Popular LaPlace eatery closes abruptly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010



LAPLACE – With no fanfare and no prior notice to customers and employees, Bull’s Corner Restaurant in LaPlace abruptly shut down operations after 25 years in business in St. John the Baptist Parish.

A typed message on the front doors to the popular eatery and meeting spot notified would-be customers of the closure: “Bulls Corner is closed. Thank you for your business for the last 25 years.” A similar message was sent out Monday via e-mail to people on a mailing list for the restaurant.

Sunday was the last day of operations for the restaurant, and there is no indication of who or what may end up at the prime spot on West Airline Highway.

The sudden closure took many in the community by surprise, including several employees, who showed up for work Monday morning only to find the front and rear doors locked and adorned with the printed note.

“It was certainly somewhat of a surprise because we were just open Sunday night,” said Andrew Eldridge, a cook and server at the restaurant. “I think some of us knew business had been slower, but we didn’t expect closure to be so sudden.”

Attempts to contact the restaurant’s owners, Mike Norton and Dave McDonald, were unsuccessful. Phone calls to the restaurant went unanswered, and no one responded to repeated knocks on a back door of the kitchen Monday.

Eldridge, who has worked at Bull’s Corner off and on over the past three years, eluded to a few clues the owners may have been hinting at impending closure. Eldridge said the restaurant turned down supply orders for beer and soft drinks Friday and said managers were not taking any new food orders.

“They had been getting tight with suppliers recently before Friday,” Eldrige said. “And the restaurant had been scrounging for customers. We just were not given any notice of what their plans were.”

After operating in New Orleans since 1966, Bull’s Corner opened a 3,000-square-foot restaurant in LaPlace in 1985, according to the restaurant’s website. The operation eventually grew into a 9,000-square-foot restaurant with more than 60 employees and seating for 300. The adjacent banquet halls were popular locations for meetings, birthdays and other community events.

The restaurant’s closure leaves a large vacancy in the Cambridge Corner strip mall which it helped anchor for more than two decades.