Contact: Buddy Boe 

Santos to offer Southern favorites with Latin flavor​




AUG 17, 2021

Food Network alum brings Latin fusion home to the River Parishes at new restaurant Santos

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.


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.”


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.

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.

The tamale stack alternates layers of masa and pork carnitas​

Buddy Boe and chef Natasha St. Pierre Clement tapped their River Parishes roots to develop their Latin fusion restaurant Santos in Luling​

Shrimp aguachile with avocado and pineapple​

12713 Hwy 90

Luling LA 70070​

Louisiana roots, Latin attitude

Natasha Clement
Executive Chef​

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