Glenville’s Bayou Cafe closing after 23 years

Business has struggled with financial issues
Owner Ralph Spillenger and wife Sharleen Spellenger at the Bayou Cafe in 2016.
Owner Ralph Spillenger and wife Sharleen Spellenger at the Bayou Cafe in 2016.

GLENVILLE – The Bayou Cafe on Route 50, a fixture on the East Glenville restaurant scene for more than 20 years, will be closing in January.

Owners Ralph and Sharleen Spillenger announced on Facebook Saturday that they will be retiring after 35 years in the restaurant industry, including 23 operating the Cajun-themed restaurant at 507 Saratoga Road, which is Route 50.

A farewell party with live music is being planned for Jan. 5; the restaurant will remain open for about a week after that, according to the Facebook post.

The restaurant has struggled financially. There was a 2014 bankruptcy reorganization that Ralph Spillenger said was due to his having to also focus on a second restaurant, Jillian’s, he owned at the time in downtown Albany. It has been for sale for about $500,000, but in November a bank holding a mortgage bought the building at a debt auction, though the restaurant has continued to operate.

The Bayou Cafe has hosted numerous parties, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake prom parties and live music events featuring oldies, zydeco and blues, since it opened in 1994. The menu featured Louisiana and Southwestern cuisine, and it generally got good reviews.

“They always had a popular following,” said Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “I’m definitely sad to hear they are closing.”

Koetzle said he’s hopeful that a new owner will buy the property and keep it operating as a restaurant — one of several in a roughly one-mile corridor along Route 50 from Burnt Hills into Schenectady County.

“There’s a nice little group of restaurants we have there that draws from the local community and from Southern Saratoga County,” Koetzle said.

Ralph Spillenger could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.


Categories: Business, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

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