Plans for a new sports grill are causing concern in Jacksonville’s only Orthodox Jewish neighborhood – Action News Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The Village Inn restaurant on the corner of San Jose Boulevard and Haley Road closed in 2016. Now a new sports grill is planned.

Matt Harris owns the Time Out Sports Grill on Beach Boulevard. He plans to open a second location on the vacant San Jose lot. He grew up in the area.

“Growing up as kids – we’d ask where we’d like to eat. Where do we want to eat after basketball practice? The only option was the ale house. This will give us another place. Another opportunity, ”he said.

The property is not reserved for alcohol as it is less than 500 feet from a church, but Harris is requesting a departure from town. Alcohol is of concern in the only Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in northeast Florida.

“It is a major concern for us that my children have to stop by where people are very likely to get on and off after drinking,” said Sarah Herman. She lives across the street on Haley Road. “It would just change the overall taste and tranquility of our neighborhood or well.”

Like many in the neighborhood, Herman is an Orthodox Jew and goes to church on the Sabbath from Friday to Saturday evening according to the rules of her religion.

“Even after dark, there are tons of children, people in wheelchairs, walking to and from services,” she said.

“Alcohol and kids just don’t mix,” said George Mecke, another neighbor.

Harris said he was ready to hire security guards to help families cross the street. At the meeting of the planning commission on April 22nd, the topic was submitted by Thursday. Mecke said he filed a petition with more than 70 signatures.

The location is within 500 feet of four District Churches:

  • Central Korean Baptist
  • Jacksonville Jewish Center
  • Etz Chaim Synagogue
  • Chabad Lubavitch

If the city filed a derogation, it would be the second for an alcohol permit this year. In 2020 the city granted 17. In 2019 there were 15.

Neighbors are also concerned about the increase in noise along the street and the decline in property value. Harris said they will have an outside deck, but plans to keep it on the San Jose Boulevard side and said neighbors cannot see it from Haley Road.

A final plan will be presented at the commission meeting on Thursday.

Safety was a major concern for the neighborhood after a woman was killed on her way to the services of Yom Kippur in the same neighborhood in 2013. Rabbi Yaakov Fisch worked with local officials to increase security.

“We have to look at the whole situation. There are many concerns and we just need to keep having a positive dialogue, ”he said. “Our goal is to have a safe neighborhood.”

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