Luling chef plans to bring smash burger concept to parish

A chef who was born and raised in Luling is hoping to bring his smash burger concept to the parish with a series of pop-up eateries.

Eli Wilson, 31, currently works at Emeril’s flagship restaurant in New Orleans and recently started Tallow Smash Burgers. His first pop-up will take place in Luling Sunday at 208 Albania Dr. from noon to 3 p.m.

“This will start off with a small menu to see if people will go for what we are going to put out,” he said. “I would eventually like to expand out and go to different areas of the parish once my schedule allows.”

Eli Wilson

Wilson said his first menu will be limited to two styles of burgers. The first will be his traditional smash burger made of black Angus brisket patties he is going to ground in house. The burger will include sharp cheddar, house bread, bread and butter pickles and Tallow sauce.

The second burger will have the same black Angus brisket patties but will include foie gras aioli, red onion jam, Port Salut cheese and house-smoked bacon.

“Really it didnt take too long to come up with this idea. I love making burgers and I love eating them,” he said. “I figured it would be a way to bring something to Luling that we really dont have.”

Wilson grew up around the stove watching his grandmother cook at her house, so he took an interest in cooking at an early age. After high school, he worked at several New Orleans restaurants before going to culinary school.

“Ive mainly worked in French and Italian restaurants, but I love making all different kinds of fresh pasta,” he said. “I love burgers as well, but pasta has always been the one thing that just never feels like work.”

Wilson said Tallow’s consistency will set them apart from other dining options in the parish.

“A lot of these restaurants that open here in the parish, not knocking anyone, most places just arent very consistent. Theres very few people in this parish with a true culinary background,” he said. “A restaurant here is a gamble to survive, so I figure why not start out small and give it a shot.”

For more information, visit Tallow Smash Burgers on Facebook by searching for Tallow – smash burgers. The pop-up this Sunday will only take cash.