By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 8, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- On Monday morning, the GrassLands Brewery Co. in College Town announced that the business will soon close its doors. The establishment will join the ranks of several other Tallahassee businesses that have shuttered their doors in recent months.
The Deck Pizza Pub closed at the end of May and was quickly followed by the Downtown Ramen Bar located a block away. Merv's Melt Shop closed a couple of weeks after that, while Nefetari's Fine Dining and Spirits announced it will cease full dining operations in August.
The brewery's owners made the announcement on their Facebook and Twitter pages Monday morning. No reason was provided.
In a statement to WCTV, owner Gabe Grass said the following:
"We're extremely grateful to have served the Tallahassee and surrounding communities over the past four years. Right now, our thoughts and support are with our brewery family and we encourage everyone to come out this week/end to help us toast our brewery's closure. We're overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and encouragement from everyone today - it means more than words can express."
Property management had already posted "availability" signs at the property by late afternoon.
"It's just heartbreaking," said Tim Kenyon. "Grasslands has done a lot for the community. A lot for the soccer community."
Kenyon told WCTV's Katie Kaplan that he has frequented the brewery since it opened in 2015 and enjoyed the dog-friendly atmosphere and wide variety of craft beers. He said on Sunday there were dozens of people who filled the place to cheer on the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team. The bar is the headquarters for the local chapter of the American Outlaws organization, which gathers for all men's and women's national games.
Tallahassee AO President, Valerie States, released the following statement to WCTV:
"Grasslands has been an amazing home for our chapter and this news is quite devastating for us. The whole Grasslands crew has done so much for the soccer community and the community at large. We appreciate the years spent there and are incredibly heartbroken to say goodbye. We don’t know where our next home will be to watch US Soccer, we’re still searching for the best place to accommodate our group, but Grasslands will be sorely missed and forever apart of AO Tally history."
While the online announcement came as a shock to some patrons, to industry insiders it was not so much.
"The restaurant industry as a whole is difficult," said Drew McLoud, who is the owner of Savour Restaurant in downtown Tallahassee.
McLoud said there were several factors that could play a role in the string of recent closures, including foot traffic, leasing costs and competition.
"For us, it's tight margins and it's difficult sometimes to achieve success," he said.
He added that several groups, such as the City of Tallahassee, the Downtown Business Association and the Downtown Improvement Authority were meeting to address some of the problems. He added that, despite the closures, there are several new restaurants opening soon.