New Orleans really is an island, and approaching it from any direction, you must cross water, or at least swamps, so from Ponchatoula south to LaPlace, I-55 is strictly bridges, threaded between Lake Maurepas to the west and the much larger Lake Pontchartrain to the east. The area is beautiful, but very remote, with only one community to speak of, a place called Manchac, named for the Choctaw Indian word that means a pass, because the town is on the pass between the two lakes. Manchac consists of a church, a sheriff’s substation, a couple of fishing camps, a waterfront bar accessible only by boat, about 50 or so houses, and a world-famous restaurant called Middendorf’s.
Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant has been around since 1934, and the name of the game there is catfish. They have many other options, and they offer both thick and thin catfish, but it is the unique, paper-thin fried catfish which has made Middendorf’s famous, and justifiably so. It is light, flaky and delicious, without even a trace of greasiness, accompanied by equally-good french fries. There is a full bar as well, and an outdoor deck and bar that is quite popular in good weather, since it has a beautiful view of Pass Manchac.
Unfortunately, at one time the future of Middendorf’s was in doubt. The historic restaurant has been buffeted by fires and floods, including a particularly destructive flood caused by Hurricane Ike, but the owners have rebuilt from each setback, and remain a favorite with people around Lake Pontchartrain as well as tourists on their way to or from the Big Easy. Middendorf’s is open for lunch and dinner on Wednesday through Sunday.
Middendorf’s Seafood Restaurant
30160 Hwy 51 S Manchac
Akers, LA 70421