On March 1, Slough House Social in Colusa announced to its followers on social media that after a “long” and “silent battle,” the restaurant’s last day of operation would be March 19.
In the post, Slough House Social said that the reason for the “permanent closure” was that it was “taken down” by the state of California, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the “decisions made by employees.” The public also was asked not to contact the restaurant about what led to the closure of an establishment that has been a popular go-to spot in the community.
“This is such a kick in the guts after all the work we (including our amazing staff) have put into making this the best restaurant in the area,” Slough House Social said in a Facebook post on March 1. “We have fought through Covid, fires, floods, the ‘great resignation,’ inflation like we’ve never seen, and a recession the last several months. We persevered through it all, only to be taken down by the State of California, ABC, and the decisions made by employees … We ask you, the customers that have become our friends and even family over the past 26 months, to please respect us and our staff. … We ask that you do NOT call or message us in regard to ‘what happened.’ The staff have been instructed not to talk about it to customers, and honestly, it hurts too much to tell the story over and over again.”
The Appeal reached out to ABC to get details about the claims made by Slough House Social and if the state agency had actually been involved with the restaurant’s decision to close.
”Slough House Social signed a settlement agreement agreeing to the indefinite suspension of their Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) license after an ABC investigation found that three of their employees served alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron and his 17-year-old stepson,” Bryce Avalos, communications analyst for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, told the Appeal in an email. “The 17-year-old jumped from the stepfather’s vehicle after they left the business and later died. The stepfather was arrested for DUI.”
Avalos confirmed on Friday that ABC reports referenced a Colusa County Sheriff's Department report about the alleged incident “involving the minor exiting the moving vehicle.”
The Appeal contacted the Colusa County Sheriff's Department to get more information about the alleged incident that led to the teen’s death. Lynn Hernandez, a sheriff’s technician for the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, said the case was initially handled by the California Highway Patrol.
According to arrest information previously obtained by the Appeal in May 2022, “Joseph E. Page, 65, of Whitefish, Mont., was arrested by the California Highway Patrol at 6:53 p.m. May 19 on Butte Slough Road at River Road on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, carrying a loaded firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. He was booked into the Colusa County Jail.”
Slough House Social is located at 3249 Butte Slough Rd. in Colusa.
According to information released by the Williams area California Highway Patrol in May 2022, Page was arrested just before 7 p.m. on May 19, 2022, after the CHP received a call from the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office of a suspected DUI incident on Butte Slough Road at River Road.
“Upon arrival, CCSO notified CHP that a juvenile passenger was ejected out of the right side front window of a 2014 Chevrolet pick up as it was traveling on Butte Slough Road,” the CHP said. “The juvenile passenger was transported for major injuries prior to CHP arrival.”
Colusa County District Attorney Brendan Farrell confirmed with the Appeal on Friday that Page was the man who was apparently with the teen and involved in the alleged May 19, 2022, incident referenced by ABC. Farrell could not confirm if Page was actually the teen’s stepfather.
Jamie Erickson, who said she was the mother of the teen killed, told the Appeal that Page was not the teen's stepfather, but did previously work with Page.
"I know that Mr. Page told officers that night he was his stepfather, but it’s simply not true," Erickson said.
Farrell said charges were filed against Page for felony child endangerment and driving under the influence, a misdemeanor.
Farrell confirmed that a complaint was filed by his office in September 2022. Farrell said Page entered a plea of not guilty to the related charges and is set to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment on the information.
In the March 1 social media post, Slough House Social thanked their loyal customers and made an apparent open offer to transfer the “brand” to another operator to own the restaurant.
“We are losing our dream, and our staff is losing their jobs. Hopefully you can understand that and just thank them for always being there to take care of your needs. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the shares, likes, check-ins, positive words, and recommendations,” Slough House Social said. “We hate that this is how we go out. We hate that the brand we built may never see its finish as the difference between every other restaurant and us. We did something special here, and although we are very proud of what we built, we are so sad that someone else isn’t taking over and carrying the torch into the future as we had planned to do. We would like to offer the brand to an operator already in the business to take over at a negotiated price and on terms that suit all parties. It’s a great opportunity to own a profitable restaurant in this one-of-a-kind location with a wonderful menu and staff.”
At the end of the post, Slough House Social also thanked its owner, Gregg Hankins.
Hankins, the Appeal previously reported, is the owner of Slough House and has more than 25 years of experience in the food industry.
When contacted by the Appeal about the alleged incident in May 2022 and the restaurant’s impending closure, Hankins said he had no comment and just wanted to thank his staff and customers.
“We’d like to thank our staff and all our customers for two wonderful years of support,” Hankins said Friday. “Without the customers and staff we would never be what we are.”