GROVES - A Canadian man dined at Larry’s French Market on
Thursday after hearing in Saudi Arabia that he “had” to try out this
Cajun food in Groves, Texas.
Brenda Judice was a little emotional as she told her husband, the Larry of the day, that anecdote, minutes after Groves Chamber of Commerce members marched in with the surprise announcement that he was named Groves Chamber 2011 Small Businessman of the Year.
Larry Judice was sitting at a table with family, wearing his familiar red apron, when Ronnie Boneau, chamber director, arrived with a big plant. The entourage had gathered in a parking lot at Larry’s French Market & Cajun Restaurant to surprise Judice.
The award represented his acclaim for representing the Cajun food and lifestyle in the area, region and state, Boneau said.
Judice, usually a talker, said he was overcome as he hugged his wife, who had kept the secret.
“She’s really the big boss here,” he said.
Larry is son of the late A.J. Judice, also called The Crazy Frenchman, known for crawfish races and his Port Arthur store that still sells boudain that his mother, Lariza, made famous. Larry’s brother, Al, is in charge there, now.
In 1978 Larry’s opened in Groves as a food market and in 1995 expanded to a restaurant. It’s now known for a buffet of fried Cajun seafoods and boiled crawfish, as well as a dance floor that on weekends fills with all ages dancing to traditional Cajun tunes from live bands. Day meals often draw hungry refinery workers in their brightly-colored gear.
Brenda said her husband loves to see people happy, and Larry said he loves that generations mix it up and share culture under his roof.
“It really makes me feel good,” Judice said.