The Chimes. Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396.

3 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

The Chimes

Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
It’s hard to imagine that the sports industry could possibly grow any larger, but the proof is easy to see. No segment of the restaurant business is booming more than eateries with sports connections. Not the ones owned by sports stars–those always have been mediocre and usually short-lived. But the gigantic restaurants located near major sports facilities, with lots of memorabilia and big television screens. The Chimes has served the LSU branch of that market for a long time in Baton Rouge, and here they are now in Covington.

On a bigger scale, it must be noted that the kind of money that went into the building of this place would, a few years ago, ever have been spent on such a low-end restaurant. Here is the menu of a neighborhood cafe, served in a rustic but magnificent setting. This is the restaurant of the 2010s, heading ever downmarket.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
After many months of construction, the opening of The Chimes had the inevitable effect on the North Shore dining scene: everybody jammed into the place. It’s still busy most of the time, despite its slightly out-of-the way location. The menu is the pop-style Cajun-Creole thing that you know from places like Copeland’s, but with a minimum of gimmickry.

WHAT’S GOOD The menu covers the familiar Southeast Louisiana casual cuisine, with burgers, fried seafood, gumbo, and salads with grilled this or that on top. However, the list is interrupted by more original and ambitious food, notably the variations on big shrimp. The fried seafood is as good as that of any other casual seafood house in the area.

BACKSTORY
The Baton Rouge Chimes opened in 1983 in an old art deco building housing a pharmacy and a movie theater, not far from the gates of LSU. It became a prime hangout for LSU students and fans, who form a majority of the population of Baton Rouge. The second location opened in Covington in 2011 on an isolated patch of Bogue Falaya riverbank. The land included a small, River Road-style plantation building and the original Covington City Hall, both of which have been restored.

DINING ROOM
The restaurant is in as fine an environment as can be had in these parts. The Bogue Falaya River curves alongside the building, its decks and wooden ramps, surrounded by large cypress trees. It feels like the middle of nowhere, but is actually across the little river from downtown Covington. The dining room is largely built of big raw-wood elements and feels perfectly in place. The tables surround the bar (with its seventy-five or so beer taps) and the oyster bar and grill.

ONLINE MENU LOCATION

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Crab cakes
»Louisiana alligator, marinated, fried or blackened
Crabmeat stuffed mushrooms
Boudin balls
Crab fingers, fried or sautéed
Buffalo wings
Spinach and artichoke dip
Cheese fries, jalapeno peppers, gravy
»Onion rings
Hush puppies
Crawfish and cheese baked macaroni
»Shrimp and grits
»Oysters on the half shell
»Seafood gumbo
Shrimp and corn soup
»Duck and sausage gumbo
Soup of the day
Club salad with fried or blackened chicken
»Blackened shrimp remoulade
Fried crawfish salad
Caesar salad (options: blackened chicken, salmon, or shrimp)
Spinach and berry salad, pepper jelly vinaigrette, feta
Sandwiches
»Hamburger
Black and bleu burger
Jalapeno bacon burger
Turkey burger
»Grilled chicken sandwich
Turkey croissant
Seafood cake sandwich
»Blackened salmon sandwich
Boca burger (meatless)
Veggie sandwich
»Club sandwich
»Barbecue shrimp poor boy
Fried shrimp poor boy
»Andouille-crusted oyster poor boy
Fried catfish poor boy
»Roast beef poor boy
Entrees
»New Orleans barbecue shrimp
Crawfish etouffee
Red beans and rice with sausage
Seafood pasta
Seafood lasagna
Pasta grazi (vegetables and cheese)
Pasta alfredo (options: blackened chicken, salmon, or shrimp)
Fresh salmon, horseradish dill sauce
Char-broiled catfish and spicy garlic butter
»Center cut pork chops, Abita root beer glaze
Black angus ribeye
»Bacon wrapped shrimp
Sautéed crab, mushrooms, green onions, garlic butter
Fried seafood platters
Desserts
Hot fudge brownie sundae
Fried cheesecake
»White chocolate bread pudding, praline sauce
Abita root beer float

FOR BEST RESULTS
The Chimes is a major draw for its oysters alone. They shuck nice ones to order, and grill them if you like. In happy hour and all day Tuesday, the bivalves are five dollars a dozen–a great deal. Basic fried seafood and burgers are fine. More advanced cookery is not.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Salmon and catfish are the entire fish selection. More range there would be welcome. Seems that a steak would fit the profile, too. Beware of stuffed anything. The boudin is terrible.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +1
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value +2
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar +2
  • Hipness -1
  • Local Color +2

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Courtyard or deck dining
  • Good view
  • Good for business meetings
  • Many private rooms
  • Early-evening specials
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open most holidays
  • Open after midnight
  • Open all afternoon
  • Oyster bar
  • Unusually large servings
  • Quick, good meal
  • Good for children
  • No reservations

1 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Kevin Parnella on July 26, 2014

    How do the chargrilled oysters compare to Acme?

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