Cotten's Famous Hamburgers
2001 Oak Park Blvd.
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Hours of Operation:
Date visited: Several times in the past few months
Type of eatery: Home cooked American/southern food
Dish I ordered: Bacon Cheeseburger meal (choice of onion rings or fries and a medium drink)
What I got: Cotten's burgers are cooked fresh when ordered. I always eat my burgers plain and these are great. The burgers are good and the bacon is “real” bacon. It is piled across the whole burger rather than bacon crumbles or two to three little pieces of bacon across the burger. I always order the onion rings which are usually more like “onion shreds.” They are a bit greasy, but they are delicious. I don't like onions and I eat these onion rings. Of course, I got a soft drink as well.
Price paid: $3.29 plus tax for one meal.
Cotten's has been a staple in Lake Charles, LA. I don't know how long it's been there and I could probably just ask for history, but I've never done that because it never comes to mind. I know that it has been around since before 1987. Everything is home cooked, as far as I know (though I'm not a fan of the fries – I think they taste pretty much like the frozen ones).
The burgers are delicious and are made when they are ordered. Cotten's is always busy at lunch and dinner time, but people never mind the wait, as it's not really that long and the food is worth it.
The burgers are made with real beef. A burger is $1.00 plus tax. If you want bacon, cheese, grilled onions (Old-Fashioned), or even fried egg, each will cost you an extra 20 cents. They will make your burger the exact way that you order it. I always like my burgers plain, but from family, friends, and acquaintances, I hear that they make the best burgers in town – if anywhere. I'm told they put “just the right amount” of anything on it, and if you ask for extra dressing or veggies, you definitely get extra. The onion rings are made from the sweetest vidalia onions. The onions are sliced into super thin rings, then coated in batter (which you can sometimes see them doing this if you are at the drive-through or in the restaurant, and it looks like a person is tossing dry spaghetti noodles). Then they are fried. They are so thin that most of them become “onion shreds” rather than onion rings. If you even think you've had anything close to these, you're still in error. The building is pink and takes you back in time when you encounter it. The inside is also decorated appropriately for the decor.
My sister always likes to have the chicken basket or the fried catfish. Sometimes my mother like the fried egg sandwich. They also have a hamburger steak dinner platter and shrimp basket. The most expensive thing on the menu is the large shrimp basket (12 shrimp) at $6.99 plus tax.
I don't know what significance this has, but I've read that it's rumored, the owner, Kenny Cotten (yes, Cotten's is locally owned and operated) once worked for Colonial Inn and that he used the recipes he learned there to start Cotten's. No matter what, it's no wonder that Cotten's is "The King of the Grill."
Don't look for any trash cans around the place, as you won't find them. The waitresses take care of cleaning the trash. However, you get your food by picking up the tray when your name is called. If a black woman is there as a waitress, that's Florence, and she's very sweet and knows the regulars that come to eat. The one way to “irritate” her is to make sure you clean up your trash into a little pile when the place isn't that busy. My mom and I always have to do this.
The only one thing I don't like is that smoking is allowed in one section and it's not cut off from the rest of the section. However, it's really not a big deal. If I want to dine in and people are smoking, I make sure I just sit completely on the other side of the restaurant.
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
The BEST burgers you can find in the Lake Charles area. They've even been voted by Lake Charles residents as having the best burger in the Lagniappe's (a local publication) “the best” contest, which is held yearly. If you ever find yourself in or passing through Lake Charles, LA, do yourself a favor and make at least one stop for a hamburger and onion rings at Cotten's. (There are plenty of other great southern and great cajun restaurants around if you're going to be around for awhile.)
Would I eat there again: I WILL eat there again. It's my favorite burger place, ever. If I have a choice and time for a burger, I'm going to Cotten's.