Original Sun Ray Grill Restaurant In Gretna Continues Ownership Under Longtime Protégé
GRETNA, LA – Chef Tom Hinyup has permanently taken over the helm of the Sun Ray Grill in Gretna. Hinyup, who served as managing partner of the popular Gretna eatery, recently purchased the restaurant from longtime owners Dana and Julia Deutsch.
Dana Deutch, who founded the Sun Ray Grill franchise over 19 years ago, said “We are confident that Tom will continue to deliver good food and service to its West Bank loyalist. We know it will grow under his leadership."
Hinyup, who is a graduate of Delgado’s Culinary program, became chef of Sun Ray Grill in 1999. Two years later he was promoted to Director of Operations, overseeing all three Sun Ray Grill locations. In 2005 Hinyup became managing partner and chef for the Gretna location.
Hinyup plans to carry on the culinary traditions of the restaurant. “The menu will stay the same for the most part, but customers can look forward to new specials with a focus on local ingredients and produce – like Creole tomatoes grown down the road,” Hinyup said.
The new Sun Ray Grill proprietor has his sights set on making the Gretna restaurant a leader in the burgeoning farm-to-table movement taking place on the West Bank. “Most recently, we’ve added honey from Forsythe Honey Farms in Avondale and we are now serving seasonal fruits and vegetables from Matt Ranatza Farms in Belle Chasse, as well as other local farmers markets,” Hinyup said. “We continue to use Dong Phuong Bakery, Inland Seafood and New Orleans Fish House, but we are now trying to approach a more micro-local way of serving the freshest produce and seafood to our customers. We’re even working on getting a permit so we can get our seafood straight from the boats!”
In June 2014, the Deutsches sold their New Orleans Warehouse District restaurant to a buyer who now operates Sac-a-Lait in the former Sun Ray Grill property, and most recently the couple sold their Old Metairie restaurant on Pink Street to former Sun Ray Grill team members, husband and wife Will and Kinsey Varas, who have launched CoNola Grill & Sushi at the location.
“Julia and I have enjoyed serving the community for nearly twenty years,” Deutsch said about the sale of the Gretna flagship and other locations. “We are ready for a new adventure.”
Sun Ray Grill customers will continue to enjoy regional coastal cuisine infused with global flavor, but can expect seasonal menu changes – especially as oysters approach their peak. Breakfast lovers will appreciate the expanded “Sun Ray Grill in the a.m.” menu seven days a week with a New Orleans style brunch featured on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hinyup has begun updating the venerable restaurant with a lighter color scheme, handcrafted furnishings that he built with his father, attractive new wait staff and kitchen uniforms and classic lighting elements. The restaurant also has a new logo, and plans for a new website and catering menu are in the works.
Sun Ray Grill is located at 2600 Belle Chasse Highway in Gretna. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week (except Sundays when dinner is not served).
Year-round catering for special events and parties is also available.