by J. Brooks Terry
What’s happening with Crawdaddy’s on the Southbank?
Well, no one in Jacksonville seems to know.
The dilapidated restaurant, which was built to look dilapidated, has been closed for almost two years and now sits in a very abandoned state between the Radisson and the school board building.
It’s owned by a Tampa-based restaurant chain and there have been reports that a new ownership group was negotiating to take it over but, apparently, talks — if, indeed, they existed — have turned sour.
“All I know is that it’s closed and they aren’t going to reopen it,” a Radisson executive said. “From what I understand, there’s nothing going on over there.”
Last year, an executive of the ownership group was quoted as saying he didn’t know what, if anything, was going to happen.
“I’d like to say it will be sooner than later, but I can’t,” he said. “It might be two months, it might be four months.”
What does he say now?
Nothing — at least, nothing to inquiring reports. Repeated calls have not been returned.
In the meantime, Al Battle, the managing director of the Downtown Development Authority, said he hasn’t heard anything about any present or future renovation plans.
Workers on the Southbank make no secret of their disdain of the dilapidated restaurant and the overgrown foliage surrounding it.
“I’d like to know what’s going on,” said Ashley Robinson, who lives and works in San Marco. “It’s such an eyesore, yet such a prime location on the river. I’m sure something is going to happen with the Super Bowl approaching, but right now it’s really bringing the area down.”
The restaurant opened a decade ago and hoped to make its mark with a rural appearance, including a flock of chickens wandering around outside and a shanty look. Even with the growth of the area, and the lack of restaurants until recently, it never had been successful and finally was shuttered.
Today, it retains the rural, shanty look but now it’s even more realistic as the grass has grown high, the chickens are gone and it doesn’t appear to have been maintained in months.