JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of the Chicago Pizza restaurant at The Jacksonville Landing wants to reopen the game room where a mass shooting took place in August.
Chicago Pizza owner Clifton Comastro contacted the city on Monday and applied for a certificate to bring back the "Good Luck, Have Fun" game room, according to city documents.
However, reopening will take several steps.
In August, a gunman opened fire during a video game tournament, killing two people and injuring several others before killing himself. After the shooting, the city inspected the property and later said the game room was never included in the original, approved building plans. As a result, the city said the restaurant was not permitted to host the gaming tournament.
The fire marshal shut down both the restaurant and the gaming bar for code violations.
Other citations included:
- Blocking exits with video game machines and other objects.
- Using strip plugs as permanent wiring.
- Using extension cords as a substitute for permanent wiring.
While the restaurant has since reopened, the gaming bar has not.
According to the Jacksonville Daily Record, General Manager Landon Paul said business and sales have been impacted by the closure of the gaming bar. He believes the violations have been properly addressed. The hope is to have the gaming bar back open, either next month or in March.
"I have missed it so much I found myself for a while not knowing what to do on Monday nights," said Evan Werthman, a former GLHF customer. "I’ve been ready for it to re-open for a while now and I’m really excited to start going again every week."
Werthman, the owner of game-themed food truck Hoy Shtick, hopes the community can show support for Chicago Pizza, the game room and gamers.
"It is a tragedy that things like that happened, but I think we can look forward and take steps in the right direction and just create a positive environment," he said. "I think that will honestly be our biggest weapon against something like that happening again in the future."
On Friday, News4Jax emailed Comastro for comment but has not yet heard back. At the Landing location, News4Jax was told by a manager that Comastro was not available for comment and to come back when the gaming bar reopens in March.