‘I can’t even believe it. I’m thankful’: Community packs Riverside restaurant on last day of business

Southern Roots Filling Station closing after 8 years serving community

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Judging by the crowd inside Southern Roots Filling Station Saturday morning, it would be hard for some to believe it was the last day the popular vegan restaurant would be open for business. The line to get in for a last cup of Joe and bite to eat went around the corner outside the business on King Street.

Alex Hayward said even though he’s not a vegan, he was the first one in line the day it opened.

“When they first opened, I had a newborn,” Hayward explained. “Every day I’d push him down here in the stroller, get my coffee, and have my moment of peace while my child would sleep and get his nap in. We came here every single day for maybe two years.”

The owners of Southern Roots Filling Station, J.P. Salvat and his wife, Mariah Goelz, announced the closure this week on social media. The couple said although it was a hard decision, they cited uncertainty surrounding what could be a major rent increase. Even though the couple and their employees were incredibly busy behind the counter, they took the time to say thank you.

“It’s unbelievable, to be 100% honest, unbelievable,” Salvat said. “It’s been like this all week, and I can’t even believe it. I’m thankful.”

Southern Roots Filling Station is closing after eight years serving the community. (WJXT)

Robin Lanigan Johnston is one of those loyal customers to come bid farewell. She told News4JAX she is vegan, and the restaurant’s plant-based and gluten-free options prompted her to move to the neighborhood.

“This is proof of how supportive the community is of this location and of the owners,” Lanigan Johnston said. “And what they stand for, and how much the community is going to miss them.”

Even though this chapter is closing, the support from loyal customers will remain.

“I hope they just move forward,” Hayward said. “They keep going and do whatever their next venture is.”

One final day of business, but fond memories to last a lifetime.

Southern Roots isn’t the only beloved local business that won’t be around in 2023. The San Marco Theatre announced Wednesday that it will permanently close its doors Sunday.


About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.