After nearly five years in business, The Pelican House in Baton Rouge will close this weekend.

In a news release, chef Gavin Jobe said the restaurant and bar will "serve its last guests and close its doors for good" on Sunday, March 4.

The Pelican House opened in March 2013 at 2572 Citiplace Court and transitioned from a bar to a restaurant last September. The move wasn't quite enough, according to the release. 

"A difficult location, unfavorable lease conditions and unforeseen costly building repairs are all influencing factors in our decision," Jobe said. "But the biggest single factor (for closing) is passion."

Another determining factor in the close was Jobe spreading himself thin, splitting time between The Pelican House and Meribo, his modern Italian restaurant located in Covington. Jobe said he also wants to spend more time with his family.

"I want to grow as a husband and father," he said. "It's easy to justify long hours when you care as deeply as we all do, but it isn't always sustainable."

In the release, Jobe said he has been happy to be a part of the Baton Rouge restaurant scene, feeding thousands of guests and making new friends: "It has truly been a privilege to be involved in our community in every way."

However, Jobe had a request to capital city restaurantgoers: "I implore you to raise your culinary standards." 

"There are a few great chefs in this town making great food. Support those people," he said. "Stop flocking to chain restaurants. Stop asking chefs to change their menus, and stop accepting mediocrity. Ask for seasonal, local (when it makes sense), creative food, and embrace the chefs and restaurants who deliver it to you.

"We are only an hour away from New Orleans, one of the greatest food cities on Earth, and often times, it is hard to tell. Go there, eat the food, and come back with those expectations." 

Tom Hanks dines at Velvet Cactus 

You might know him as Woody from "Toy Story." Or Captain Phillips. Or one of the astronauts on "Apollo 13." Or "Forrest Gump." 

He was the big kid in "Big." He told female baseball players: "There's no crying in baseball." He went up against a volcano. He helped save Private Ryan. He was Sully. 

Do you know who I'm talking about? I'm talking about Tom Hanks, ya dunce! 

Why? Well, the Oscar-winner is in Baton Rouge, filming the upcoming World War II naval drama "Greyhound." And on Monday, he ate at the Velvet Cactus, a Tex-Mex restaurant on Old Hammond Highway. 

As you probably can tell, I'm a big fan of Hanks. So I'll now dedicate some space in hopes of reaching him directly.

Dear Mr. Hanks,

If you're reading this article (I'm assuming you are because you were in "The Post." Hello!), I write about food here in the capital city. Some locals would say I'm a bit of a Baton Rouge "foodie" or "gourmand." In my spare time, I'm known as Chef Matt.

But that's all lagniappe (Louisiana-speak for "a lil' somethin' extra"). What I really want to say is next time you want to get a bite and you're looking for a suggestion on where to dine, I'm available.

Thank you for your service. Sincerely, 


Dinner on the Patio is back

Danny Wilson's three-course dinners at Brickyard South return next week, and the menu sounds wonderful. 

Dinner on the Patio starts at 7 p.m. Monday at the downtown bar at 174 South Blvd. The event is available to prepaid guests only. To make your reservations and purchase tickets, visit Tickets are $25. 

Next week's menu starts with a Ponchatoula strawberry prosciutto salad, paired with spiked strawberry lemonade. The entree is black catfish, topped with a Kahlua crawfish cream sauce, paired with a Kahlua and Absolut Russian. For dessert, Wilson is serving New Orleans bread pudding with a Jameson glaze and Irish iced coffee. 

Upcoming food events you can't miss

  • Dave Remmetter will grill barbecue chicken with mac 'n' cheese and barbecue beans during The Radio Bar's Free Food Sunday. The event runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the bar at 3079 Government St. Service will be by group numbers, so arrive early. Ages 21 and up.  
  • Chef Matt Reed's next Sip & Saute class will feature an "Irish Fun Menu" of soda break with sausage and peppers, Guinness beef stew and crunchy, sticky "Banoffee" pie. The class starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Acadian House Kitchen + Bath Design (6971 Exchequer Drive). Tickets are $40 at
  • Kalurah Street Grill hosts a Jameson Irish whiskey dinner at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The evening starts with a black barrel mule and hand-passed hors d'oeuvres. The four-course menu includes a shrimp & bay scallop ceviche, pork sausage ravioli, braised bison short rib and Jasmine posset. Each course will be paired with a cocktail. $65 at

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.