Dustin Staggers closes final Louisville restaurant

Dustin Staggers is chef and co-owner of Roux. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Dustin Staggers is chef and co-owner of Roux. | Photo by Steve Coomes

Dustin Staggers quietly closed his last restaurant, making it the third eatery in Louisville he has shuttered this year.

The New Orleans-inspired Roux had its last day of business on Sunday, Sept. 25, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.

The post did not say why it closed or hint at Staggers’ future and whether the Florida native plans to stay in Louisville or open a new restaurant.

Staggers did not return a call for comment, but he discussed Roux’s closure in a podcast with chef Griffin Paulin a week ago for Paulin’s blog Kitchen Banter. In the podcast, which went up Sept. 23, Staggers said: “This will be the first and last interview I will be doing. This is my one time talking about this, and then I’m off into the sunset.”

The podcast offered some insight into why he made the decision and addressed what Staggers has been up to lately.

“I’m relaxing. I am enjoying my life for the first time,” Staggers said. “I built my first business since I was young and worked really hard to open my restaurants, and for the first time, I’m not necessarily seeing the fruits of that labor.”

Staggers built Roux on the back of prior success. He started a tax lien due diligence company called SEI (Staggers Entreprises Inc.), which he continued to operate while working as a chef and restaurateur. The company’s status is currently listed as inactive on the Florida Secretary of State’s website because it has not filed a required annual report; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean the business is no longer operating.

“At the time, I thought that was what made me happy. I thought striving for more and pushing as much as I could and pushing the limits — which certainly wasn’t helpful to push as hard as we were doing — made me feel like I was happy, and as I stepped away from the restaurants a little bit in Myrtle Beach and started enjoying the most simple of things …it really made me start to wonder if what I thought was my pinnacle of happiness was actually the truth,” Staggers told Paulin.

He added that he still loves cooking and teaching others, but he didn’t like everything else that comes along with it.

“I don’t know if this is an age thing for me or a been-through-the-ringer, had ups and downs, but I think at this point, what I see as making me happy — none of it involves restaurants,” Staggers said.

He called Roux “his baby” but wasn’t upset to say goodbye.

“I was gonna say regretfully I am closing Roux, but it’s not regretfully, actually. It’s not with any shame or with any damage to my pride,” he said in the podcast, adding that he is excited to create a life, be it on the beach or in the mountains, and raise the child he is expecting with his girlfriend, as well as focus time on his more profitable ventures outside the restaurant industry. “I can look back at Roux and be proud of it.”

Staggers didn’t give up on a possible re-entry into the restaurant industry but said he doesn’t have any plans to do so in the future.

Roux’s closure comes six months after America. The Diner. shut down and seven months after Epic Sammich Co. went out of business. The latter was replaced with vegan restaurant NOLAFARE, which recently was renamed LOVAFARE. And the diner’s space is now an El Nopal Mexican Restaurant.

To hear more from Staggers about his decision to close Roux, his opinions on the restaurant industry and his new life, check out Kitchen Banter’s first podcast episode.