Ryan & Traci Pécot with Chef Katie O'Hara - Tchoup's Midcity Restaurant & Bar

Ryan Traci and Katie

What an honor to sit down with owners Ryan and Traci Pécot and their Chef, Katie O’Hara, of Tchoup’s MidCity Restaurant & Bar.  I got the fantastic story behind MidCity—from its beginnings in 2020 to its recent transformation.  I am inspired and impressed by Ryan, Traci, and Katie and what they have created!  The atmosphere, food, and service are top-notch and highly recommended.

The Players

Ryan’s culinary journey started when he was in high school.  His choices were to get a job and buy a car or not get a job and not have a car.  At 15, he begged Outback Steakhouse to allow him to dump trash cans, bus, clean, anything.  Outback finally gave in and gave Ryan his start in the restaurant industry.  Ryan worked hard and climbed the ladder quickly from bus, to wait, to head-wait, to bar, to bar manager, and eventually front-of-house manager.

Ryan eventually left the restaurant industry to pursue a career in real estate.  His new job allowed him to travel to all the best places in the country, experiencing fantastic food—more specifically, barbecue. Cities like Memphis, Kansas City, and Jacksonville, to name a few, all inspired him and were tugging firmly on his inner desire to open a restaurant. 

“I love the restaurant industry. I just love it. Once it’s in your blood—the speed, the passion, the being in the weeds and finding the way out, all those things”. ~Ryan Pécot

Armed with the knowledge from his travels, Ryan started looking for the perfect spot in Lafayette to open his new concept—an elevated barbecue smokehouse.  His vision was to create an atmosphere that was warm, inviting, with a homey feel.  A place where family and friends meet and spend some time.  His offerings will be smoked barbecue meats and sides in the likeness of the places he traveled.  He will offer a full bar and outdoor seating area that’s dog-friendly.

He started looking for real estate and made a few plays that did not resonate—they just weren’t right.  Then, a house at 117 S. College Rd, Lafayette, Louisiana, hit the market.  Ryan and Traci toured the home and knew it was the perfect place for his Smokehouse concept.  In July 2020, just two weeks after COVID restrictions were lifted, Tchoup’s MIDCITY Smokehouse was born, and Ryan started the journey of his dream—or what Ryan calls his “mid-life crisis part-A.”
Ryan designed the original concept—constructed the detached smokehouse, turned bedrooms into a bar, living rooms into dining rooms, upgraded the original kitchen, carefully selected some paint and décor, and created an outdoor eating area for guests & their puppies under the oak trees.  Struggles from the aftermath of COVID were real—Staffing issues, supply chain issues, and costs were eating away at Ryan.  His dream was slowly becoming more of a burden than the celebration he had envisioned.  
 
In September 2023, Ryan briefly closed his original concept to renovate and elevate the dining experience.  Ryan and Traci went to work refining the ambiance with new tables throughout, new lounge furniture, a major expansion of the wine menu to match the new food items being planned, a reimagined paint and décor scheme, and a superb ample outdoor space, including a fireplace, fantastic string lighting, and music playing throughout—a wonderful dog-friendly place to dine and mingle with family and friends.
 
The property was not the only thing renovated in September—Ryan hired a dynamic new chef, Katie O’Hara.  Under Katie’s direction, the menu has changed to an elevated culinary experience.  If you know me, you know that chefs are like movie stars to me.  I’m fanboying Katie so hard—I may even have a foodie crush!
Chef Katie is quite impressive—She started her culinary journey at 15, working as kitchen help.  She was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but her studies at Nicholls State University brought her to Louisiana—She graduated with a culinary arts degree.  Katie’s passion for creating pastries led her to NOLA, where she worked as a pastry chef.  She spent ten years operating NOLA restaurants such as Coquette, MOPHO, and Maypop.  Katie moved to Austin, Texas, in 2020 and worked for Uchiko and helped open a Uchiko restaurant in Houston, Texas.  Today, she’s at Tchoup’s, and I’m so happy she is!  Chef Katie's experience and expertise in the kitchen have proven to be a winning combination for Tchoup’s—creating a new menu and finding efficiencies in the kitchen. I have tried many of her delicious dishes—She’s impressively dynamic and inspires me as a foodie.
 
Traci Pécot has been highly instrumental in the vision since day one.  Her love and passion for animals inspired the name Tchoup’s, named after their Tchoupitoulas they call “Tchoup.”  Traci has been beside Ryan the entire time.  She designed the dining room—from paint colors to decorating the walls with family photos to manufacturing the window treatments.  Traci’s vision brings an instant warmth to the place from the moment you walk through the front door.  Traci also acts as the creative and social media director and manages Tchoup’s Google Marketing and Facebook pages, as well as graphic design for other advertising mediums.
 
What a dynamic team!

The Food

I found it fascinating that Tchoup’s has no microwave, fryer, or freezer.  Let that sink in a bit.  Without a freezer, that means everything is fresh—not frozen.  Everything is made from scratch—also, a fun fact—their kitchen is smaller than my home kitchen.  The BIG flavors coming out of that small space are mind-blowing.  Ryan takes pride in our community and uses local resources whenever possible.
 
Katie’s menu is extensive but not intimidating.  I love their charcuterie board that includes house-pickled items, smoked brisket, and turkey with excellent dipping sauces.  Do not skip the cornbread basket with garlic butter and bacon-fig jam—it’s fabulous!  Tchoup’s offers all the traditional smoked meats, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, sausage, ribs, and shrimp – all complimented by three different homemade BBQ sauce varieties.  I am from Texas, and I can vouch for that brisket—so delicious and reminds me of home!  I am not a huge turkey fan, but holy BBQ; their smoked turkey is from the gods.  Katie’s elevated menu also includes an excellent selection of seafood.  The crab cakes are amazing!  There are fresh fish and shrimp items available.  Order a few sides—I love their tomato bacon salad and brussels.
 
Sunday’s are for brunch!  Bring friends—Grab a Bloody Mary or Mimosa and order many items to share—it’s the best way to experience Tchoup’s Sunday brunch!
 
I purchased tickets to their recent holiday dinner and was blown away by the menu and experience.  The three-course meal was paired perfectly with craft cocktails and wine.  I’m a steak man, and theirs is among the best in town.  They will offer another unique dinner pairing around Valentine's—subscribe to emails at www.eatmidcitybbq.com  to be notified of special pairing dinners and other news at Tchoup’s Midcity Smokehouse & Bar.
 
This Restaurant Spotlight has been a ton of fun.  I love meeting new people, and the energy Ryan, Traci, and Katie put out is inspiring.  Their raw passion is evident in every aspect of Tchoup’s—and is beautiful.  Witness it for yourself—highly recommended!
 
Facebook:  Tchoup's Midcity Restaurant & Bar

Website:  www.eatmidcitybbq.com 

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Tchoup's Midcity Restaurant & Bar
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