After 38 years in business, Brunet’s Cajun Restaurant will close Saturday.

Geri Meaux, head bartender at the seafood restaurant at 135 S. Flannery Road, said the restaurant has been a Baton Rouge tradition.

Owners and brothers Robert and Billy Brunet are retiring and closing the business.

“It’s all very bittersweet. We’re all crying. But they (the Brunets) are retiring,” Meaux said.

Robert Brunet couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, and a number could not be found for Billy Brunet.

Meaux said the brothers are tired and ready to get out of the business.

Both still put in long hours, she said. Robert Brunet still serves as the oyster shucker for Meaux.

The restaurant has about 30 employees.

Robert Brunet, a Larose native, played running back at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. He was drafted in 1968 by the Washington Redskins and played eight seasons there before retiring.

The Brunets started the company in 1973 as a seafood delivery business, according to the Business Associates of Baton Rouge website. In 1974, the family opened a Cajun Seafood Market.

In 1977, the Brunets opened a restaurant called “The Galley,” changing its name in the early 1980s to Brunet’s Cajun Restaurant. Brunet’s was known for its seafood dishes — made from family recipes — and could seat more than 300 people.

Meaux said hotels still send customers to the restaurant, and people are still coming in from out of state to visit.