Pelican House closing after five years in Baton Rouge

    The Pelican House is shutting its doors after five years in business and will serve its last customers on Sunday, the restaurant’s management announced this morning.

    A statement released by chef Gavin Jobe, general manager Phillip Beard and assistant general manager Ryan Fitzgerald attributes the restaurant’s closure to a difficult location and unforeseen financial issues—and also includes a plea for Baton Rouge “to raise its culinary standards.”

    The Pelican House opened on Citiplace Court in 2013 as a bar specializing in high-end beers, whiskeys and with a limited menu of food options. But last year, the Pelican House transitioned to a full-time restaurant, offering an expanded menu and daily lunch and dinner service in addition to Sunday brunch.

    “Our recent transition from a bar to a restaurant has been beneficial, and was a push in the direction that we see the Baton Rouge food scene headed, but it has not quite been enough,” reads the statement. “A difficult location, unforeseen lease conditions, and unforeseen costly building repairs are all influencing factors in our decision.”

    The statement also notes that Jobe—who splits his time between the Pelican House and Meribo, an Italian restaurant in Covington—had spread himself thin, failing to achieve a work-life balance. The arrangement left with him without room to grow as a chef.

    The statement also addresses Baton Rouge’s culinary tastes and urges locals to support their local restaurants over national chains.

    “I implore you to raise your culinary standards,” the statement reads. “There are few great chefs in this town making great food. Support those people! … We are only an hour from New Orleans, one of the greatest food cities on earth, and often times it is hard to tell. Go there, eat the food and comeback with those expectations.”

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