Beignets goes out of business; owner blames local teens
A local restaurant known for its European dishes is closing after only being open for three months.
Beignets is located on the 100 block of North Wall and it opened on July 13.
Owner Judie Sowards said at first business was booming.
"People love the food. The ambiance is incredible. We were doing really good when we opened. We were doing really good for a first time restaurant," Sowards said.
However, things quickly turned sour. Sowards said shortly after the restaurant opened, Beignets ran into a problem. A group of teenagers would hang out outside the restaurant and Sowards claims they started terrorizing customers. They would beg for money, food and beer.
"All of a sudden we hear someone yelling 'I'm going to kill you' and (the customers) see these kids running down the street and someone coming in real high yelling profanities," Sowards said. "My customers said 'Hey, I'm not coming back here again. I don't want to be bothered during dinner.'"
The business has lost so much money Sowards said she can't afford to stay open. She said business dropped 75 percent last month.
"I couldn't make payroll. I had to borrow money to make pay roll. I don't have any more money. I'm broke, totally broke. I cannot borrow any more," Sowards said.
A local teenager, Harleigh Coulter, hangs out near the restaurant daily.
"It makes me sad because their business is going out and the fact that she's blaming our group. I mean for all she knows it could be someone who is not in this group," Coulter said.
Sowards hopes someone else will buy the restaurant and continue to serve beignets and crepes.
The restaurant will close Thursday at 9 p.m.
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