A proud neighborhood eatery has a new look on the inside, while it continues to practice the art of the great casual meal. Interior renovations were recently completed at Lafayette’s Saint Street Inn, adding additional bar space and smoothing the flow for customers and employees alike.
For years, Saint Street Inn has offered a laid back environment and thoughtful, delicious fare. Owner Nathan Stubbs and the various chefs who’ve graced the kitchen line have struck a balance of offering their guests clever yet familiar menu items, craft cocktails, and local beers in their comfortable neighborhood setting. The restaurant occupies a former home just one block off Johnston St., enjoying close proximity to downtown, the University of Louisiana Lafayette, and many other residential areas. The sign on the room proclaims “Farm to Table,” and the logo is a nod to the classic architecture of the area.
Stubbs seized the downtime required for the renovation to refocus the food and beverage program for his restaurant. Upon reopening, he’s continued to offer dishes centered around fresh, local ingredients, rotating the selections on the menu to feature items like their delicious Heirloom Tomato Toast at their seasonal peak. He understands however, that customers tend to miss their favorites if they are removed. As a remedy, the team offers their best sellers, such as the Scotch Egg and Cajun Cuban, full time, sometimes switching the accompaniments from some of the dishes to ensure fresh, peak-of-season produce and seasonal harmony.
Stubbs also has revitalized the cocktail program as the restaurant reopens with its new bar. There’s a new cocktail menu featuring their classics as well as new choices made from fresh squeezed juices, interesting spirits and mixers, and seasonal herbs and other garnishes. Some of those herbs are even grown on site in planter boxes situated around the exterior of the building. The new cocktail program synchs seamlessly with Saint Street Inn’s long standing food philosophy of offering fresh, local goods.
In the kitchen, with Jared Harner at the helm, those local ingredients are not simply present on the menu, but often are the highlight of the dishes themselves. Seasonal menu slots rotate and dishes come together as ingredients become available. Stubbs says the food “moves with the season.” The team enjoys keeping it familiar yet evolving and progressing to always offer something new.
One of those newer menu items is, as Nathan puts it, “a nice, messy appetizer salad.” It’s a fried green tomato dish with a buttermilk-feta dressing and a fig-balsamic accent. Another dish, Ratatouille with a grilled polenta cake and house made ricotta cheese, shows the care taken to use local ingredients while making nearly everything from scratch. Local and regional producers, such as Belle Ecorce Farms cheeses, Covey Rise Farms produce, and Cellar Salt Company, are recognized on the menu and chalkboard specials when they make appearances in the food.
Saint Street Inn also features excellent outdoor dining options. There is a large, covered front porch housing numerous tables, as well as a breezeway with several more. The breezeway is where you’ll find much of the edible landscaping providing the bar and the kitchen with fresh herbs and the like. It also houses a small stage where the restaurant features live music for Sunday Brunch and its Thursday Jazz Night, which will also be Oyster Night as fall’s milder temperatures approach.
In all, Saint Street Inn, owner Nathan Stubbs, and the rest of the team deliver a great casual dining experience. The newly renovated neighborhood restaurant features the same local flavors and ingredients diners have come to expect, while always offering something new. They aim to provide a comfortable environment that functions as a friendly place to eat, drink, and gather, but really they’re just being good neighbors.