A Baton Rouge native is working on creating local food tours like those found in Nashville, Austin and Chicago because even those of us who’ve spent our whole lives in the Red Stick might be surprised how much there is to learn and experience downtown.
Enjoy Baton Rouge owner John Kelton started his food tours in May after a trip to Lafayette. While there, he went on an excursion with Cajun Food Tours, and the experience left an impression. Kelton has been leading walking tours of downtown Baton Rouge for the last three years and decided to incorporate some old favorites and newer hot-spot restaurants to the stroll to expose locals and visitors alike to the city’s history and food culture simultaneously.
“My mission is to connect people with Baton Rouge’s past, present and future,” Kelton says.
Since he started in the spring, Kelton has led two food tours, and he’s hoping to organize another one in August. The groups are six people minimum and 12 people maximum. He schedules the tours by appointment through his website. Kelton hopes to start leading a tour each month, and eventually, multiple tours a week.
On the day of the tour, guests meet Kelton in the lobby of the Shaw Center for the Arts. From there, he walks them from restaurant to restaurant downtown while he recites his extensive knowledge about Baton Rouge’s rich history. Kelton and guests will visit about five restaurants per tour, and the restaurants visited vary. The tour group spends about 25 minutes at each stop, tasting one or two dishes the restaurant wishes to highlight.
Among the potential stops are Stroube’s Seafood and Steaks, Capital City Grill, Cocha, Cecilia Creole Bistro, Poor Boy Lloyd’s and more. Kelton is also hoping to add Spanish Town Market and Blend.
He sees the food tours as building on the neighborhood’s existing culture, food and history. And his ultimate goal is for people not just to come downtown, but to enjoy their experience so much that they want to come back—and bring their friends with them.
“There’s a lot of things to do downtown,” Kelton says. “We can give people a lot more history and depth and explanation.”
Find out more about the tours at enjoybatonrouge.com.