Restaurant owners react to The Florence closure

It’s not very often that a 3 year old restaurant’s closing makes headlines. Depending on what you read or believe more than half of all restaurants shut down within that same three year period. It was supposed to be different in Savannah with The Florence. Owner Hugh Acheson and Executive Chef Kyle Jacovino were seen as something of pioneers with The Florence project.

Proof of how different it is this time around came in reaction over the weekend from a host of local restaurant owners and chefs who took to social media or their own blogs to offer reaction on just what this particular restaurant closing means to this city’s culinary community.

“The real story is that Hugh and Kyle tried really hard to change things.” wrote John Morisano, Owner of The Grey on that restaurant’s blog. “They put their money and time where their mouths were and built something that Savannah had never seen before.” It’s a short and well written blog. You can read it in its entirety here.

Still others in the Starland neighborhood were the most likely to not only comment but feel the sting of a major restaurant shutting down when the area is currently seeing so much progress and growth. The Bull Street corridor is, without question, the hottest part of Savannah South of Gaston Street.

“Thank you for being pioneers in the Starland District” wrote Jason Restivo, owner of the neighboring Atlantic on their Facebook page. “Thank you for sharing your passion for food and service.” The real visionaries in the Starland area, though? Also very sad to see it go.

“The Florence closing is unfortunate for the Starland neighborhood and Savannah as a whole.” Added Cheryl and Griff Day of Back in the Day Bakery. “Hugh and Kyle plowed some serious culinary ground with their food and wine program. We thank them for their vision, their food and their hospitality.”

“I always hate to see independent restaurants close” added Brian Huskey of The Gaslight Group which includes B. Matthew’s Eatery, The 5 Spot and others. “We appreciate the gamble on the location. We had The Blue Turtle, I understand the frustration when things don’t work out.”

Ele Tran of Ele and the Chef Restaurant Group, which includes The Vault on Bull Street shared “Thank you for opening your doors to the Starland District. You will be missed, The Florence.”

Meanwhile, Dee Herb, a Savannah native and regional wine distributor offered an interesting take “I think it’s a sad day for the culinary scene here, but sometimes when you push the needle too far in the right direction, the reaction is always mixed. I equate it to when Spare Time closed. Just too much progress at once is too much to handle for some, but look at the cocktail scene in Savannah now!” “The food and drink and wine culture is moving at a lightning pace here. The Florence will always be a part of Savannah’s culinary renaissance”

Acheson still owns and operates other restaurants in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia. He has not ruled out any future projects in Savannah.

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jesse@eatitandlikeit.com'

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.

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