Community, former employees react to closure of final Sammy’s Grill location

Customers, former employees react to closure of Sammy's Grill

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s officially the end of an era... Sammy’s Grill on Highland Road opened for the final time Friday night (Jan. 10).

It was the last branch of the local restaurant chain, and frequent customers flocked to the establishment to get a final signature seafood dish.

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Sammy’s location in Zachary has been closed since June of 2019. The Central location has been closed for a month now, and the Prairieville Sammy’s has been closed since the first week of January. Now, the Highland location is also closing after our 9News Investigators found financial issues have been plaguing the operation for months.

The parking lot at Sammy’s Grill on Highland was packed Friday night with hungry customers looking to get a last meal of sorts.

“I’m going to miss them. I know my family is going to miss them because they like eating over there at Sammy’s,” said Ray Weems, a loyal customer.

“I finally found a really good place to get a good poboy, so never going to find that anywhere else,” said Hayley Perkins, another loyal Sammy’s customer.

It was a 32-year run for the Highland Road location. The sign in the front of the building read, “We aren’t crying, you’re crying.”

"Since I was 7-years-old, probably 6-years-old," said Lee Kleinpeter, who has been going to Sammy's since he was a child.

Kleinpeter used bring his grandpa to Sammy's twice a day when he could, and he even met his wife there.

“She [his wife] was the bartender, one of the bartenders. Married ever since. Two children, two beautiful girls,” he said.

WAFB’s Lester Duhé went inside Sammy’s and asked for a manager’s permission to shoot some video of the restaurant. The manager declined, saying, “You guys [WAFB] have already done enough.”

Our 9News Investigators found that some of the employees received bad checks a few months ago, like one employee WAFB spoke with, Sydney Gautreau. She worked at the Prairieville location.

“Towards the end, we kind of, I kind of had some issues [with checks], but there was a lot going on, I know,” said Gautreau.

Gautreau is shocked Sammy’s is closing, like everyone else WAFB interviewed, but she says it was a great environment to work in.

“For sure the people, and just the environment that we were in. I loved it, so it is sad,” said Gautreau.

However, one former employee says he's not surprised they closed.

"Just terrible leadership and an unwillingness to accept tough criticism," said Joseph Clement, who says he was fired back in the summer of 2019.

Hate it or love it, there's one less spot for seafood in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas.

“Hopefully, they [Sammy’s] can come back in some point, whether it be 5, 10, 15 years from now,” said Perkins.

Creole Cabana at The Oasis, which is owned by the same people, is also closed as well.

There was no note on the door when WAFB passed by on Friday, Jan. 10.

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