Tommy Walters, who recently re-opened his Furlongs cajun restaurant, was looking over an original menu from the restaurant when it opened in 1993 that his daughter and business partner Emilee Sierp had found, and they both noticed striking similarities with it and the current menu, aside from the prices.
“The prices were sick,” Walters said. “The filet mignon topped with crawfish was $13.95; today it’s $30. But it’s almost identical to the original menu.”
Watlers and Sierp opened the latest version of Furlongs in April on West Tiverton Way off of Nicholasville Road. Incidentally, if you look out the front window across the parking lot, you can see the spot in the Fayette Place shopping center where Walters opened the first Furlongs in 1993, before moving to its more familiar location at 735 E. Main St. in 1996.
After a few other venue changes, which included moving from, and then returning to, the Main Street location, Furlongs eventually had to undergo a name change due to a law suit between Walters and a former business partner. Walters says he regained the rights to the name in the summer of 2010, and he has been scouting out locations for a new Furlongs around town before finding the West Tiverton spot.
Watlers, a Louisiana native from Lafayette, has been in the restaurant business since he was 10, when his father worked for the original Don’s Seafood restaurant and Walters would hang out in the kitchen, watching the chefs. Later he took jobs from other experienced chefs.
“When I was old enough to get a job other than working for my father,” Walters said, “I worked with guys that had really special techniques.”
He had an aptitude for kitchens and restaurants, and at the ripe age of 16, while still in high school, Walters was made the kitchen manager at another Lafayette restaurant, a talent he has pursued ever since.
Sierp, who is also the general manager for the new Furlongs, had a similar upbringing; she says she started working with her father when she was 13, but Walters remembers her being younger than that when she started.
“Actually, when she was 11, I was doing a party for Shadwell Farm, and she stayed up with me all night long helping me patty out 600 hamburgers,” Walters said. “And she never missed a beat.”
Walters other daughter, Haylee Walters, is also an employee of the restaurant.
The new Furlongs has a lot of the similar trappings as its predecessors, horse racing decor (Walters also buys and sells horses), bottles of hot sauce on every table, lots of fellowship.
“This whole thing is a labor of love,” Walters said. “We created Furlongs. Words can’t describe how good it feels to do it again and have your friends come in and have the support that we’ve had. It’s been incredible.”
130 W. Tiverton Way