FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2021
Sophisticated Hospitality Group announces opening of new concept:
Santos to offer Southern favorites with Latin flavor
Contact: Buddy Boe
Luling, LA - Executive Chef Natasha Clement and Managing Partner Buddy Boe are set to open Santos: Louisiana roots, Latin attitude on Hwy 90 in Luling later this summer. Santos, Spanish for “Saints” is named after the saints of the River Parishes, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James…the birthplace of the owners.
Boe’s family has owned and operated Buddy B’s Restaurant in Garyville since 1998 and with the recent retirement of his parents, Clement’s culinary talents made her an ideal business partner. So, Clement and Boe formed Sophisticated Hospitality Group (SHG) after Boe approached Clement about realizing her dream of owning a brick-and-mortar restaurant to showcase her talent for cooking. The two have now launched the hospitality group which now boasts the portfolio of Buddy B’s Restaurant, Sophisticated Southern Plates, and Santos later this summer.
“Our goal is a sophisticated casual atmosphere that comforts while surprising. We think our menu combining some of this region’s favorites with Latin flavors is the perfect balance…such as our tamale stack (lasagna made out of tamales) or our crispy boudin tacos. When you wash that down with our Holy Pisco Sour from our bar, Cloud9, you’ll be in heaven at Santos,” said Executive Chef Natasha Clement.
The restaurant, inspired by Clement’s southern cooking background and Boe’s love for Latin culture, will feature Latin flavors infused into traditional Southern plates served indoors, on the outdoor patio and in the full service bar, Cloud9, serving craft cocktails.
The duo plan to launch brunch this fall and are working on the final design for the outdoor lounge space at Cloud9.
“I read a newspaper article that quoted Natasha saying she wanted a brick and mortar restaurant, so I called her and asked if she wanted two restaurants instead of one and here we are…taking over Buddy B’s and opening Santos this summer,” said Boe.
Natasha was a former contestant on MasterChef Season 6 and a contestant and WINNER of Food Network's All Star Academy Season 2 under the tutelage of Chef Robert Irvine. Some of her most recent accolades include catering to the King of New Orleans, Drew Brees, for his surprise 40th Birthday Party as well as being the only private chef invited to participate in the New Orleans Bourbon Festival! When not cooking for hundreds, she also enjoys keeping some of our beloved New Orleans Pelican basketball players on their game with healthy meal prep and local fresh inspired dishes.
Buddy owns Invictus Solutions and Invictus Properties. Additionally, Buddy is the managing partner of Invictus Cypress Enterprises, Sophisticated Hospitality Group, Invictus Cypress Properties and Monaco Land Development. Recently, Buddy served as the Executive Director of the River Parishes Tourist Commission. Previously, he served as the Senior Advisor and Communications Director to the Lieutenant Governor. In 2015, Buddy was elected to the St. John the Baptist Parish Council. He is the Governor’s appointee to the board of NOCCA, currently serving as Chairman.
Visit www.SophisticatedHospitalityGroup.com for more information about the growing hospitality group.
Food Network alum brings Latin fusion home to the River Parishes at new restaurant Santos
BY IAN McNULTY | STAFF WRITER
AUG 17, 2021
At Santos, you’ll find a tamale dish done in the style of a meaty lasagna and shrimp aguachile cured in citrus, bursting with sweet tropical freshness. There’s a noodle bowl singing with a darkly spicy chile heat and a gin cocktail at the bar with bits of berry frozen into its ice cubes.
But then you taste the familiar flavor of andouille running through the shrimp and grits, see boudin links broken open as taco fillings and find ample (if not always obvious) reminders all around that you’re in a restaurant in the River Parishes.
Santos officially opens Friday, Aug. 20, in Luling. It’s an upscale casual restaurant with its own lounge, a stylish design and a menu of original Latin fusion dishes next to Southern-style staples.
That might seem like an eyebrow-raising prospect for this vicinity, an exurban stretch of U.S. 90 about 20 miles from downtown New Orleans. Mom-and-pops, seafood joints and national chains comprise much of the restaurant selection around here.
But it is hard to imagine another restaurant more genuinely rooted to a sense of River Parishes place than Santos. That starts with the people behind it — chef Natasha St. Pierre Clement and business partner Buddy Boe.
The tamale stack alternates layers of masa and pork carnitas
Fusion flavor, homegrown talent
Clement made her name on a string of Food Network competition shows and parlayed the prize money into starting her own catering and private chef company, Sophisticated Southern Plates. She quietly racked up a customer list of visiting celebrities and professional athletes. She even catered a surprise 40th birthday party for Drew Brees.
But long before that, the LaPlace native was crowned Andouille Queen in the Louisiana festival circuit and earned her kitchen chops cooking for her family.
Boe, also from LaPlace, was previously head of the River Parishes Tourist Commission, where he spearheaded the Andouille Trail, a culinary hook to entice visitors to the region.
His parents, Fege and Gary Boe have, for two decades ran Buddy B’s, a downhome cafe in Garyville for red beans on Monday, shrimp stew on Fridays and po-boys anytime.
He finally persuaded the parents to retire from the restaurant business, but Boe wanted to keep it going.
So he sat down with Clement for a drink to talk business; they had more than one drink, it turns out, and made a plan for more than one restaurant. They together formed a new company, Sophisticated Hospitality Group, which rolls together Buddy B’s and Clement’s catering and private chef business, and adds the new Santos.
In Clement, Boe sees a homegrown rising star; Santos is her showcase.
“It’s taking her flair and abundant talent and giving her an amazing setting to work in,” said Boe. “We’re trying to create that balance where everyone feels comfortable.”
Buddy Boe and chef Natasha St. Pierre Clement tapped their River Parishes roots to develop their Latin fusion restaurant Santos in Luling
River Parish pride
The name Santos (Spanish for saints) is a reference to St. James, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes, the heartland of the River Parishes region.
The catfish on the menu is from the fishing village Des Allemands just down the highway, the cypress for the bar top came from a builder friend with a stash of the prized local timber.
In details and broad strokes, Clement sees the restaurant as an ode to her home, infused with modern culinary energy.
“It’s elevated comfort food with an attitude,” she said. “Our motto is Louisiana roots, Latin attitude.”
Clement also believes there’s a compelling business case for doing something different in a River Parishes restaurant.
“Everyone around here knows how to cook,” she said. “So what you can do is take what people know and give it a twist, something they aren’t quite expecting and aren’t cooking at home.”
An early look at some of her signatures dishes tells the tale.
Shrimp aguachile with avocado and pineapple
Aguachile is a close cousin to ceviche, with more spice. At Santos, you can drag plump shrimp through a brightly tangy liquid and stack them on plantain chips with a bit of avocado, pickled onion and grilled pineapple.
The tamale stack turns a hardy pan-Latin staple into a tower of flavor, with alternating layers of masa and abundant pork cooked down to the texture of barbecue.
The “Latin-oodles” bowl is Clement’s send-up of pasta-laya, a dish for which she has no affection. Her way of transforming the idea into something she likes starts with chorizo and shrimp and trinity tangled up in thin, Filipino pancit noodles to carry the chile-spiked sauce.
The shrimp and grits look like they follow the usual script. But Santos folds in more flavor — the grits are inspired by Mexican street corn, with roasted corn and a spicy-sweet sauce mixing bacon and pico de gallo.
All around the restaurant, there’s a mix of tropical style and Gothic, church-like elements. What was once a closet-sized cove for video poker machines is now the restaurant’s wine cellar, stocking a collection with quite a few South American labels.
One area is dedicated to the Cloud 9, a lounge just off the dining room with an altar-like bar. In the fall, look for a second patio area off the bar with a fire pit, live music and cigars.
“We want to strike a balance so that this restaurant is comfortable for everyone,” said Boe.