JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A popular restaurant in the Riverside neighborhood shut its doors Sunday without warning and without explanation as to why.
The next day, the doors of the Blind Rabbit were locked and a sign had been placed, saying the business had closed and telling customers to visit the restaurant's Jacksonville Beach location.
An employee of the restaurant, 20-year-old Daniel Rowe, was shot and killed while taking out the garbage on July 22, 2015, in an alley behind the Blind Rabbit on King Street near College Street during what police described as a robbery attempt. Erron Coleman has been charged with Rowe's murder, along with armed robbery, burglary and weapons charges.
It's unclear whether that has anything to do with the sudden closure of the whiskey and burger bar that had been known for its crowds.
"(It was) busy all through lunch, all through everything," said Matt Johnson, who works at the barbershop next door. "It was nice."
The Blind Rabbit on Sunday afternoon posted on its Facebook page, "After 5 years we are saying good bye to Riverside today after brunch!Thank you for all the support over the years you will be missed. Come visit our Jax beach location!"
The announcement was so abrupt that Johnson said he was surprised to learn of the closure.
"I'm, like, wow. I didn't even know they closed. I had no clue," Johnson told News4Jax on Monday.
News4Jax called and emailed the Jacksonville Beach location of the Blind Rabbit in hopes of getting answers as to why the Riverside restaurant closed, but had not heard back as of 4 p.m. Monday.