“The Inn" was first opened on April 5, 1947 by two brothers, Alcide and Marc Judice. After serving in different branches of the service during WWII, Al and Marc physically built the original building themselves (with the help of many of their family members) under the light of flashlights after their primary day jobs were complete. With the help and support of their wives (Pearl Cormier Judice and Gladys Bourque Judice), the brothers opened the business on a shoestring budget and long hours. Their commitment to product quality and personalized customer service exemplified the brothers’ pride in their business. The word of the "best hamburgers in town" quickly spread throughout Acadiana and though the business originally was considered far outside the city limits, the restaurant was soon frequented by businessmen, laborers and SLI (now UL Lafayette) students who thought the drive was well worth the trip.
The primary product is a hamburger with a unique recipe seasoned to the tastes of South Louisianans which utilizes a "secret sauce" to enhance the flavor. The recipe is complimented by the fresh ingredients which are prepared each morning. Although the menu is brief and rather simple, the restaurant has maintained the integrity of its founders by serving the best product possible and concentrating on customer service.
The restaurant has always been a family run business. In the early days, several of Marc and Al's brothers and sisters from their family of 17 helped in their endeavors. Later in the life of the business, Marc and Al’s children (7 and 6 respectively) supplied a large portion of the workforce. Typical starting age was about 7 years old and "waiter" status was 12 years old. Even after the children started their own careers, they often dropped by to lend a helping hand and visit with old friends and customers. It is still not unusual to be waited on by a lawyer, doctor, banker, engineer, accountant, teacher, nurse or business administrator during a busy period of the lunch hour or evening.
Many past employees outside the family still feel the impulse to jump in and help out during busy hours. It is often said "Once an employee of Judice Inn, always an employee of Judice Inn"!
The restaurant is now operated by Gerald Judice, the youngest of Marc's sons. Gerald continues to bring the same pride and commitment to excellence which was started by his father and uncle. Many of the nephews and grandchildren of Marc and Al formed the workforce of the Inn. Typically UL Lafayette students help to maintain the atmosphere of this "family oriented" business. The clientele of Judice Inn is, and has always been, as a diverse a group as you will see in any establishment. Through the years different generations have embraced the Inn as their favorite hangout. Most regulars are familiar with the "Booth 2" gang which has frequented the business for over 40 years. This group alone consisting of university professors, bank officers, lawyers, oilfield employees, carpenters, landmen, insurance professionals, business professionals, politicians and others is an example of the different sectors which converge at Judice Inn to discuss local and world events. (Many of the families of these individuals have donated plaques to be hung over their booth in memory of the times shared at the Inn). Marc and Al's children were exposed to the diverse perspective of these individuals whom they regard as uncles and all treasure this unique exposure that few have a chance to experience.
Although Marc and Al never realized large financial gains from their efforts, their hard work and total dedication to their families, their business and their community has resulted in the richest rewards that anyone could desire:
1) Thirteen children who are extremely grateful for the college educations which their parents provided as well as the work ethic which was installed by their parents example.
2) The respect and gratitude of a large following who have witnessed the hard work and generosity of the two founders.
3) Generations who will enjoy the same "hangout" that their fathers and grandfathers once enjoyed.