Louisiana in a Jar

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Sicilian-born chef Sal Impastato goes nationwide with his chef-made Creole-Italian products

Chef Sal Impastato says once you’ve tasted his chef-made, Creole-Italian products, you’ll be hooked. Louisiana locals—and now nationwide consumers—agree. “I started making my sauce and salad dressings in the back of my kitchen at Sal & Judy’s Restaurant. We started making Sal & Judy’s Products here in Louisiana and we will continue to make our products here, no matter how big our company grows,” says Impastato. “Sal & Judy’s Products taste exactly like the Creole-Italian cuisine I make fresh daily in my restaurant, because everything I make is made with fresh, high-quality ingredients and is all natural.”

Sal & Judy’s Restaurant, located in Lacombe, is an acclaimed five-star restaurant. The waiting list to get a table is anywhere from two to six weeks long. The success of the restaurant is evident in its loyal customer base and overwhelming dinner crowds, despite its rather remote location. Customers come from all over Southern Louisiana to get a taste of Creole-Italian food in a place where it has been perfected. Since 1974, Impastato has served the likes of John Goodman, Frankie Avalon, Calvin Cash, Hank Stram, Bum Phillips, Bobby Hebert, Bruce Sutter, Billy Kilmer, Bob Livingston, and former governors Huey P. Long, Edwin Edwards, and Dave Treen.

About 10 years ago, the demand for Sal & Judy’s in-house pasta sauces and salad dressings grew so large that Impastato decided to share his kitchen with his customers by creating a line of Sal & Judy’s products. Upon its inception, the line included only two products: Italian dressing and original tomato sauce. Today, Sal & Judy’s Products LLC is in the process of moving into a 20,000-square-foot-plus kitchen and distribution facility. The popular line now includes 19 products, from sauces and marinades to salad dressings, extra-virgin olive oil and olive salad. Sal & Judy’s pasta sauce is ranked the number one selling specialty sauce in New Orleans, beating out other major brands.

The Impastato family is hands on, and they can be seen in the kitchen at Sal & Judy’s every night serving up delicious Creole-Italian-style cuisine. “This restaurant means everything to me, that is why I am here every night. My products are made with 100-year old recipes that I brought to America from Sicily. When I visit my mama in Sicily, she still prepares our favorite dishes the way she did when I was a young boy. She is the inspiration behind everything that I have done,” says Impastato.

The new facility will open in September 2007 and cost between $5 million and $8 million. Sal & Judy’s Products plans to employ between 10 and 15 new employees once they get settled into the new kitchen and distribution facility. “It has been a long time waiting, and our whole team is so excited. With this new facility, it was important for us to purchase the right equipment that still allows us that hands-on cooking process,” says Impastato. “The integrity of the product will and always will be our number one priority.”

Sal & Judy’s Products can be found in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Rhode Island, Washington, Wisconsin and Utah.