Well, that was fast.
Less than a week after French gastropub Anna’s opened
in the Marigny, the restaurant — which boasted a no-tipping policy and a $15 starting wage for servers — has closed. Over the weekend, the restaurant's website
featured a disclaimer stating the spot was undergoing an "emergency closing," and would be closed till further notice.
Christopher Jones, a manager and part owner of the restaurant, confirmed Monday (June 27) that the Royal Street bistro closed Friday (June 24), one week after it opened. What sparked the sudden shutter isn’t clear, but it appears to be related to a fallout among the owners.
According to Jones, owner Jean Ranguin “disappeared with all the money” when payroll was due last week and has since refused to pay the restaurant’s employees or the rent due at 1913 Royal St, a space formerly home to ICHI Japanese Ramen House and before that, SukhoThai.
Ranguin and his wife, Catherine, and daughter, Anna (the restaurant's namesake), moved from Paris to New Orleans earlier this year to open the Francophile spot.
“On Friday, (Ranguin) showed back up at the restaurant and said that he doesn’t need to pay any of the employees or the rent or the bills,” Jones said when reached by phone. “I don’t know what’s going on. I have no idea.”
But Ranguin, when reached by email, disputed those allegations, claiming that it was Jones, and not him, who was “responsible for sinking the business.”
Ranguin did not want to comment any further before speaking to his attorney.
Jones, who says his stake in the business was managerial and not financial, says he is unable to pay the employees himself and issued an email to Ranguin demanding full payment by July 1.
“My employees are calling and texting me off the hook. This is the absolute worst. In all the businesses I’ve ever worked in, I’ve never worked somewhere where the employees didn’t get paid,” Jones said.
Jones says it’s not clear if the restaurant will reopen in the future.