Portico ends run in BR with closure of Southdowns restaurant

    Only about four months after closing its original Baton Rouge restaurant on Coursey Boulevard, Portico also has closed its Southdowns location at 4205 Perkins Road. The closure, which was effective Friday, ends the north Louisiana restaurant chain’s foray into the Baton Rouge market.

    Portico owners Stephen Walker and Kenny O’Neil launched the restaurant in Monroe in 2006 and added a second location in Ruston in 2009. The Coursey restaurant opened in July 2012, with the Perkins Road location added in January this year.

    When they closed the Coursey location, the owners cited a desire to focus on the Southdowns restaurant. At the time, Walker said the Southdowns location “had the most potential.” Walker could not be reached for additional comment in time for this morning’s publication.

    The Perkins Road location, at 3,500 square feet and situated in a corner outparcel of the busy Southdowns Shopping Center, seemingly would be an ideal location for a neighborhood eatery. But Portico’s predecessor, Romacelli Bistro, was also in business for less than a year at the location before closing. Enoteca Marcello’s Wine Bar and Café, which operated in the space prior to Romacelli, closed after less than three years.

    Developer Donnie Jarreau, who owns the shopping center, says the location has nothing to do with the turnover of restaurants in recent years. He says Portico’s owners decided to leave the local market to concentrate on their north Louisiana locations, adding that he hopes to announce a new restaurant tenant by Jan. 1. —Stephanie Riegel

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