Through its approach to serving food—and certainly with its motto: “Eat Life with a Fat Spoon”—the Fat Spoon Café manages to capture the gusto with which South Louisianans approach life.
Owners Sonny Garcia and his daughter, Lisa Schwing, are embarking on a new adventure together in the Fat Spoon Café, although it’s not a totally unfamiliar venture. Sonny, a well-established local attorney, was in the restaurant business on the southshore back in the ’70s and early ’80s, and Lisa has gained a reputation as a designer.
“We’ve wanted to go into business together for some time now, and I told her the one thing I knew about was the restaurant business,” says Sonny. “We decided if we found the right spot under the right circumstances, we would do it. After a couple of years, we discovered this location here on Highway 59 and decided to start the business.” The café is in an area filled with local businesses whose employees were among the restaurant’s first customers; now, they are loyal diners.
“The whole idea of this concept was to do things a little differently than is normally done in the café business,” Sonny says. “We wanted to be unique.” Homemade ingredients like corned beef and roast pork form the basis of the café’s signature spins on the Reuben and Cuban sandwiches as well as a Cochon de Lait po-boy.
Customers appreciate that it’s a family-run restaurant. “There’s always one of us here,” says Lisa. “If I’m not here, he’s here. That’s important to us, and the customers have gotten to know us. We already have regulars that come in every day.”
Sonny’s wife, Diane, was instrumental in developing the Fat Spoon, helping with everything from menu items to the décor. The walls feature her fine art photographs and also showcase artwork by Janet Bouby, the Fat Spoon’s specialty cook.
Sonny says, “Janet’s the one who actually cooks the corned beef and the pork, the homemade meatballs, our custom salad dressings and the hot lunch specials. People have gotten to know her, and I’m really excited about her cooking.”
Besides the lunchtime specialties, the Fat Spoon Café offers a full breakfast menu until 10:30 a.m. and all day on Sundays. Three TVs, Mimosas and Bloody Marys make the restaurant a perfect place to watch Saints games on Sundays. “Who Dats” can dine on everything the menu offers until the game is over. “We do Belgian waffles, sweet potato waffles, wings and waffles and various types of poached egg combinations, from eggs Benedict to eggs NOLA with fried tomatoes and mushrooms, one of our own creations,” Sonny says.
Lisa notes that the covered porch outside, with a deck and 10 tables, is great for the nice fall and spring weather. “There’s a bar out there, and it’s really conducive to having a fun gathering.”
So who came up with the Fat Spoon name and motto? Sonny laughs, saying, “I wanted to call it the Goofy Goose.” He was vetoed during a family pow-wow after Lisa came up with Fat Spoon Café and her brother Sean penned “Eat Life with a Fat Spoon.” Sonny says, “At the end of day, I thought Fat Spoon was really great.”
And it is.
Fat Spoon Café is located at 68480 Highway 59 in Mandeville. 809-2929.Filed under: Culinary Arts, Food and Drink, Football, Last Bite, November-December 2011