Less than 24 hours after Sammy’s Grill in Prairieville and Creole Cabana in Baton Rouge announced permanent closures came another bombshell for Baton Rouge residents: Sammy’s Grill on Highland Road joined the pack, shutting its doors for good Jan. 10.
Its permanent closure—announced around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, in a Facebook post—marks the end of 32 years of business, during which time Sammy’s became something of a Baton Rouge staple, known for its seafood, burgers and Southern cuisine. But for those who knew the restaurants’ financial picture, the announcements, while sad, come as little surprise.
“We’re sorry it didn’t work for Sammy [Nagem], but we understood their financial situation when we bought them,” says Donnie Jarreau, who, along with Ryan Jumonville, bought both Sammy’s Grill properties from Sammy Nagem in late May.
All three restaurants are owned by Nagem, whose two Sammy’s Grill restaurants faced eviction after Jarreau filed suit against them in December for failing to pay their rent.
However, Jarreau didn’t evict the restaurants; instead, he tells Daily Report that Nagem made the decision to close them, pressed by “dire” financial problems that Jarreau says went beyond missed rent payments.
Still, Jarreau says he doesn’t have any regrets about going into business with the restaurant, citing Nagem’s local legacy.
“As investors, we still feel confident in this investment,” says Jarreau, speaking for himself and Jumonville. “They’ve got great demographics, traffic counts, locations, histories of high-volume sales—they check all the boxes.”