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Dearman's lease terminated, owner not sure what's next

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BATON ROUGE - At this time, a neighborhood family restaurant will not reopen to serve burgers and sodas at its current location, following a devastating fire last week.

Shopping center manager Mitch Richardson tells WBRZ Dearman's lease has been terminated. Richardson says according to the lease agreement, the landlord has the option to terminate the lease in the event of a fire, which was approaching the end date of June 30.

Dearman's owner David Van Gelder says he received notice of the lease termination in a letter dated Mar. 5 from Richardson, though Richardson told WBRZ Tuesday evening there had not been a decision on the lease. Richardson did not say what had transpired between Tuesday and Wednesday to confirm the lease had been terminated. 

"I was shocked," said Dearman's Manager Casey Evans. "If feels like a huge kick in the stomach while we're on the ground. It's a terrible disaster that's happened to us."

Van Gelder says he is not sure what is next for the business, which has been at the Jefferson Hwy location since 1958, but he does have rights to the name from the previous operator.


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