A popular Jacksonville restaurant is undergoing another ownership change.
Lonzerotti’s on East State Street is being purchased by its current landlord, Mike Griffitts. Griffitts explains the business was leased from owners Jeff and Katie Weeks in 2014 from Larry Meyer, but that the contract has been canceled, and he will now lease it and purchase the restaurant over time.
Griffitts says the restaurant will close after tomorrow night, and is scheduled to re-open on February 12th. He says improvements are planned, but that it’ll keep the same food that the eatery has been known for.
“Immediately, people might see some small changes, just some small repairs that need to be made. We might add a couple things to the food menu, but our big plans here in the spring, we want to do some nicer outdoor dining, with lighting, more chairs, landscaping, give people the experience a little more of an outside fine dining type thing,” says Griffitts.
“We’re planning on really specializing on catering, getting out to the public and supplying businesses and small parties.”
Griffitts adds he’d like to also come up with a Lonzerotti’s pizza line this year.
As a landlord, he said he didn’t want to see the building become vacant.
“I grew up with the Goldasich family that started the Lonzerotti’s name, and actually worked around the place when I was in high school. Talking to other people around the area, including the mayor, we can’t let this place go, we gotta keep it going,” he says.
“The employees are really dedicated, they’re really high-energy and wanting to stay, and wanting to make those changes as well. I’m not in this alone, we’re doing it as a team.”
The restaurant was originally built as the Chicago and Alton Railroad passenger station in 1909.
Correction: the story previously said the restaurant was closing after tonight. It’s actually Saturday night.