Posthaste with Ind alumni Mary Tutwiler and Nathan Stubbs By Dege Legg Photo by Robin May
It’s cool, colorful, eclectic, relaxed, and funky. And it’s got a bar. If you haven’t been to Lafayette’s newest hip eatery, The Saint Street Inn, you need to check it out, especially if you’re more about the food than the fashion show. Owned and operated by two former Independent staffers, food and feature writer Mary Tutwiler and hard boiled, lid-blowing journalist Nathan Stubbs, The Saint Street Inn is Lafayette’s non-corporate, all fresh, all-local eatery. “First and last is that our food has to taste great. Happily, the fresher food is, the better anything tastes,” says Tutwiler. “Seasoning and skill are the other ingredients. And heart. We give our cooking all that, every day.”
Life history in five words, more or less
Mary Tutwiler: Born hungry
Nathan Stubbs: Don’t burn the bread
What made you make the jump from journalists to restaurateurs?
MT: I got tired of sitting in a chair watching the cooks around town have all the fun.
NS: They’re actually very similar: I’m still picking up news at the bar, blowing the lid off things, and putting in crazy hours for what often seems like a hopeless business model. But having fun doing it.
What’s the biggest difference between working in a restaurant and working at a newspaper?
MT: Getting your hands dirty. Come to think of it, there’s no difference.
NS: Similar to the difference between pro and college football. The pace is faster and the risk of injury more serious.
Restaurant inspections: local racket fueled by greedy bureaucrats or local officials sincerely concerned about commercial food preparation?
MT: We love our local inspectors and look forward to being evaluated.
NS: Pleasantly surprised to find it’s the latter.
Jimmy Buffet was famous for “nibblin’ on sponge cake and watching the sun bake.” What will you one day be famous for?
MT: Disappearing down the highway with some Dickel in my hip flask.
NS: Munchin’ on boudin and driving a sedan.
Name one thing you will never eat. Why?
MT: Don’t be silly, Dege. After having lunch with me for years and years you know I eat anything.
NS: Nonorganic apples. Probably the most chemically treated produce in the store.
Favorite food as a kid?
MT: Butterscotch pudding from a box, and Red Drink, a New Orleans classic made by Barq’s
NS: Mac n’cheese.
It’s a documented fact that most, if not all, restaurant managers are addicted to cocaine. Who on the Saint Street staff fulfills this dastardly role?
MT: Red Bull is the new cocaine, and all of them are junkies.
NS: Our managers are only addicted to Excedrin, Red Bull and chicken liver pate, the combination of which can definitely make them seem like they’re on cocaine.
It was discontinued years ago, but Hamburger Helper used to make something called Beef Taco Bake. It was the best thing ever. Can you bring it back from oblivion?
MT: Always wanted to try to resurrect the dead with my cooking
Everyone’s calling their crap organic. My ass is organic, you know? What criteria determine true organic food?
MT: Organic isn’t my measuring rod; it’s local. If I can buy it at the Farmer’s Market or from a local fisherman, farmer, rancher, butcher, baker, dairy farmer or gatherer (we do like foraged food), it goes on my table.
NS: It’s supposed to mean food that is 100 percent free of pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and other chemicals. But of course, the government can’t be counted on to adequately police and certify this. Best solution is to buy local and know the source.
Who or what has been one of the major influences on your life?
MT: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, Alice Waters. Women cooks and food writers.
NS: Michael Jordan. And Cuisinart.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about starting your own business?
MS: You have to get up early and go to work EVERY morning. No calling in sick.
NS: Be patient. Don’t yell.
Worst day on the job thus far?
MT: Day 3. We were slammed the first few days we were open, before we hired Buffalo to keep our kitchen rock steady. In the weeds, people waiting for food, customers walking out the door.
NS: The day my Global chef knife disappeared. Tragic.
How many times should one refrigerate and heat and reheat leftovers?
MT: We never have leftovers; we have a well-fed wait staff.
NS: Generally not more than twice.
Name one thing no one knows about you.
MT: I love the smell of skunks.
NS: I own a very extensive collection of Ozzie Smith baseball cards I collected as a kid.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.