22 Aug 2014
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'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's

Big John's Market will need space for parking.

'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's 'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's 'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's 'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's 'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's

 

More than a year has passed since the February 2011 exit of the popular and quirky eatery at parking lot on Healdsburg Avenue at Dry Creek Road.

At Patch, we still get comments at least every few months from people who miss its homey, friendly atmosphere and , among other items.

"Eddie’s was one of my favorite places, very sad that it is closed," wrote Healdsburg City Building Official Scott Ward in a Nov. 3, 2011 email to Patch.

However, even though the restaurant building still sits vacant, that doesn't mean there are vacancies, says Big John's owner John Lloyd, landlord for the property.

"There are no vacancies," Lloyd said this week of the former casual dining spot's building. "We still have the real estate agent's ( Keegan and Coppin's Marshall Kelly) signs up, but it's not for rent."

Lloyd said his plans, are still to raze the building to allow for more parking spaces. But even at a conservative estimate, the demolition will cost at least $265,000, he said.

"We're holding off on it right now," Lloyd said. "In addition to the demolition, the city probably also will want to do some work to add a right turn lane from Healdsburg Avenue onto Dry Creek."

Big John's Market needs the extra parking spaces because it will lose 30 spaces at the rear of the market when the develops its bike path along the North Coast Railroad easement that runs behind the Big John's building.

The bike path is expected to stretch all the way to Cloverdale, the train's eventual north terminus.

In addition, if the market ever expands as planned, it will need 18 extra parking spaces to meet city code, Lloyd said.

Beyond that, Lloyd said the former Fitch Mountain Eddie's building has not been a profitable site for either of its two tenants since 2003 -- even when Lloyd subsidized them by paying for their water and sewer costs.

"I paid between $1,900 to $2,700 per month for their water and sewer bills, and they were still not making money," Lloyd said of the Fitch Mountain Eddie's operation. "That's really difficult for a landlord."

Lloyd said he was aware that fans of the restaurant were unhappy they left, but given the parking needs and the lack of business success, it was an unfortunate reality.

"It's always interesting to follow up on these things," Lloyd said. "I don't really think you can chalk it up to the landlord."

After they left, Fitch Mountain Eddie's owners Cathy and Raul Arteaga opened  Zocalos, a restaurant at 3120 Lakeville Hwy. in Petaluma. However, Zocalos is now listed as closed in area online directories.

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