Ross Murphree – Olde Tyme Grocery, Sandra’s Café and Health Food Store, and BJ’s in Broussard

Ross Murphree, President of Olde Tyme Grocery Group, joins us today to discuss his family-owned restaurants, which include Olde Tyme Grocery, Sandra’s Café and Health Food Store, and BJ’s in Broussard.

The patriarch behind this conglomerate of eateries is Ross’s father, Glenn Murphree, who originally purchased Olde Tyme Grocery in 1982. It has become one of Lafayette’s most iconic spots known for its classic poor boy sandwiches made on fresh Langlinais Bakery bread every day.

Olde Tyme Grocery has been recognized for its excellence by national publications, being voted #1 Budget Dining in the Nation on Trip Advisor Travelors’ Choice Awards and ranked #2 in USA Today’s Best Po’Boys in Louisiana.

Olde Tyme Grocery’s Glenn Murphree in the early days.

Ross recounted the story of Glenn’s foray into the poor boy business. A native of Chalmette, Glenn attended USL in the late 1970’s, and enjoyed his time in college, driving a Budweiser truck for Schilling Distributing and managing the Keg.

In May of 1982, Glenn bought a little grocery store at 218 W. St. Mary Blvd. near USL’s campus, named Olde Tyme Grocery. At that time, it had aisles of groceries and a small delicatessan space, which was frequented by the neighbors on small grocery runs. Short on cash, Glenn borrowed $8,000 from his dad and $8,000 from the bank, and he was on his way. Interestingly, Glenn had little to no experience in the food business at the time, having worked for only two weeks at a poor boy shop while in high school and swearing he would never do it again! Now, 42 years later, things seemed to have worked out for this highly successful endeavor.

Olde Tyme Grocery’s menu is simple and hasn’t changed much in the past 42 years. Sixty per cent of its sales revolve around the highly popular shrimp poboy. “It keeps us in business,” Ross says. Besides offering deli meats and gourmet specials, Olde Tyme is known for its catering, and the restaurant feeds UL’s teams when they travel out of town. During UL’s summer football camp, Olde Tyme will prepare up to 1500 bag lunches in one day. There are different nightly specials where you can order a full-size poboy for $7.00 including tax. Monday’s special is a whole meatball poboy; Tuesday is ham; Wednesday is sausage, and Thursday is turkey. If you are looking for a filling meal or great leftovers, there is no better deal. The snowball stand, located right behind Old Tyme, is open from April 1 through September 30 each year.

Olde Tyme Grocery operates at a high volume of sandwiches, averaging 700 on Monday through Thursday, and up to 1000 on any given Friday. During Fridays in Lent, business doubles, and up to 2000 sandwiches will be served. Ross says that they can go through 600 pounds of shrimp on Fridays in Lent, which are always Gulf white shrimp.

Ross Murphree says, “Olde Tyme Grocery was my dad’s first child. Today, Ross serves as President, and three other Murphree children, Becca, Brad, and Greg are involved in various aspects of the business. For more information on Olde Tyme Grocery’s menu, visit

BJ’s in Broussard is another popular lunch spot owned by the Murphrees. In the mid-1990’s, Glenn was interested in expanding Olde Tyme Grocery and came across the site of BJ’s. He and his wife, Cherie, only had three children and the timing seemed good. But plans changed when a fourth and then fifth child came along quickly and the decision was made to leave BJ’s as is. Ross gave a big shout out to “Ms. Jenny” who was employed by BJ’s several years before the Murphrees purchased the restaurant and is still there 27 years later.

BJ’s food is “in the Old Tyme tradition,” and you can get the same poboys as you can at Olde Tyme. Plus, they offer two plate lunch items daily. BJ’s is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day except Sunday. Located at 107 N. Morgan Avenue, Broussard LA 70518, you can find more information about daily menu choices on facebook.

The acquisition of Sandra’s Café and Health Food Store at 111 Rena Drive in Lafayette came about when Glenn went to buy used kitchen equipment from the owner of Sandra’s in 2007. Ross says, “In typical Glenn Murphree style, he owned the building and business two weeks later, not knowing anything about health food!” Glenn brought Chrystal, a longtime cook at BJ’s in Broussard, to run the kitchen and she is still cooking for Sandra’s after all these years.

Sandra’s menu has evolved from its early days, and offers three to four different plate lunches every day, plus soup and salad at affordable prices, averaging $11.95. All produce is organic, and free range chicken/grass fed beef are offered. There are daily lunch specials such as hamburger steaks, chicken shwarma, shrimp, rotisserie chicken, and salmon, and breakfast is also offered daily. The health food section still offers groceries and health supplements, and Ross describes it as a “small Whole Foods.” Visit or for more information.

In 2015, Glenn Murphree branched out from the restaurant business and began selling antiques he purchases at estate sales and auctions. He opened MLC Antiques & Gifts at 112 Rena Drive, across the street from Sandra’s. Humorously, MLC stands for “Mid Life Crisis.” Open from Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Glenn offers a plethora of furniture, glassware, and antique items. The location is perfect as he can run back and forth from Sandra’s to MLC throughout the day.

Family business stories such as the Murphree’s are heartwarming and inspirational. Ross shared how hard his dad worked for so many years to be able to build his businesses and provide a good life for his family. He shared a nostalgic look back in time when Glenn first purchased Olde Tyme; with little cash, he ran all aspects of the business himself, relying upon the help of his college Theta XI fraternity brothers who would pitch in when needed. Pictured below is an iconic photo from 1980, which hangs on the wall in Olde Tyme Grocery, with Glenn and his close buddies memoralized as the “Panama City Studs.”

The concept and success of Olde Tyme Grocery lends itself to expansion and Ross shared that he would like to see the business branch out. Perhaps first to the southside of Lafayette and then, the “big dream would be to stretch down I-10, east and west. Even beyond. We have the brand that can get us there.”

The success of any family business is attributable to support and encouragement. Ross spoke with pride about his family, including his mother, Cheri, who worked at Olde Tyme in the early days. He also spoke lovingly of his siblings, Becca, Brad, Greg and Lauren. And of course, his dad, Glenn, who exemplifies hard work and strong character.

Discover Lafayette thanks Ross Murphree for sharing his story of dedication to his family business and his commitment to Lafayette. A graduate of UL in business, he began working at Old Tyme when a freshman in high school, helping with the snowball trailer events. He worked at BJ’s his senior year, and then back at Olde Tyme in college. In 2010, he says his dad, “rooked me into working full-time at Olde Tyme, and ten years later started running the show.” He and his sister, Becca, have been active in the business for the past 14 years. Ross Murphree, pictured with his wife, Brenna.