Risque restaurant quietly closes doors in rural south Georgia

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DARIEN, Ga. - Travelers along Interstate 95 in McIntosh County who like a little extra skin with their chicken sandwiches will have to look elsewhere.

Cafe Risque, which featured nude dancing and a full menu of dinner fare, quietly shut its doors on April 1.

County officials are glad to see it go and are working to make sure it's not replaced by the same kind of business.

Located at Georgia Highway 251 and Interstate 95 at Exit 49, the restaurant attracted truck drivers and other travelers with its pink billboards that proclaimed, "We Bare All!"

Realtor Julie Chapman Amerson, who has the 3-acre property and building listed for sale for $975,000, said owner Asher Sullivan of Alachua, Fla., put the property on the market a few months ago. The club stayed open for a while with a local manager, but business had declined since its heyday in the 1990s.

"The owner's attorney said they were going to liquidate because they weren't making any money," Ms. Amerson said.

County Commission Chairman Boyd Gault pointed out during the commission's regular meeting Tuesday that the club opened in 1990s through the trickery of its founder, the late Jerry Sullivan, when he applied for his business license. Jerry Sullivan was Asher Sullivan's father.

"He said he was going to open a cafe," Gault said, "but he didn't mention any of this other stuff."

The county has an ordinance prohibiting nude dancing at clubs that serve alcohol, but nothing that would prevent a restaurant similar to Cafe Risque from opening in the future.

The commissioners instructed County Attorney Jim Coppage to explore the legalities of a new ordinance that would keep such clubs out of the county.

Commissioner David Stevens said he was glad to the see the club go.

"I think it's a good thing for McIntosh County for it to be gone," he said. "I'm sorry the people who worked there lost their jobs, but there's got to be a better way to make a living."

Mr. Stevens said the club's closing also takes ammunition away from those who would ridicule the small city of Darien and rural McIntosh County.

"It's been a joke," he said. "A lot of people like to poke fun at the county, calling it the Darien Ballet and stuff like that."

Jerry Sullivan, who died at age 46 in 2006, opened similar clubs elsewhere in Georgia and Florida, including one in 2001 in Lavonia off Interstate 85, where he again used deceptive tactics in obtaining a business license.

He told Lavonia officials the restaurant would serve country cooking and would be called Skeeter's Big Biscuits.

After a protracted fight over the restaurant, Mr. Sullivan kept it open and vowed to never sell it to the city. But a third party acquired the property and then the city bought it in July 2008. The city shut down the club and removed the billboards that advertised it from along the highway.

McIntosh County Manager Luther Smart said the Darien club's closing would have little economic impact.

"We might lose a few dollars in sales tax," he said, "but I never saw many cars out there anyway."

Comments (28)

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HotFoot
17
Points
HotFoot 04/22/09 - 08:18 am
0
0

What's interesting is that

What's interesting is that the people who fought to close the place probably believe in an unfettered market--just not in their community. Well, the market did what it's supposed to: It closed what sounds like a hare-brained business due to lack of customers. The city government should have stayed out of it and let the chips fall.

uptheseventhplanet
1
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uptheseventhplanet 04/22/09 - 08:36 am
0
0

They should have always kept

They should have always kept their doors closed. Little children on the street could have looked right in. I'm surprised pedestrian traffic wasn't severely impeded.

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 04/22/09 - 08:43 am
0
0

What are little children

What are little children doing in the street?

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 04/22/09 - 08:45 am
0
0

"I'm sorry the people who

"I'm sorry the people who worked there lost their jobs, but there's got to be a better way to make a living." Yeah like robbing and stealing from people and banks. What a load of bible thumping crap.

Summerville
0
Points
Summerville 04/22/09 - 09:17 am
0
0

that's what the signs are

that's what the signs are for: "slow children playing"

g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 04/22/09 - 09:29 am
0
0

Wow, AugustaVoter!!!! Didn't

Wow, AugustaVoter!!!! Didn't see any religious reference to the article or peoples responses. The place closed because there wasn't enough business. Read it again.

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 04/22/09 - 09:41 am
0
0

I recall a trip to Florida

I recall a trip to Florida with my grandparents back in the 70's to visit my aunt, when my grandfather decided to stop at a roadside market advertising boiled peanuts, hotdogs, etc. Upon approaching the ordering window we were greeted by a scantily clad( I remember distinctly she was weaing a thong) woman. My grandfather pomptly turned around and said, "We're getting the h--- out of here, there's no telling where her fingers have been." I was a teenager back then and it was hilarous. It is even more hilarious when I relate the story today. It brings back fond memories of my grandfather.

The Martian
0
Points
The Martian 04/22/09 - 10:01 am
0
0

Skeeter's Big Biscuits kind

Skeeter's Big Biscuits kind of has a nice ring to it.

SusieQ
1
Points
SusieQ 04/22/09 - 10:32 am
0
0

Great News For Darien, it's a

Great News For Darien, it's a great little town and needs nothing like that in it. SusieQ

alf
0
Points
alf 04/22/09 - 11:21 am
0
0

Oh man.... there goes the

Oh man.... there goes the best chicken sandwich on the East Coast. I guess Zaxby's just moved to #1.

d1zmljqg
735
Points
d1zmljqg 04/22/09 - 12:15 pm
0
0

Well, there are lot of Cafe

Well, there are lot of Cafe Risques still open. Take I-20 over to I-95 and on up into NC and about exit 70 you will find one with a large parking lot - 18 Wheelers taking their break. hee, hee. Google "Cafe Risque" for the many other locations and read of the church battles, etc.

EMAGUY
6
Points
EMAGUY 04/22/09 - 01:28 pm
0
0

Over the weekend, I happended

Over the weekend, I happended to drive by the place. It badly appears to need some paint; the parking lot was littered with trash and other abandoned items. I didn't think the place had been open for many years. I have to admit though, the "Darien Ballet" description was humorous!

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 04/22/09 - 02:00 pm
0
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g-dog express, I am

g-dog express, I am referencing the comment about a better way to make a living. What would that imply except that the Commissioner felt that the business was offensive?If not then, I guess COOKS should find a better way to make a living according to his quote.

142
Points
Dan White 04/22/09 - 03:49 pm
0
0

I guess that was part of

I guess that was part of Darien's stimulus program in the 90's. Now gone the way of all government stimulus programs. Maybe our mayor will bring them to Augusta and people in SCar can work there and reduce the unemployment in SC!!!

spartan22
0
Points
spartan22 04/22/09 - 04:18 pm
0
0

Darien's a HOLE anyway, good

Darien's a HOLE anyway, good riddance to their cafe, ppl can get a meal in the next town. They dont need tax revenue the way they complain.

g-dog express
0
Points
g-dog express 04/22/09 - 05:16 pm
0
0

So, AugustaVoter, looks like

So, AugustaVoter, looks like you jump to conclusions that you cannot backup with fact. Seem to me the world is full of that these days. It must be a result of that new math we heard about.

Tujeez1
0
Points
Tujeez1 04/22/09 - 05:43 pm
0
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WHAT...No Pictures???

WHAT...No Pictures???

DEVGRU
0
Points
DEVGRU 04/22/09 - 05:50 pm
0
0

No more sausage dogs, fried

No more sausage dogs, fried eggs and tossed salads fellas.

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 04/22/09 - 05:53 pm
0
0

The one in Lavonia was the

The one in Lavonia was the only exciting billboard on I-85 in that part of North Georgia!

andywarhol
0
Points
andywarhol 04/22/09 - 06:53 pm
0
0

Only scorned women and ugly

Only scorned women and ugly women have a problem with sexism and strip clubs. LOL

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 04/22/09 - 08:52 pm
0
0

Good grief, if you church

Good grief, if you church people don't stay out of people's business.... let the market decide. How much money did th epeople have to spend to fight this?

Billy D
1
Points
Billy D 04/22/09 - 09:44 pm
0
0

From what I remembered of it,

From what I remembered of it, there was no way that "children could see into it" unless their parents took them inside. Besides that, i'd bet that our children have seen their mom's naked (or close to it) some time or other.
As far as the cooks finding other work, there are lots of other restuarants there in Darien. There are the mom and pop restuarnts in town, and even a Ruby Tuesdays across 95 at the outlet mall.

Bacon Grease
253
Points
Bacon Grease 04/22/09 - 10:36 pm
0
0

I ate there once and there

I ate there once and there was hair in my food.

themaninthemirror
0
Points
themaninthemirror 04/23/09 - 07:16 am
0
0

Bacon Grease: Did you wonder

Bacon Grease: Did you wonder where that hair might have come from????????????

AAQueen
18
Points
AAQueen 04/23/09 - 08:01 am
0
0

"club opened in 1990s through

"club opened in 1990s through the trickery of its founder, the late Jerry Sullivan, when he applied for his business license."

I wonder what was the 'trickery'. Maybe a bribe.

justsaying
0
Points
justsaying 04/23/09 - 08:39 am
0
0

well we still have the

well we still have the cracker machines at the strip clubs!...for those of us who enjoy fine dining.

RU4Real
0
Points
RU4Real 04/23/09 - 11:11 am
0
0

Maybe we could have naked

Maybe we could have naked women and men dancing, why not call it Skeeter's Big Biscuits, and Sammie's Huge Hoagies? Trickery to open it was, paying all the fees without lying or telling about the nude dancing. As for the children, it is not a place for them. The parents should not allow them to be there. Beleive me it was not in a residential neighborhood.

Tots
25530
Points
Tots 04/23/09 - 11:23 am
0
0

you get skeet biscuits and

you get skeet biscuits and hair in your food.no wonder the truck dvivers love to eat there. nothing like that happens at home.leave the working girls alone they will fine some place else to sell their goodies.they are like candie you say it's bad to eat it but cant seem to leave it alone.

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