Permit in review for City Grille & Raw Bar on Jacksonville’s Southbank

The restaurant is succeeding the closed Wine Cellar restaurant along Prudential Drive.

The former Wine Cellar restaurant on the Downtown Southbank is becoming City Grille & Raw Bar.
The former Wine Cellar restaurant on the Downtown Southbank is becoming City Grille & Raw Bar.
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The city is reviewing a permit application for build-out of the City Grille & Raw Bar in the former Wine Cellar restaurant on the Downtown Southbank.

Fasanelli Construction Inc. of Ponte Vedra Beach is the contractor for the estimated $160,000 renovation of the restaurant at 1314 Prudential Drive.

T. Lamell Architect of Jacksonville is the architect.

Fasanelli  will renovate 3,695 square feet of enclosed space and 784 square feet of unenclosed space.

A June 7, 2022, application with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation shows it will open Sept. 1 and seat 152 patrons. 

Plans show a new raw bar and seating to the left upon entering. A “velvet room” is to the right.

The kitchen and restrooms continue on the right.

Down the hallway on the left are the Amalfi and Darden rooms. The Tree House Room is in the back.  A rear patio remains.

The owners also own Eleven South and 3 Palms Grille at the Beaches.

Karen Belloit Thomas and John Nagy said in April they plan a fall opening of the restaurant, where the Wine Cellar operated for 47 years before closing in October 2021 as the owners retired.

“The Wine Cellar lasted 47 years. There is support in that particular area based on the residential growth. We believe there is a demand for high-quality seafood and steaks,” Nagy said April 5.

Nagy and Thomas are managers of City Grille LLC, which they registered with the state Jan. 12, 2022.

Nagy said in April that City Grille will be open for lunch and dinner six days a week with Saturday and Sunday brunch a possibility depending on demand, he said.

The menu will include fresh seafood, steaks and other seasonal specialties, as well as an extensive wine list from wine regions around the world, he said.

Belloit Thomas and Nagy are leasing the space from Ronald Rettner, who paid $1.04 million for the property in October 2021. 

Matt Demir, managing broker of Jacksonville-based XERA Realty Inc., represented the landlord and the tenant in the deal.

Belloit Thomas and Nagy, who are married, bring more than 50 years of restaurant experience to the project. 

“We would like to create an environment that is more city-oriented,” Nagy said. 

“It will be trendy but have an old-school feel,” he said.

He estimates an investment topping $1 million.

The restaurant will employ a staff of about 60, he said. It will seat 155.