Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Restaurant/sports Bar Will Open in a Familiar Location

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Restaurant/sports Bar Will Open in a Familiar Location

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, County Line staff writer

In the early 1960s, there wasn't much traffic on County Road 220 between Middleburg and U.S. 17, mainly pulpwood truckers and commercial fishermen. Occasionally, they'd stop for a bite to eat and a cold beer at a little burger joint named Lila's near Swimming Pen Creek.

The burger shop, which opened about the same time as Whitey's Fish Camp across the street, was sold a few years later and became a full-fledged bar known as Bobby Joe's Liquor Lounge.

Now, the only thing left of the nearly 40-year-old cinder block building is its four exterior walls standing on a cement foundation. The structure has been entirely gutted and the roof ripped off in the process of being remodeled as a 75-seat restaurant/sports bar.

The 1.16-acre parcel, which extends all the way to Swimming Pen Creek and includes a couple of rental houses, has become the latest acquisition of Dale Eggers, who has developed a knack for converting old businesses that have seen better days into successful food and beverage operations.

Eggers, who also owns the Roadhouse Sports Bar and River Dance Music Hall, both on Blanding Boulevard, said he has hired Pete Morgan Builders as his contractor and plans to open his new Mercury Moon Grille & Bar around the middle of January.

"We've looked at this market out here for quite some time," Eggers said, during a meeting at the property with his two sons, Rory and Kyle, and Byron McNeal, a family friend and the man hired to run the new restaurant.

"We'll have some TVs set up so people can watch college football games on Saturday and NFL games on Sunday," McNeal said. "We'll have a separate game room with pool tables and we'll have live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights."

Also, a separate drive-through package store will be built adjacent to the restaurant so people can pick up their favorite alcoholic beverages without leaving their car or truck.

McNeal, who once worked for Eggers at the Roadhouse and more recently worked in management at a Winn-Dixie grocery store, said the menu probably will include fresh fish, shrimp, steak, chicken and salads, as well as sandwiches. …

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