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A Horatio Alger-type story could be written about Augie Lopez, the immigrant who rose from busboy to entrepreneur.

The story would have its beginning two decades ago when Lopez left his native Puerto Rico to take a job in a Chicago restaurant. It would tell how the energetic 16-year-old was anxious to learn everything he could about the restaurant business. It would describe Lopez as a fast student who quickly learned the ropes.

Augie Lopez wanted to open his own restaurant more than anything. He began scouting the perfect location. He settled on the New Orleans area, which, in his opinion, had the perfect culinary climate.

When he came to New Orleans in 1970, Lopez worked for a year as second chef at Brennan's. This gave him time to get the city's pulse. In 1971, he became a partner in Sal and Sam's Restaurant. Lopez smiles as he describes his duties in this venture. "I worked at everything there," he says. "I was chef, buyer - you just name it and I did it."

Four and a half years later, Lopez opened The Windjammer Restaurant at West End. Later, he sold his interest to open the business he had been planning all those years, Augie's Restaurant on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie.

"The people of Metairie had a problem," Lopez says. "For a special lunch or dinner they had to go to the French Quarter. They had to fight traffic congestion, and all the other hassles of driving back and forth. So I brought a touch of the French Quarter to Metairie where it was needed."

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5725 Jefferson Highway
Harahan, Louisiana 70123

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