THE INVESTIGATORS: Sammy’s Grill on Highland set to close amid mounting financial trouble

Sammy's Grill announces closure of final location on Highland Road effective Jan. 10

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Sammy’s Grill on Highland Road, the last branch of the restaurant chain, is set to close effective Friday, Jan. 10.

The restaurant confirmed the decision on its Facebook page late Thursday evening (Jan. 9).

The decision comes one week after internal messages leaked to the 9News Investigators revealed every location of the restaurant would close except for the Highland Road location as the business worked to combine efforts and resources from its other properties.

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Financial issues have plagued the restaurant operation for months, but the owner insisted he has been working to turn things around. During the week of Christmas, two locations were hit with an eviction lawsuit in court after the landlord claimed the owner of the popular restaurant had fallen behind on rent for at least two months.

According to the suit filed in East Baton Rouge Parish, the restaurant owes more than $50,000 in unpaid rent for October and November of 2019 at the Highland Road location. The monthly rate for the Highland Road location is $25,569.50. Late fees for unpaid rent are $1,278.48.

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The suit also claims owner, Sammy Nagem, failed to furnish a copy of a certificate of general liability insurance for the Baton Rouge location.

“I have reached an agreement with the landlord to get the rent current,” Nagem told WAFB’s Scottie Hunter in an email on Dec. 27, 2019.

An eviction hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 10 in the 19th Judicial District Court. Judge Wilson E. Fields will preside over the case. Several employees have also come forward to the 9News Investigators, claiming they had not received paychecks and the checks they did receive have bounced in recent months.

The Prairieville location closed the first week of January. The Central location has been closed for more than a month now, but the owner then told WAFB it was only until they could make repairs to a busted water pipe he says caused issues inside the restaurant. The Zachary location has been closed since June of 2019. The owner says that closure was to consolidate and reallocate resources for the restaurant.

Sammy’s Grill has served the Baton Rouge community for over 30 years.

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