What year was the Pastime openend?
The Pastime was opened as the Pastime in 1945. Before that, it was a corner grocery store named Alesi's Grocery. The owners of the grocery, in the years prior to 1945, slowly started to phase out the grocery store and turned it into a lounge with a small snack bar and renamed it in 1945 as the Pastime. One of the biggest draws to the newly opened lounge was that it was only one of a very few places in Baton Rouge that had air conditioning. The snack bar kept growing and eventually the focus of the Pastime went from a pure lounge to a restaurant with a full bar.
How long has the Wesley family owned the Pastime?
In the late 60's, Bob Wesley and J.L. Mallet bought the Pastime from Joe Alesi after they left the original Hoppers Drive Inn. In the 70's, Bob Wesley bought out the remaining shares of the Pastime from the Mallets and became the sole owner. In 1996, Bob Wesley passed away and the ownership of the restaurant went into a trust. In 2007, his wife, Ethel Wesley passed away, and the trust was executed with both parents shares and possession passed down to the 3 children.
When the Mississippi River Bridge was built how did it affect the Pastime?
In the early 1960's, plans were being made to span the Mississippi River with a new bridge for the Interstate. After many surveys, feasibility studies, engineering tests, etc., it was determined that the bridge would cross the Mississippi almost directly over the Pastime. At that time, the Pastime was a rectangular shaped building with most of its frontage on Nicholson. The Dept of Transportation and the Federal Government claimed half of the building and helped the owner at the time to rebuild the lost square footage, resulting in the building becoming a square shape. The new part is the on the parking lot side of the building, where you enter. The older original part of the building is the side with the Bar and Kitchen areas.
Has it always been called the Pastime or was it named something else?
In the early years, when that location held a grocery, it was called Alesi's Grocery. In the mid 40's, the grocery store was phased out and became the Pastime Lounge. Soon after, The DBA (Doing Business As) name was changed to Pastime Restaurant & Lounge or simply, The Pastime. During a short period it was nick named Two-Burners because of a small 2 burner stove that was used to cook hot dogs and sausage. It has been referred to by many other nick names by customers, friends and family. Some of those are, The PT, The Pass, The Pastime Restaurant, The Pastime Bar, The Pastime Lounge, and The Pastime Restaurant & Lounge.
The Pastime was made a Historical Landmark when & why?
The Pastime was given Historical & Cultural landmark status based upon the Pastimes longevity and historical and cultural contribution to the city of Baton Rouge. The Pastime was granted this status in 2008 and now proudly has our Landmark Plaque displayed as you enter the front door.
Why do we have to write down our own order?
The owner, Bob Wesley, joked many times that he decided that in order to ensure accuracy of the customer's order have them write down what they wanted and if the food order came out wrong he could pull their ticket and the explain to the customer this is what you ordered. But actually, the real reason is to get to know each customer by name, on a personal level. Bob Wesley hated to be addressed as a number and wanted every customer experience to be on a personal level.
How many generations do you think have passed through the Pastime so far?
In 2008 during LSU's football season we had a customer that pulled us aside and said his Grandfather brought his Dad in to the restaurant many years ago. His Dad continued the tradition and brought him in as a young man and in turn he returned with his own son and Grandson, therefore he is on the 5th generation of customers. We hear many stories of Grandparents, Fathers, Mothers continuing the tradition and sharing fond memories of their days and nights at the Pastime.
The Pastime looks like a bar, are children allowed?
Children are always welcome in the main dining room and the kitchen area. The bar is off limits to anyone under the age of 21.
Can I have my birthday party or an event at the Pastime?
Our main dining room is large enough to seat over 100 people and we welcome parties, reunions and all types of meeting's. We have several large screen TV's as well as a projection TV screen that covers a complete wall. This audio/video system allows us the capability to offer various presentations. We have reserved any Sunday for private parties, be it a Christmas party, business function, retirement party, birthday party, etc. We can also cater these events with off menu items or from our standard menu items. We can also set up a private bar area if needed for exclusive use of the event. These events should be scheduled in advance with the General Manager.
Does the Pastime have live music?
We have had live music in the past and we certainly will have it again in the near future. In the past, we had live music every Friday and Saturday in the bar. Usually our entertainment is a forum for local, 1-3 piece acoustical musicians. If you wish to have an large event, we can make arrangements for live music, a DJ or recorded music.
Does the Pastime have the NFL network for Thursday night games?
Yes, we do carry the NFL network.
Why don't you offer gravy with the roast beef poboy?
Our roast beef gravy is 100% natural juice of our roasts. It is not made from a can, pouch, or bag. Each roast only produces a certain amount of natural juices and these juices are used in the cooking process to keep the roast moist and juicy. Our roast is cooked whole at first, then sliced and placed back into its original gravy and slowed cooked until ready to serve. There is simply not enough natural juices to give out as au jus', and we refuse to give out an artificial, pre made, bouillon based, bowl of colored water.
What is a stone deck pizza?
All of our pizzas are cooked in an oven with a stone deck and not on a chain driven conveyer oven. This stone deck ensures an evenly cooked, crisp crust and not the limp cardboard crust produced by a conveyer oven.
What is the best pizza to try?
All of our pizzas are good and one of our newest and a must try pizza would be our Boudin pizza®. Our most popular pizza is the all meat Big Ragoo followed by our everything pizza. FYI, the everything pizza includes anchovies so if you are not a fan, please ask us to not include them.
What is the best poboy to try?
Our most notable and famous poboy is our roast beef. Many awards and kudos have been awarded to this poboy. Our cheeseburger poboys, Ham poboys and shrimp poboys are very popular as well.
Why were some of the pizzas named in honor of the previous owner, Bobby Wesley, Papa Joe Lippian & Big Ragoo?
We went to our test kitchens and tried so many different combinations of pizzas using ingredients that were not the normal pizza fare. When these pizzas were field tested by our customers and were being prepared to go on the permanent menu, they needed appropriate names. The previous owner, who was also my father, Bob Wesley, had his favorite with shrimp and jalapeno so that was an easy one. Papa Joe, a dedicated and well loved employee of the Pastime for over 42 years had his favorite combination and he was given credit for that one. The Big Ragoo was named for a great supporter of the Pastime for recognition of the many times he has closed down the restaurant with literally a throng of friends over so many years.
Do you offer delivery?
Yes. We offer delivery for Lunch and Dinner (10:00am - 10:00pm and 11:00pm on the weekends). The Pastime used our own In-House deliver for many years starting with bike deliveries. We now use a 3rd party delivery services including WAITR, Door Dash, UberEats, Slice, Sauce, EHungry and our main partner PopMenu, directly through our website. To order delivery, please go to our order page where you can choose which service you would like to use if you do not want to use or partner, PopMenu. You can also use the apps or websites of any of the other 3rd party ordering services. They all get routed to a single tablet in or kitchen, prepared and delivered.
Hint: Using our website costs less for you and for us and is delivered with the same drivers used by most of the other online order services.
Same Menu - Same Food - Same Drivers - Lower Costs for all - Win-Win-Win
What's a "Take and Bake" pizza?
We can make any pizza you wish and shrink wrap it on site so that you can take it home and bake it in your own oven.
Do you offer party trays and catering etc.?
Yes, we offer many different types of trays including sandwich trays, seafood trays, catfish trays, spaghetti, gumbo, cheese trays, and vegetable trays. We can also prepare hot wings, meatballs, and almost any off menu item for an in house event, tailgate party, office party or for your home.
Do you offer a student discount?
We offer a 10% discounts for students, with ID from LSU, Southern, and BRCC. We also offer a 10% discount to any BRPD, Sheriff's Deputy, State Police, Constable, Marshal, fireman or military in uniform.
When the restaurant is packed will I have to wait a long time of a pizza?
The normal wait time for a pizza is 10-15 minutes, during our lunch time and LSU home games the wait time is slightly longer and times vary.
I always see the same people working when I come in. What's the longest someone has worked there?
Papa Joe Lippian did hold the record at 42 years. Bob Wesley, 28 years, Ethel Wesley 30 years, Dana Griffith 18 years (and still comes in to work the LSU Home Games) and Jamey Travis. In May of 2018, Randy Wesley, one of the present owners passed up Papa Joe Lippian and in May of 2021 reached the milestone of working at the Pastime for 45 years.
I only have 30 minutes for lunch, can I call ahead with my order?
Yes, you can call ahead and we can have your order ready at the designated time.
I'm going to the LSU football game, can I park under the bridge?
Please do. If you are going to go to the game, or any other function, please park your vehicle under the Mississippi Bridge as our main parking lot only holds 27 vehicles and we want to reserve them for customers that are actually in the building.
Can I ride a bus to the games from the Pastime?
For over 25 years, the Pastime has offered bus shuttles to and from the LSU Football Games. Please park under the bridge and come into the restaurant to purchase tickets. The Pastime has never made a dime on this service and 100% of all monies collected go to the owners of the buses. We like to offer this as a service to our customers as a thank you for years of patronage. So you ask "What's in it for the Pastime"? Well, we hope that each rider comes in and eats with us before they ride to the game and having 4 to 10 bus loads of people coming in after the game doesn't hurt either.
Are you open late after LSU football games?
We are open late after every LSU football game. When the traffic from the game is gone, and no one else comes in, we close, and drop to the floor in exhaustion.
Ever have anyone famous come by?
Sure. So many actors, celebrities, sports stars, politicians and famous people have been customers of the Pastime. A few of them include Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton, Matthew McConaughey, Joanne Woodward, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Taylor, Billy Cannon, Bert Jones almost every Governor, Mayor, legislator, senator, and representative.
What are the future plans for the Pastime?
After 73 years in the downtown area, the Pastime opened its second, smaller location in Drusilla Shopping center but in 2014, we were forced to close after the new landlord TRIPLED our rent. That particular store was designed to be a food distribution commissary and was to be the start of a major expansion including smaller strip mall stores and larger full size stores. When we were forced out of Pastime Jr., we lost the heart, the energy and the money needed to expand. The wind was taken out of our sails.