Shake, Rattle, and Roll!
The franchise Zesto Enterprises, Inc., opened in 1950 in Crowley, LA. It was originally owned by “Ralph Rosaland, a New Orleans resident who worked for Conoco.” The land and building that occupied Zesto was owned by “the late P. L. Lawrence.” In 1951, Rosaland turned over the restaurant to a new employee, Helen Lafosse, and her husband. Helen and her husband continued to manage Zesto until for five years until they chose to purchase the business and no longer be a part of the Zesto franchise. Due to high prices on neon lights, Helen chose to only change a portion of their sign to save money. As a result, the “Ze” in Zesto were taken off and replaced with “Fro” to create the current restaurant name, Frosto, also known as Frosto Drive In. Since then, three generations have passed and Frosto is still a family-owned business. Another change that Helen made was to the original Zesto menu, which only carried three items: ice cream, bottled soda, and hot dogs. Therefore, “one of Lafosse’s first menu changes back in 1956 was the addition of hamburgers. Her recipe has been used since then and no one is allowed to mess with it.” Their burgers are also made with “100% lean ground beef (no fillers) and are prepared fresh” each day. Frosto was also the first restaurant to introduce the bacon burger in their surrounding area, and they also decided to add fries to their menu during 1985 as the perfect pairing to the famous bacon burger served up plastic baskets. Over the past sixty-six years, Frosto has expanded their menu to include various menu items like po-boys, sandwiches, hotdogs, homemade onion rings, nachos, Frito pies, and malts. Similar to how they prepare their burger meat daily, “Fresh ice milk is made daily for all sundaes, shakes, banana splits, cones, dip cones, floats, frosties, and flurries.” Their large menu and delicious food lead readers of the Crowley Post-Signal to vote Frosto as their favorite: burger place, plate lunch, soft drink place, ice cream place, fast food place, and breakfast place. Frosto has also been recognized as the Crowley Chamber of Spotlight in 1995 and 2018. On the other hand, what did not change in 1956 was the style of Frosto. “Helen Lafosse began Frosto with the intent on serving a quality product […] in a vibrant 50’s themed dining atmosphere. Not only are you entertained by Elvis playing throughout the diner, but also the walls and table tops are covered in albums and the decades of memorabilia.” However, this would not be possible if her daughter, Lola Lafosse Trahan, and grandson, Brannon Trahan, wouldn’t have added on to create more space in the kitchen and dining areas. Frosto has continued to grow since it started out as Zesto in 1950. According to Brannon Trahan, “about 300 people are served each day either at the window or in Frosto’s 50’s style dining room. Hamburgers remain today’s most popular menu item and frosted Dr. Pepper is the most popular drink. He estimates that more than 2 million Frosto hamburgers have been sold over the years.” Due to this, Frosto has even been incorporated into the “local tours of Acadia Parish and Crowley, Louisiana.” A new hire turned a failing franchise restaurant into a local phenomenon where people from surrounding areas and visitors from distant places can come to enjoy a 50’s inspired meal with a Cajun twist.