Two LSU-area restaurants added to a list of business closings around Burbank and Lee, with announcements on Facebook Monday.
Mellow Mushroom closed its pizza parlor at 4250 Burbank after 19 years of operations. Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Doughnuts said it was shutting down its location at 216 W. Lee Drive and moving it to Cut Off after 6 years in business.
Over the past year, several restaurants around campus have shut down, including Mooyah Burgers, Fries and Shakes and Halal Guys, both at 320 Lee, the Piccadilly To Go at 216 W. Lee, located at the other end of the shopping center from Mr. Ronnie’s, and Breck’s Bistro at 3930 Burbank.
Justin Langlois, a regional vice president with Stirling Properties, said there are a number of factors that have led to the closings.
For one, there’s no shortage of competition. In recent years, 200,000 square feet of restaurant and grocery space have opened up near campus, much of it from the Arlington Marketplace. Langlois is marketing space in the marketplace, a Rouses Market-anchored development that features Uno Dos Taco and FinBomb Sushi Burritos & Poke Bowls.
Near the marketplace, eateries such Atomic Burger, Chick fil A, Playa Bowls and Rotolo’s Craft & Crust have opened.
“There are a lot of places to eat lunch and dinner,” Langlois said. “There’s not a drought of competition.” Not only that, some of the newer restaurants, such as Rotolo’s and Lit Pizza at 3930 Burbank, were direct competitors to Mellow Mushroom.
Another factor is the restaurants near Arlington Marketplace have something the eateries on Burbank and Lee don’t have: a supermarket next door. “There’s so much more traffic with a grocery store,” he said. “Co-tenants play a major part.”
And finally, the seasonality of the student market is an issue for some businesses. Not only do sales slow down in the summer, but there are dips in activity between the fall and spring semesters and over spring break.
“Franchisors in other student-heavy markets tell people to be prepared to budget accordingly,” Langlois said.
The former Mellow Mushroom spot will be appealing to tenants because it’s a finished restaurant space with a built-in clientele. “The most likely tenant there is someone in the market, but not in that area,” he said.