Butler Callahan Holdings, the development company that owns the Roly Poly property at Jefferson and Tchoupitoulas, requested the city’s permission in March to tear down the Roly Poly and an adjacent house on Octavia Street in preparation to build a Regions Bank in their place. After a series of public hearings, the city granted approval for both demolitions in April, and Roly Poly business owner Katy Roubion said she has now received notice from Butler Callahan to leave the building by the end of May.
Roubion and her husband had initially hoped to find a new Uptown location for a Roly Poly, somewhere with commercial zoning, ample parking and a building that would not require much of a build-out, she said. That combination proved more difficult to find than they expected, she said late last week, so instead they have decided to sell or close the Uptown business’s franchise rights and equipment.
The notice to vacate by May 31 is sooner than the owners had hoped, Roubion said. She and her husband had hoped to keep the restaurant open for the summer, possibly subletting from Regions Bank until construction was ready to begin, to scout a new location.
“We were actually thinking we would stay open a little bit long, but it’s not really a shocker,” Roubion said. “I do wish we had had a little more time.”
The Roubions have two other Roly Poly stores outside the city limits, and both of those will remain open. Any employees who want to transfer will be welcome to do so, Roubion said.
The decision to close the store — which has been open for 10 years, and broke national sales records after being one of the first restaurants in the area to reopen after Hurricane Katrina — is disappointing, Roubion said, but not entirely unexpected. The land has changed ownership several times over the years, and redevelopment rumors have been a constant.
“There’s been a ‘For Sale’ sign for years, so it’s something we always knew would possibly come,” said Dennis Roubion in an interview after the demolition request was granted. “We knew that it was going to happen eventually.”