Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Eateries Close; New One Coming; Aromas, Mackenzie's Are Gone but a New Palm Valley Restaurant Is Planned

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ponte Vedra Eateries Close; New One Coming; Aromas, Mackenzie's Are Gone but a New Palm Valley Restaurant Is Planned

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRISTINA ABEL

In these unpredictable economic times, two Ponte Vedra Beach businesses have closed but another one, another restaurant from the owners of Marker 32 in Jacksonville, is planned for Palm Valley.

Mackenzie's Steakhouse and Piano Bar and Aromas Cigar, Wine and Martini Bar closed recently. Mackenzie's opened in 2004 during The Players Championship golf tournament and was a popular spot for local diners. Aromas opened in 2005.

Aromas is in a shopping center on Florida A1A that lost its anchor tenant, The Fresh Market, about a year ago. Most large shopping centers in Ponte Vedra Beach have grocery store anchors. Sawgrass Village has a Publix, Ponte Vedra Square on Solana Road has a Winn-Dixie and the shopping center at Florida A1A and ATP Boulevard had Harris Teeter, which was replaced by The Fresh Market a year ago.

Fresh Market's move left the Aromas center without an anchor. Aromas owner James Murrow said losing that anchor tenant definitely didn't help the situation because the grocery store brought a lot of traffic to the area. But he also said the unsteady economy and increased competition drove down his business through the past year.

Murrow, who owns another Aromas on Southside Boulevard, said he decided to close the Ponte Vedra Beach location to save the one on Southside.

"If I didn't close, I would be jeopardizing both locations," Murrow said. He said he gets a lot more business and traffic on the Southside.

Ginger Lilley Peace, executive director of the Ponte Vedra Beach Chamber of Commerce, said she was "surprised and disappointed" by the news of the two closings.

Anna Finley, who owns Lulu's Waterfront Grille with her husband, said it's bad for Ponte Vedra Beach when businesses close.

"It always sends chills up your back when you hear the news," Finley said. Meanwhile, she said, Lulu's is holding its own. …

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