The Advocate Blog Network

Search
Banner image

Bracing for the Storm: Zippy’s Preseason

Zippy’s manager Neal McRoberts — called “McNeal” to differentiate him from his boss and Zippy’s owner Neal Hendrick — knows exactly what is coming.

McNeal rolled his eyes and smiled when I mentioned we are only a couple weeks from the beginning of LSU football. He knows Tiger mania is returning and he is living in the calm before the proverbial storm. But Zippy’s is ready.

Why?

One glance at it lets you know that Zippy’s is not your typical college sports bar, and it’s certainly not your typical burrito joint.

Zippy’s sign has been lighting up Perkins with its enticing drink specials for more than ten years.

“It’s been an interesting 13 years,” McNeal said. “It’s a good mix of people. We have regulars that are here every day.”

Zippy’s showcases nine TVs inside and seven outside. McNeal boasted, “We have the SEC Season Pass. We’ll actually be open for the first time on Thanksgiving because of the LSU-Texas A&M game.”

But Zippy’s has weathered more than just football seasons – it is also resilient to real storms.

A small framed picture sits in the back corner of the dining room; it’s the Zippy’s road sign with the words “OF COURSE WE ARE OPEN” beneath it. It is dated the day Hurricane Katrina ravaged southern Louisiana.

“We opened for Gustav, we opened for Isaac. Zippy’s is gas operated. So we are always open. That’s the joke,” smirks the young manager.

When asked if the place closed during the ice storm, McNeal smiled. “We certainly did not,” he laughed. “We put out the word ‘don’t kill yourself [getting here],’ but operations continued.”

McNeal knows why people keep coming back.

“Our owner is deeply interested in the history of the place.”

Before it opened as a restaurant, it was a gas station and before that an auto garage and pictures of both are on display. McRoberts said he “loves the fact… we are kind of the big dog on the block right now.”

This restaurant has deep roots in the Garden District and the surrounding Baton Rouge community. McNeal let me know early on that he grew up in the Garden District and that other Zippy’s employees live there.

“Every manager has either been to LSU or is attending… so we’ll bring out some shots during some of the crucial parts of the games,” McNeal said. “We have a really strong LSU presence.

It’s funny when we have some random [employee that attended] Ole’ Miss that asks, ‘Can I wear an Ole’ Miss jersey?’ ‘If you want to…”

No restaurant would stay in business for more than a decade without great food, and Zippy’s is home to some. The menu has evolved over the years. Explains McNeal, “We have added green salsa, brown rice, changed the way we cooked the pork… we are always open to ideas that our customers bring us. We don’t have much of a media presence. That makes us care about a lot our feedback. You’re in our house right now. We want you to have a good time.”

Operations will ramp up soon. Food preparation steps up 50 to 100 percent during Tiger football season.

“It’s only a 20 minute walk [from Zippy’s] to the Parade Grounds,” explains McNeal. “Needless to say, with drink specials, Saturdays mean a packed house. Our employees do not move from the line after games.”

Zippy’s will make it through the next few crazy months – it has good roots.

Like Zippy’s on Facebook and check them out on foursquare.

What is an LSU Superfan?

Our sportwriters cover the X’s and O’s of LSU football better than anyone. But when it comes to the Tiger fan experience, where do you go for the latest on food, fashion, tail-gating, interesting characters and more?

LSUBloggers038.jpgThe Advocate’s new LSU Superfan blog, created in partnership with the Baton Rouge Social Media Association, covers everything purple and gold. Our bloggers are hitting the campus, the shops, the food establishments and the hot spots to bring you all of the LSU-themed coverage you want. And we’ll be sharing great Advocate features on the people and places that make being a Tiger fan so special.

Go to blogs.theadvocate.com/LSUSuperfan and follow The Advocate and our bloggers on social media (#LSUSuperfan).

Our LSU Superfans:

  • Chris Ambrose
  • Lauren Brown
  • Emily Mastrantonio
  • Ellen McDowell
  • Rebekah Johnson
  • Christina Stephens
  • Savannah Urban

Elvis Has Not Left The Building

In the Fall of 2011 a King was born. At the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, a day that will live in infamy, he made his grand appearance.

LSU Elvis superdome BCS

LSU Elvis was created from a fan’s love of Elvis Aaron Presley and the LSU Tigers; one, the King of Rock N’ Roll, the other, King of the SEC.

His LSU Graceland is at the PGA Tailgate.  Between the LSU Indian Mounds and Broussard Hall on Dalrymple Drive, you’ll find a man with a bedazzled white jumpsuit and bouffant hair.  It’s hard to miss.

“It’s on the LSU team bus route as they enter the stadium,” said Elvis. “Coach Les Miles usually gives me thumbs up and a smile.  I have been unsuccessful in getting any type of reaction out of Defensive Coordinator John Chavis on the second bus.  Secretly I know he is an LSU Elvis fan.”

LSu Elvis and Mike the Tiger

Unfortunately, there are no fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches but the tailgate does cook an entire hog for the Arkansas game.

LSU Elvis at Triumph Kitchen downtown Baton Rouge

When he does venture from his home, he’s easy to spot.  “Usually you will hear me in the area with the screaming of beautiful women yelling, ‘Elvis! Elvis!’  Acadian Ambulance is usually not far behind in case a lucky lady who gets a scarf or a kiss passes out,” said the King.

LSU Elvis and Erin Andrews

LSU Elvis and the LSU Golden Girls

Is it hot in that suit? “Uh huh! I try to make every game, but the heat in early Louisiana fall is tough. Sometimes I’m called out for other appearances.”

“My suit is based off Elvis’ 1974 Mad Tiger suit.  It was brown and orange, which looked like the Auburn Tigers, so the change had to made,” crooned Elvis. “My suit is the only one in purple and gold and made by Gene Doucette, who helped make Elvis’ original suits.”

LSU Elvis Alabama game ESPN the magazine

Drop by Graceland on your way to Tiger Stadium.  You’re bound to get a “Looking Good, Mama!”

If fans would like to reach LSU Elvis, his fan club information is below.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lsu.elvis
Twitter: @TheLSUElvis
Instagram: @theLSUElvis
Email: thelsuelvis@gmail.com

LSU grounds keeper has one cool job

From The Advocate files: Oct. 28, 2013

If Eric Fasbender is doing his job, fans will never notice. Yet thousands of LSU Tiger fans admire his handiwork every Saturday at Tiger Stadium.TigerEye.102613.jpg

Fasbender is assistant director of Athletic Facilities and Grounds at LSU and a certified sports field manager. His department makes certain all Tiger athletic fields are pristine, from tending to the grass to paintinthe field at Death Valley.

This includes painting the iconic Tiger Eye, which Fasbender says is “one of the coolest midfield logos in sports.” It’s a job he handles personally.

See the story here.