Cotten’s Famous Hamburgers is located at 2001 Oak Park Blvd. Lake Charles, LA 70601. They can be reached by calling 337-477-9759.
When Cotten’s is first approached, it almost looks out of place among a growing city as it looks like a building back from the 50s or 60s with a time if light pink buildings and car hops. However, the building is light pink and it is most likely that there will be many cars parked and at the drive-thru. However, if you have the time to eat there, it is worth the wait.
The inside of the building seems just as much to take you back in time. The tables are wooden with iron legs and the chairs of the iron work curled backs and plastic covered cushions. There’s one step up where smoking used to be allowed, but no smoking is allowed in the building now due to the Louisiana Clean Air act.
At the front is the register and kitchen. Customers stand in line from the one set of doors that opens (the front of the restaurant is many sets of doors with windows in them) and wait to place orders. An order is marked on a piece of paper and then customers can sit at tables. If there is more than one in the party, people can save a table while one person gives the order.
After the order is given, a table can be chosen. When the order is ready, the name will be called.
The restaurant is never quiet. There’s always names being called, the sounds of the gaming machines from the side, and plenty of conversations. However, it is always a very friendly atmosphere.
The cashiers do a great job of taking the order exactly how they are ordered. There are rarely any mistakes made and they tend to check for a second time to see if they got the order correct.
The orders are put out at the end of the counter and the name given is called. It does not tend to get confusing as the orders tend to be ready almost in the order they were placed if not exactly. Then, if something is wrong, the workers do not complain about fixing an error. They simply fix it. It is usually just by giving what was forgotten, but at times the burgers have to be remade because they have too much on them.
Most people get the hamburgers and onion rings at Cotten’s. They have hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers. The hamburger meat is cooked well so it does not burn, but it does not taste raw, either. The bacon is always fresh and crispy. It is never floppy and thin like at Burger King. Then, the cheese always melts really well on the burgers.
The onion rings are made from the sweetest vidalia onions. The onions are cut into such thin shreds then coated in batter and fried that they are more like onion shreds than onion rings. Even people who do not like onions have been known to love these onion rings.
The chicken there is also very good. The batter is lightly seasoned. The chicken is tender. Another option besides the onion rings are French fries which is great for people who really hate any types of onions or are allergic to them. However, the fries while they are warm tend to be a bit soft and soggy even when they are crispy in some places.
Toast served with meals is warm and buttery, though. They also serve salads, catfish, and shrimp. A bacon cheeseburger meal or a chicken sandwich meal can be ordered for less than $5. These come with either onion rings or fries and a medium drink. The drinks available are water, lemonade, iced tea, and soft drinks. However, at this visit, soft drinks were not available because the soft drink machine was broken.
The most expensive item on the menu is the full serving of shrimp which is $6.99 plus tax. This is still not very expensive. Of course, in order to keep the food prices low, they have to charge for refills. Still, a refill is only $0.27.
Food: 5 out of 5
Service: 5 out of 5
Location: 5 out of 5
Cotten’s is only open from 10am to 3pm Monday through Saturday and they are closed on Sunday. The restaurant is a mix between fast food and full service. There are no trash cans and the waitress on duty will take your trash. You just leave it on the table when you are done.
The waitress usually working is Florence and she knows the regulars that come to Cotten’s. The owner is Kenny Cotten and it is rumored that he got the recipes for his restaurant after working for the Colonial Inn. There is a commercial that still sometimes runs at night. Kenny Cotten is known as “the king of the grill.” The commercial was made when his daughter was young and in it she says, “If my daddy’s a king, I guess that makes me a princess.” Even though she is grown today, she is still known as The Princess.