Papa Roux hopes to stay open with help from customers

Papa Roux (WISH Photo)
Papa Roux (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A popular Indianapolis restaurant hopes to get some help from its friends.  The name “Papa Roux” became familiar as the restaurant that helped a young job hunter walking in the cold, last winter.

And, last fall, it offered help to furloughed government workers.

Now, the owner, Art Bouvier, says the state and the sheriff’s department forced Papa Roux to close.  He told 24-Hour News 8, through the grace of God and the grace of his customers he’ll be able to re-open.

It’s stems from a dispute over back taxes.

Bouvier doesn’t deny his obligation.  There is “some legitimacy to the claim,” he said.  He also said he has had a payment plan to cover that bill.  But, he said, this week, the Indiana Department of Revenue decided it wants the entire bill paid now.

A letter from the state demands $146,000.  Bouvier called that an “over-inflated estimate” of what he owes.  He puts the figure at about $30,000.  Bouvier has turned to a crowd-sourcing web site to amass the money to pay it.  The restaurant has raised more than $6,000, so far.

Bouvier told 24-Hour News 8 he has tried to make sure the people of Papa Roux are “good citizens — paying on the post due amount.”  He sees this ordeal as an example of burdens imposed on small business.  He said this is “the most oppressive climate for small business I’ve ever seen.”

On Friday, a mobile chef will set up in Papa Roux’s east side parking lot.  Bouvier said the guest chef will use Papa Roux food, so it doesn’t spoil.  That will also make sure Papa Roux employees won’t lose their income while awaiting the settlement of this dispute.

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