West Baton Rouge Parish local businesses will be ready for customers when allowed to reopen


PORT ALLEN, La. (BRPROUD)– Many local businesses in West Baton Rouge Parish are putting customers first by temporarily closing their doors. Couyon’s Barbecue Owner Paul Mldenka said he will wait until he gets a green light from the Governor to allow dine-in services, but when that happens he said they will be back and better than ever. “I know the team is ready and logistically we are ready, but we are going to adhere to the orders of our local leaders and I think when the community is ready and when people are comfortable and ready to come back into our dining room we will welcome them with open arms and we will be ready for them,” Mldenka said.

Mldenka said West Baton Rouge Parish is used to seeing thousands of workers passing through the area which make up a majority of their business. During this time while many are not working, this has severely impacted his business. “We depend on those workers being here, without those tens of thousands of workers in our community throughout the week it’s had a major economic impact on our parish,” Mldenka said.

The Poboy House reopened months ago under new ownership, the business was only open for a few months before temporarily closing their doors because of the Coronavirus. “We have a lot of at risk staff, it’s just not worth the risk,” Sanchez said. “You can imagine having to shut down for a month, that really kind of wrecks your idea of what your business is and what your business is doing when it’s so young,” Owner Chris Sanchez said. Despite the hardship Chris and his wife Christina are making the best of this time.

“We look at this as an opportunity to do something new,” Sanchez said. Since temporarily closing the couple has focused on adding extra seating, new ideas for the menu and adding a full service bakery within the restaurant. Using her experience in a grocery store bakery, Christina Sanchez now bakes her own cakes. Sanchez said she has seen an increase in demand for her pastries since the governor’s stay at home mandate was enforced. Since her restaurant doors closed she has been hard at work. “I’ve been practicing every single day perfecting everything, working on new recipes lots of stuff for people to try,” Sanchez said.

“It’s really exciting to have something on the west side that we just don’t have,” Chris Sanchez said. The couple hopes to open to the public again soon, but not until it is safe to do so.

Couyon’s Barbecue is offering to-go orders only. The Poboy House is only accepting cake orders at this time.

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