Riverfront in Abbeville Demolished

  It was the end of an era for the Riverfront restaurant in Abbeville, which has long stood as a favorite dining spot for locals. Back in September, a fire destroyed much of the building and Friday, it was bulldozed.


The building that's stood strong along the Vermilion River for decades is now pieces of history. Destroyed by a kitchen fire, the owners had no choice, but to start from scratch.


“It's sad,” said Jenny LeBlanc, RiverFront's co-owner. “I see the future. I remember good times in there with friends.”


For decades, it's taken on many names, but for the past 15 years, Riverfront has belonged to Leblanc and her husband, Brian Rush. They say it's been tough watching their livelihood fall into a pile of rubble.


“I had a hard time coming here for a long time,” said Leblanc. “It was really depressing and I'm ready to move forward.”


And for many of the restaurant's regulars, it's like bulldozing over a decade of memories. For many people, this spot served as a second home.

Ed Piazza and Blanche Aguiler, both longtime regulars were there to watch it go.


“(I've been coming) since the day it opened. We've been coming here a long time,” said Piazza.


“Anything from 8th grade graduation, my daughter was proposed to here from a former manager who used to work here,” said Aguiler.


Despite the setback, Riverfront will rebuild, along the same river, but in a different spot.


“We have plans to make it a bigger, better facility all the way around,” said Rush. “There's a lot of things that we wanted to do here but couldn't.”


And as friends gathered to reminisce about the good times, everyone's confident, with community support, it will come back, even better than ever. But, there will definitely be one change.


“The only thing is we're going to take the fire off the logo in the sign,” said Rush. “No more fire.”


-Caroline Balchunas

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