Image above: Friends Jonathan Linzer (left) and Julius Flugence opened their eatery after winning a local boudin contest—twice./figcaption>
Two lifelong friends with a passion for cooking great food decided to see if others would develop a passion for their food.
Julius Flugence and Jonathan Linzer have been cooking together since college.
“We’d barbecue at Julius’ mom’s house. We only focused on cooking meat. His mom, Carolyn, did the sides. We didn’t think about food as a business,” recalled Jonathan, adding, “Julius is from a family of foodies. I just love cooking.”
When Covid hit, the pair decided to make boudin. “Boudin was a way to get out of the house during the pandemic,” said Jonathan.
At this point, we need to explain boudin. Boudin is a mixture of rice, pork, onions and bell peppers that is highly seasoned and stuffed into sausage casing. It is as ubiquitous in southwest Louisiana as cheese curds are in Wisconsin or pizza in New York.
When the pair won the Boudin Cook-Off and Bacon Festival in 2022, people asked where they could find more. There was no location. When they won the competition in 2023, the pressure was on.
Julius was slow to warm up to starting a business. He works as a project coordinator in oilfields. “Jonathan is the businessman. He pushed me off the cliff. I didn’t leap,” he said.
They found a location in the Food-N-Fun c-store in Broussard, Louisiana. The plan didn’t include being in a gas station. “Jonathan saw the space. He’d come in the morning, noon and afternoon to watch the traffic,” recalled Julius.
We were here day and night making boudin. We didn’t sleep for 48 hours.”
“I saw a lot of traffic. I knew traffic flow would be the key to success,” said Jonathan. The lease was signed in January and Lazy Caveman opened on March 22, 2023.
Originally, despite the pair’s award-winning recipe, boudin was not going to be the star of the show.
“In the beginning we were going to do smoked meats. Lazy Caveman is about drinking bourbon and eating smoked meat. That’s why my mom said we’re like cavemen: We only cook meat, no sides,” said Jonathan.
Carolyn Flugence, Julius’ mom, lends a hand and has helped stretch the menu beyond just meat and boudin.
Carolyn came in to do some cooking. They added a few boudin products and plate lunches, which are popular. The shrimp stew and seafood pasta are popular, too. So is the meatball stew. Ground beef is seasoned with Cajun seasoning and formed into meatballs. The meatballs are browned and cooked in a brown gravy and served over rice.
The sausage is another popular item. It is chicken with spinach, feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
Jonathan said, “We can’t keep it on the shelf. It sells fast. People feel it’s healthy. It’s a Mediterranean sausage. It has cheese in it. Who doesn’t love cheese?”
Still, boudin is the draw. Word got around, and Lazy Caveman began to gather a following.
Then a popular local social influencer named Uncle Luck posted about the boudin.
“The next day, at 9:00 in the morning people started coming. Some drove over an hour,” said Jonathan, adding, “We were producing 800 pounds of boudin during the evening and selling 1,000 pounds during the day.”
“The morning shift was coming in, the night shift was getting off. We were chasing 800 pounds of boudin with another pot of boudin. We didn’t think it would be that big,” said Jonathan.
People came in for two months because of these posts.
“We were here day and night making boudin. We didn’t sleep for 48 hours,” recalled Julius.
There is something different about Lazy Caveman’s boudin.
Julius said, “It’s our process that makes the difference. I do it the way my grandfather did. My seasoning is different. It’s just for boudin.”
He feels the small batch strategy is the key.
“A lot of places do big batches. We do it like bourbon, small batches. There’s a lot of attention to detail. There’s a lot of love in each batch.”
The Scent Strategy
Jonathan had a strategy. If customers at the pump could smell the food, they would come inside.
“Our game plan included cracking the door to the gas station in the morning so customers can smell the bacon cooking.”
The proved unnecessary. The ventilation system was installed in such a way that it sends the smell straight out to the pumps.
“You don’t know who your food will impact. New people come in and say they smelled the food while pumping gas. It looks good. If the taste matches the smell, it’s going to be good. The c-store numbers have increased as well. People come to us and then go to the gas station.
The plan is working. The duo are adding a second location in Duson, Louisiana. “We want to build longevity, a legacy,” Julius said.