re not at the window.”

That combination of merging the business’ family-like principles with also the new way of interacting with the public in a modern world are why D&D believes that even after all these years, they’re able to stay around and give the public what they want from a family restaurant.

“2019 makes 55 years we’re in business and we’re excited for that and for the future of D&D Drive-In,” Darlene Ledet said. “I’m excited to see where Erin and Adam take it in the future.”

BY CASEY GISCLAIR

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