JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It is no secret that online shopping is behind what has been dubbed the retail apocalypse that led to major retailers closing their doors for good, leaving vacancies at area shopping malls. Now, that apocalypse is leading to other businesses vacating.
Have you noticed all the restaurants that have gone out of business in the St. Johns Town Center area?
The latest to leave is Brio Tuscan Grille. The restaurant closed it’s doors Jan. 24 after almost eight years in business. There’s a sign on the door saying it was a difficult decision and thanking customers for the opportunity to serve them. The restaurant just did not have enough traffic to sustain the business.
Late last year Newk’s Eatery closed its doors. The eatery had a big lunchtime crowd but the store’s manager said the day after they locked the doors corporate made the decision because the rent was too high.
Town Center original Applebee’s abruptly stopped serving customers in September. There was no notice and no advance warning.
There has been a spate of restaurant closings recently.
Mimi’s Café, another of the original Town Center eateries, closed in the Spring of 2019. And while the sites of Newk’s and Brio remain unoccupied, Ida Claire recently opened in Mimi’s place.
Another Town Center original Blackfinn closed in October 2018. It too opened with the Town Center in 2010. It was renovated in 2014 but closed permanently without warning. There is still nothing in its place.
Mitchell’s Fish Market closed its doors in January 2018. The seafood eatery also closed two other Florida locations without notice at the same time. True Food Kitchen opened in its spot at the Town Center.
There are other restaurants that are thriving or have been reinvented to stay in business. Chef Tom Grey remade Moxie and changed its concept. It is now Prati Italia.
News4Jax spoke with several commercial real estate agents about the recent restaurant closings and what’s behind them. Consistently, there were two things they mentioned: high rent and the changing retail climate.
If stores around restaurants close and there’s less traffic, that means less business for the restaurants, they said.