At 6 a.m., Michael Jackson is already working the dough in the kitchen of Lasyone's, something he's been doing for the past seven years. It's a good workout.
Jackson says, "I felt it all up in here, the back of my arm."
When you make the dough for the meat pies by hand, you can feel when it's just right.
Owner and chef Angela Lasyone says, "Depending on the humidity depends on how much rolling we do… Sometimes it will have a little bit more pull. And the more pull, the more flour in, the more you have to roll it."
And depending on special orders and what's happening in town, this kitchen crew will make a few hundred or as many as a thousand meat pies in a day.
The recipe is a family secret. Lasyone says, "We cook the meat the day before. It's made of 80-percent beef and 20-percent pork, and of course all of our seasonings that I can't tell you about. Someone is also balling up the meat that's been cooled down from the day before. Then we also sit down and put them together."
Angela Lasyone and her sister Tina now own and operate this Natchitoches cafe, famous for its meat pies. The business was started by their dad, James Lasyone.
She says, "My dad was a butcher next door at the Live Oak Grocery and he used to grind that meat for the wealthy women that made them in their homes. So he started kind of concocting his own recipe. He would sell them out of a side window. And I don't know if it just kind of grew or they got tired of him selling them out of the window or what, but then we moved over here. "
At Lasyone's, they've been making these meat pies the same way for nearly 50 years. And their small Natchitoches kitchen now has a national following.
Lasyone says, "He got his first big break when the editor of House Beautiful magazine came in and she loved them, and we got our first big write-up at that time. And it's been all uphill since then."
Lasyone's meat pie kitchen has become a must-lunch stop for traveling food editors and celebrities. She says, "I remember Lorne Greene was very nice. I remember my dad telling Vanna White she needed to gain some weight because she was so skinny. And of course whenever they filmed "Steel Magnolias" here we had several… Tom Skerritt was in here, Daryl Hannah."
Lasyone's is open for breakfast and lunch. And on some days there is a line of people outside the door, waiting for a turn to get a table and order some of these deep-fried southern treats. According to the owner, the most important ingredient is the love they put into their home-made meat pies.
The meat pie kitchen owners are about to start mass-producing their meat pies for distribution to sporting events and festivals. But the meat pies made at their Natchitoches restaurant will still be home made.