Red Stick Social, a Mid City events space, has suspended its regular day-to-day operations but is still open for private functions.
Will Durham, area manager, said the decision was made about two weeks ago. The facility is set to host the monthly Mid City Makers Market Saturday.
“We’re going to regroup,” Durham said. “We’re waiting to see once the restrictions are lifted so we can operate normally.”
About 15 employees lost their jobs as a result of the move.
Red Stick Social is a combination restaurant, bar, live music venue and bowling alley. The business has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic and efforts taken to limit the spread of the virus, which temporarily shut down live music and bowling.
Even though Gov. John Bel Edwards moved the state into Phase 3 of pandemic restrictions on Friday, that hasn’t provided any relief for Red Stick Social. Durham said the new restrictions are even tighter, because Edwards has set a 10 p.m. cutoff for alcohol sales and ordered that all venues selling liquor close at 11 p.m.
Red Stick Social opened in April 2019 as the centerpiece of the Electric Depot mixed-use development at 1503 Government St. It is located in a 104-year-old building that had been the home of the Baton Rouge Electric Co. Power Plant.
Dyke Nelson, who is developing Electric Depot along with David Weinstein, said Red Stick Social “is trying to survive”. “They have a lot of overhead and without patrons, it becomes a math problem,” he said. Once it becomes profitable to re-open the business full-time, the plan is to re-open.
The other restaurants in Electric Depot – Sweet Society, an Asian dessert shop, and City Roots, a coffee shop – are coping with the pandemic because they are smaller and don’t have a business heavily reliant on alcohol sales like Red Stick Social does, Nelson said. Boru, a ramen and poke restaurant, is set to open soon in the development. Construction is getting ready to start on an Electric Depot location for Blue Corn, a modern Mexican restaurant.
Chris Tyson, president and chief executive officer of Build Baton Rouge, which owns the Electric Depot site, said the shutdown at Red Stick Social is due to the pandemic and the related shutdowns. “Electric Depot is a model of redevelopment for the city,” he said. “We look forward to additional progress and the owners of the development have been very supportive and engaged.”