You do want to eat lunch at Guy’s Oyster Bar in downtown Amite, Louisiana.
When you are heading north on I-55 from around Hammond, Louisiana, not long before you reach the Mississippi border, look for the Amite exit. Yes, Guy’s is a bar, and it’s a little dark in there, and there are die-hard patrons perched on the stools who may give you a little glance upon entering. Yes, there is lots of kitschy memorabilia and there are a few politically pointed signs and posters.
The owner’s name is Guy Spitale, and his Sicilian-heritage family has owned bars and eateries in Amite for three generations. For many years, there was a bar and restaurant named Spitale’s across the street from Guy’s, and I hear it was a great place too. Guy used to own it, but sold it to some family members. I hear that he also used to play piano with Hank Williams.
You’re probably going to meet Guy. He’s the older gentleman who brings the napkins and the forks…and there’s a tiny little dog that seems to follow him everywhere. Tiny as a squirrel almost. I tried to get its attention once, but it just looked right through me and walked on back to the kitchen…
I have always had fine service at Guy’s. And they shuck their own oysters. (Amite is a major oyster processing center. Drop by during the Amite Oyster Festival in March.) And the guys at Guy’s know how to cook. I’m going to say it: even though I’ve been to the best po-boy shops in New Orleans–I’ve never had better than I had at Guy’s.
To make a great oyster po-boy you’ve got to have good oysters, you’ve got to know how to fry, you’ve got to have great bread, and this one met all three criteria. The substantial onion rings seemed like homemade, had a nice, salty batter that was not too greasy and held together when you crunched into them.
You really do want to lunch at Guy’s. Just eat quietly, enjoy the food and savor the ambience.
Guy’s Oyster Bar
131 West Oak Street