Why? It’s the kids in the street, they say.
Co-owner Judie Sowards tells us this morning that she and her son and co-owner, Ryan Sowards, have counted more than 100 people hanging out in the pedestrian-only section of Wall St. on which Beignets resides.
“They are there all day yelling profanity and asking the customers for food. They threatened both me and Ryan,” says Sowards.
The restaurant opened in early July and featured an extensively detailed interior that was designed by an outside firm, as we detailed in this story prior to the opening. The Sowards went as far as to travel to Europe in search of influences for the space.
But now, the space will soon be vacant. Sowards says she isn’t sure what the family’s next step is, but is open to the possibility of selling the spot. Reopening in another location, however, isn’t in the cards.
“We’ve used all of our savings,” she says.
Despite the high overhead cost to custom shape the interiors of the restaurant, Sowards attributes the closing exclusively to the young people who’ve taken to congregating outside the business. Things were going well at Beignets, she says, but then the crowds outside the business began to grow around the end of August — about the same time construction began on the nearby STA terminal.
Soon, Sowards said business was a third of what it was earlier in the summer.
Beignets addressed the city council on the issue and plan to continue pursuing it.
“We had to put 34 people on unemployment for the sake of 106 kids who don’t want to work,” says Sowards.