Mellow Mushroom, Avondale reach agreement

Some residents worry about noise, parking

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers and the Avondale neighborhood protesters have reached an agreement.

The complaints coming from neighbors about the potential pizza place were about noise and parking.

It's been a long 10 months for restaurant owner John Valentino. The new Avondale location will be his fourth Mellow Mushroom and has been the biggest challenge.

"I am really excited because all along we've been really wanting to open a Mellow Mushroom here," Valentino said.

Longtime residents argued about parking needs, noise and late-night crowds, but Valentino says it won't be an issue.

"I listened to them, we worked together and came up with a deal, and I will open and follow the rules as promised," he said.

There's another City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday night to make it official that the pizza place will have 204 seats instead of the original 236, and 26 new parking spots total.

Valentino agreed earlier this year to tear down a former Shell gas station that he had originally planned to renovate into a portion of the restaurant. Now, the restaurant will be built to front St. Johns and Ingleside avenues.

David and Margie Huber have been at several of the meetings about the upcoming Mellow Mushroom.

"It's gone from a beautiful little community with nice shops to a nightclub district, and that's not what Avondale was planned to be," David said.

"There are homes 14 feet behind it, so it's really shocking that it's allowed," Margie added.

Although the couple oppose the restaurant, David says he will give Mellow Mushroom a chance.

"They're there, and I'm going to give it a try and can't say I wouldn't go," he said.

Not everyone is opposed. Shavet Constable lives right behind the property where Mellow Mushroom will be built.

"It will be nice to have a fresh look and will actually being used rather than just sitting here, you know, and it's going to provide jobs and great food and great social environment," Constable said.

Valentino hopes to open the new store in August.