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Frosto Drive-In, commonly referred to as "Frosto" is located in Crowley, Louisiana. Located at the corner of East 3rd Street and North Avenue G, Frosto is well known in South Louisiana for its homemade, "old fashioned" hamburger. Frosto is included on local tours of Acadia Parish and Crowley, Louisiana.
Originally opened by Ralph Roseland in 1950 as part of the national chain Zesto, the business served hotdogs, ice cream and soft drinks. After a few years as Zesto, the business encountered financial hardship. Roseland became delinquent on rental payments to the Lawrence family, descendants of Crowley's founding Duson family.
In 1955, Roseland suggested to the Lawrences that Zesto's manager, Helen Larive Lafosse, take over Zesto and assume the debt for the one year of backdue rent. Lafosse was an 8th grade educated seamstress who had worked her way to manager at Zesto. Knowing that Roseland was unable to pay rent, Lafosse negotiated a reduced rent with the Lawrences. The deal was made on a handshake. She severed ties with the Zesto chain to save the franchise fees. In renaming the business, Lafosse tried to save as much of the neon sign as possible to save costs. She kept the S T O and renamed the business Frosto.
Soon thereafter, the menu expanded to include hamburgers. In the early years, the Lawrences placed a sign on the property that said, "Will Build to Suit"; an obvious lack of confidence in the future of Frosto. In the 1960s, Lafosse's daughter, Lola Lafosse Trahan, became a partner in Frosto. Trahan worked in the business from the time she was 10 years old. Frosto became popular as a reward for winners of local youth league baseball games. Each team had a local sponsor that treated the team to malts and burgers after each winning game. After a game, winning teams piled into cars and trucks and headed to Frosto. This trend continued through the 1960s and 1970s. In the late 1960s, Trahan came up with the idea to put bacon on a hamburger. The baconburger was born and Frosto became "The Home of the Baconburger."
During the 1970s, Frosto's popularity continued as national fast-food chains entered the local market. Fast food restaurants began to pop up in North Crowley, Louisiana near Interstate 10. Frosto's appeal remained because the burgers were homemade and Frosto was located downtown. Influenced by the national chains, in the 1980s, Frosto added a drive-thru. Around that time, Trahan expanded the menu to include homecooked plate lunches.
By 1996, the remaining heirs of the Lawrence family no longer lived in Crowley, Louisiana. After 41 years of doing business on a handshake, Trahan purchased the land and building where her mother began Frosto in 1955. Shortly thereafter, Trahan did a major renovation of the 46-year-old building, including a minor expansion. The sign atop Frosto was restored to the beautiful neon that was the early years.
At the dawn of the new millennium, the local power company, CLECO, began a marketing campaign aimed at showing that they had long been a part of the local community. The television and print ads featured both Frosto and owner, Lola Lafosse Trahan. Recently, Trahan relinquished day-to-day operations of Frosto to her son and daughter-in-law.
In early 2011 The Trahan's decided to expand Frosto and add on a dining room. The dining room opened on April 13, 2011 with a 50's feel to it. The food and service remains the same, but the atmosphere is much more comfortable.
On every third Saturday of every month from 6-8 Frosto has a Classic Car Show, or a Cruise In. You can go and see classic cars from any year, enjoy a burger and malt and have a great time!
A photograph of Frosto (before renovations)can be seen at zydecocajunbyway.com .