Another restaurant has closed its doors in the Flats East Bank. Willeyville served customers for more than three years. This latest closure comes just a few months after Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks shut down too. Which makes you wonder: Can businesses survive in the Flats?
Coastal Taco Food and Beverage Manager Ashley Baily answered, “I absolutely think so."
Bailey admits she is seeing the expected seasonal slowdown now, but plans to pull in business in other ways.
“We are doing everything we can,” said Bailey. “Changing our staffing levels. Making sure we are promoting and getting a projection screen for the Cavs games, which we want to debut the night before Thanksgiving."
To her, success boils down to management.
“I think it is all about promoting,” said Bailey. “All about getting yourself out there. Making sure people want to come back."
Well-known chef Zack Bruell shares similar feelings. His restaurant, Alley Cat, also sits on the river. He says each place is different, but the business it brought in already exceeded expectations. Bruell says people should not be worried.
Reed and Sharyn Hinman dined here with friends.
“He can be a standalone business, but some of these other places they are only going to exist if there is traffic,” said Reed Hinman.
The lack of people and vacant spaces concern them.
"Look around...there is not a lot of traffic, and it is not a bad day,” said Reed. “Imagine what it is like in the middle of winter down here."
Margaritaville and Rascal Flatts both plan to skip the winter and open in the spring. And while something brews in the empty space Crop Sticks and Crop Rocks leaves behind, a wave of new life will also soon fill Willeyville. It is just a matter of time.
Willeyville owner and chef Chris Di Lisi did not directly say why the restaurant closed in his Facebook post.