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.
Newsy tidbits for the fam
Irish style is smiling
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
Abshire has rejoined the Lafayette Bar Association, where she previously served as marketing coordinator under longtime Executive Director Susan Holliday
Home-grown Baton Rouge market/deli heads to Lafayette.
Deadline for submitting noms for annual competition is March 15
Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Downtown Lafayette restaurant launches new concept near Le Triomphe
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Yeah, it's smoked venison sausage stuffed in a suckling pig stuffed in a lamb and roasted over an open fire.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Reamco founders Brent Milam and Ashley Lane now shareholders in acquiring company and part of its management team.
Low heels, high style
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern