Mellow Mushroom: Working with the Avondale community

August 23, 2012 188 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Now that we've shared We Love Avondale's demands regarding a proposed Mellow Mushroom restaurant opening within the urban core, Metro Jacksonville highlights Mellow Mushroom's position.

As you may know, the Mellow Mushroom Avondale team has been having discussions with opposition group We Love Avondale LLC and representatives of Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP). During these discussions,  Mellow has made a considerable effort to be responsive and accommodating, and has agreed to a number of conditions:

1. Mellow will now not pursue its original plan for adaptive reuse of the gas station, and has agreed to demolish it and build a new building on St. John’s Avenue with a brand new parking lot behind it;
2. Mellow originally proposed outdoor dining and large landscaped open space; Mellow has agreed to reduce the outside dining and open space to accommodate on-site parking;

3. After making the above changes, Mellow proposed outdoor dining on the roof of the new building to compensate for lost outdoor dining; subsequently, at the request of the opposition group,  Mellow has agreed to abandon plans to construct a second story outside dining area;

4. Mellow originally proposed to maximize parking by removing a landscape island on St. Johns Avenue and relocating a tree; Mellow has agreed to restore the parking island (despite loss of parking involved) at the opposition group’s request;

5. Mellow originally proposed “soft” covered outdoor dining at the corner of St. Johns and Ingleside; Mellow has agreed to constrict “hard” covered outdoor dining at the corner at the opposition group’s request

6. Mellow has reduced seats from an originally conceived 250, to 210.

Revised Mellow Mushroom front elevation

None of these decisions were easy to make, particularly the one to abandon adaptive reuse of the gas station, which we thought was in keeping with the way things should be done in an historic district. Nevertheless, we believe we owe it to our neighbors to do what we can address any local concerns.

“We Love Avondale LLC” and RAP  are also asking Mellow to agree to conditions relating to the operation of the restaurant.These conditions, which would apply only to Mellow and not to any of the other restaurants in the Shoppes of Avondale, make us a little uneasy.

Agreeing to them would restrict Mellow’s ability to compete for  customers and, given the close involvement of some local restaurants with “We Love Avondale LLC”, we are not at all comfortable that what we are being asked to do is reasonable or fair. These conditions include:

1. Close up completely at midnight.

2. No music or television sound played in any outside area after 9:00pm.

3. No outside live music.

4. No uses allowed in the parking lot area except parking, and deliveries between the hours of 9am and 5pm.

5. Security provided to prevent nuisance behavior on Friday and Saturday evenings (Note: Mellow is willing to participate in any program organized by the neighbors and/or the Merchants’ Association but will not agree to provide this service alone).

Mellow has agreed to provide full food service during all times when alcohol is served and to prohibit live music after midnight.

We hope it is obvious that we have made ENORMOUS efforts to address local concerns - as we promised we would. We have tried hard not to be distracted from this by the  deeply unpleasant tactics of those opposing us and we will continue to concentrate on doing what is right.

Thank you very much for your support - you are a majority presence in our neighborhood and we will do our best to ensure that Mellow Mushroom Avondale is a place you can be proud of.

Source: From a recent blog post at

Initial conceptual site plan showing adaptive reuse intent, addition of bike racks integrated within public space via landscape buffer, outdoor seating that interacts with streetscape and addition of 14 net new parking spaces

Revised conceptual site plan based on the recommendations of the opposition group “We Love Avondale LLC” and representatives of Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP).