Cajun restaurant Papa Roux closing doors for good

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A headline-making Indianapolis restaurant is getting ready to close its doors for good. Papa Roux announced its last day will be Oct. 14th after 11 years serving Cajun food on the east side.

Eating there has been a family affair for many over the years.

"We enjoy coming, it's always a good time, good food," Samantha and Andrew Lantz said.

"We've been coming to the Roux since it very first started," Chelsea Merriman said.

Her photo is even on the door, along side those of other loyal customers. Inside, the walls are covered with the drawings and messages customers have left behind. And outside, is the porch where a couple who met at the restaurant came back to get married.

"We have established not just a clientele, not just a customer base, but an extended family," general manager Art Bouvier said.

But now Bouvier said the reward isn't enough.

"Too much constant issues and problems with everything from the city, the landlord, the facilities, my vendors, the employee pool in this town is actually not what it was 11 years ago," he said.

The restaurant has made headlines in the past, including hiring a boy they found walking in the snow and offering deep discounts to those who could show their license to carry after a robbery.  Bouvier said the town has changed, the atmosphere is hostile to small business and customers can't afford to be regulars anymore.

"This town was not so heavily chain friendly earlier on but it definitely is now," he said. "The codes and regulations in this town, though they are what they are, I believe they really need to be revamped."

It's not the only family-owned restaurant to close this year. Earlier in the year, Fountain Square's Santorini Greek Kitchen closed, too.

"For independent restaurants it's very difficult," owner Jeanette Sawi said of the climate for restaurants right now.

"It's a very hard decision to make the time when you decide to close a restaurant," owner Taki Sawi said.

Now they're focusing on their catering and event center, the Biltwell Event Center. The pair said they can now enjoy their free time.

Bouvier said there's some consideration of continuing to cater, but for now it appears the focus is on cherishing the moments the last two weeks bring.

"It's sad there have been nothing but tears," Bouvier said.

The restaurant's last day is Oct. 14th. It will be open Tuesday-Saturday with dinner on Friday.

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