Rip Van Winkle Gardens serves lunch and backyard walks with peacocks


If you are searching for a daytime tour, Rip Van Winkle Gardens in New Iberia presents lunch beneath aged oak bushes and a possibility to take a stroll with peacocks.

The gardens, present in Jefferson Island, are the place the stage and silent film actor Joseph Jefferson constructed his Victorian-style looking lodge in 1870. Jefferson performed the a part of Rip Van Winkle greater than 4,500 occasions on stage, which is why or how the gardens earned their identify. 

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Now, let’s speak meals. The property can also be residence to Cafe Jefferson, a lunchtime restaurant that has been part of the backyard’s operations for the reason that Nineteen Eighties. The Cafe is open 11 a.m. till 2:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The menu consists of salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. The cafe has giant home windows in a part of its eating space, offering a stunning view of the oak bushes, Lake Peigneur, and any roaming peacocks.

I had the Chick-A-Lada, a sandwich consisting of marinated hen, lettuce, tomatoes, chipotle mustard and mayo served on crispy Muffuletta bread. I had the quarter-sized portion ($8), however you may as well get the sandwich in half and full sizes. The menu does not point out this, not less than from what I might inform, however the sandwich comes with a pile of basic ruffled potato chips and a dill pickle spear. For me, this was good. It was the correct amount of meals and the sandwich was filling with out feeling heavy. 

Cafe Jefferson's Chick-A-Lada, quarter size, with potato chips and a pickle spear.
Cafe Jefferson's Italian Hero, half size.

My boyfriend ordered the Italian Hero, one other sandwich on muffuletta bread, full of salami, pepperoni, bologna, swiss, provolone, mozzarella cheese and pepperoncini peppers with marina sauce. He had the half-sized portion ($14), and it too got here with chips and a pickle spear. With a fast key phrase search on the Rip Van Winkle Gardens Facebook web page, this sandwich seems to be one of many cafe’s newer menu objects, having been talked about in considered one of its posts relationship again as early as November. 

Now, when you’re accomplished along with your meal, your server will ask you if you need espresso or dessert. Say sure. 

We did not get espresso, however we did share a slice of white chocolate bread pudding ($7). It was every part I hoped for and was served good and scorching. Now, in case you’re not a bread pudding sort of individual, no worries. The cafe additionally presents attractive sweets corresponding to creme brulee cheesecake, chocolate molten lava cake and bourbon pecan pie.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding at Cafe Jefferson.

It did not seem that it was vital to purchase backyard or home tour tickets to dine within the cafe. However, in case you wish to stroll after a meal like I do, then you could need to contemplate getting not less than a ticket for the gardens.

There are not less than 50 peacocks on the property – that is what the worker on the entrance advised me anyway. I used to be additionally advised that they are pleasant. So don’t be concerned in case you stumble throughout one, two or three roaming round when you stroll the gardens. I’ll say, I noticed not less than one peacock earlier than we parked the automobile, and one other two on our strategy to the cafe. On our stroll within the backyard, we simply noticed one other 10. So, yeah. Lots of birds.

Rip Van Winkle Gardens is at 5505 Rip Van Winkle Road in New Iberia.

— Emily Enfinger is a reporter for The Courier and the Daily Comet. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyEnfinger. Email Emily at

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