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R.S. Jones in Merrick to close after 26 years

Cowboy boots, hats and other Western paraphernalia decorate

Cowboy boots, hats and other Western paraphernalia decorate the interior of R.S. Jones in Merrick. Photo Credit: Jesse Newman

They’re rolling up the rugs at R.S. Jones, the rollicking Cajun-Southern-Western-themed restaurant that has served Merrick and beyond for 26 years. The last supper will be served on April 13.

Chef Carole Olkoski, who owns the restaurant with Margaret Mueller, the general manager, said that the decision was bittersweet. “It’s been a blast,” she said, “We’ve been enmeshed in the community with the best staff we could have hoped for. Some of them have been with us since the beginning — and we’ve had some customers for that long too.”

Olkoski, who will soon be turning 64, noted that “I’ve got less than a third of my life left, and I don’t think I want to keep doing this to the end.”

The past year has not been kind to Cajun restaurants, with the shuttering of Storyville in Huntington, Big Daddy’s East in Bay Shore and, most significantly, The Bayou in North Bellmore, after 32 years. Olkoski and Mueller both got their start at The Bayou, whose founder, Kathleen Leskody, helped the two women open up their own restaurant in 1993.

Originally called Rattlesnake Jones, the partners changed the name about a year later at the behest of another South Shore restaurant whose name Olkoski vaguely remembers as Rattlesnake Cafe.

Located at the Northern edge of Merrick’s business district, the restaurant is little more than a box, the front of which houses a bar, the back of which, a dining room. But over the years, the walls and ceiling have seen a steady accretion of photos, license plates, cowboy boots, signs, instruments and other knickknacks so that the place now seems more Southern roadhouse than South Shore restaurant.

Olkoski said that another restaurant will be taking over the lease but she could not reveal its name. We'll let you know as soon as we know. 

R.S. Jones will be open Wednesday to Sunday through April 13.

153 Merrick Ave., Merrick, 516-378-7177, rsjones.com.

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