Restaurants still let down by Gentlemen of the Road festival

(Photo by Megan V. Winslow)

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The disappointment is still sinking in for restaurants in downtown St. Augustine after they didn't have the big sales the expected for the Gentlmen of the Road concert last weekend.

For restaurants like Le Pavillon, sales took a dive.

Instead of getting new customers, it ended up costing businesses money.

"We even ordered extra food, too, a few different things we don't normally have, and we were sad because we did not get the business we thought we would get," said Christine Connell, of Le Pavilion.

The restaurant blames road closures.

"Around noon on Friday, we had gotten word that the road was closed down by the carousel and Dunkin Donuts on San Marco (Avenue), which they were not supposed to close by 8 p.m.," Connell said.

Mayor Joe Bolles said the city doesn't yet know how much money was made or lost over the weekend, but he agrees that in the future the city will adjust how it conducts road closures.

Bolles admitted that some restaurants got hit hard, losing thousands of dollars, including a restaurant right across the street from the concert venue -- Barnacle Bills.

The mayor said this is a learning process because the city has never had an event this big. And although changes will be made in the future, not everything was a bust.

A French bakery in walking distance from the concert says business was booming.

"It was the best day that we ever had since we been here since January," said Nadia, of Les Petits Pleasures. "And usually the Fourth of July is the best day of the year, but this one bests the Fourth of July."

The mayor also wants people in the city to take note that local lodging made a lot of money last weekend. He said one hotel told him nearly every guest rebooked to visit the city again.

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