Jesse Romero to bring Acadiana flavor to White Star Market

    Jesse Romero, a Baton Rouge resident who appeared on FOX’s MasterChef competition, plans to bring Acadiana cooking to Clark Gaines’ White Star Market on Government Street.

    Romero’s restaurant will be called Robear Ln. and will feature a variety of Acadiana-inspired dishes with a rotating menu of meats and Cajun-style sides served daily. The menu staple will be deboned chicken and pork tenderloins stuffed with boudin, sausage, cornbread or seafood stuffing.

    “It’s basically all kinds of cool stuff that Baton Rouge doesn’t have,” Romero says.

    The theme and name are an ode to Romero’s parents, who taught him how to cook along with his grandparents. His father is from New Iberia, and passed down the Acadiana-style of cooking to his son.

    “It’s kind of tied in with where they’re from and what they’ve done for me,” he says.

    The idea for Robear Ln. has also been ruminating in Romero’s head for two to three years, but Romero says he never found the right situation to make it happen until he and White Star Market owner Clark Gaines approached each other about Romero joining the gourmet food hall.

    “It seems like the perfect opportunity to get all of these ideas into a cool place,” Romero says, adding the market-style fits his business model perfectly because he will also sell homemade beef jerky and pickled vegetables in mason jars for customers to take home.

    “While Jesse’s culinary talents are certainly a known quantity, I was particularly drawn to his excitement and passion to having his own concept at White Star,” Gaines says in a statement. “He has a clear vision of what he wants in his own concept here.”

    Since his MasterChef experience, Romero has been making appearances and cooking in private settings. He also served as the sous chef at Berckmans Place, an invite-only complex at Augusta National Golf Club during The Masters.

    Romero joins Jay Ducote’s Gov’t Taco and Jolie Pearl’s second location, Jolie @ The Market, as the first three tenants announced for White Star Market, a gourmet food hall inside the mixed-use Square 46 development on Government Street.

    Construction on Square 46 is expected to begin in the coming months and could take between nine to 10 months.

    —Ryan Broussard