A Church Street Follow Up

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One of our readers was reading recently about entry from our author Terry Howard about the decline of Church Street Station. You can read that entry “>HERE.

This concerned reader wanted to place a comment about this and put in his 2 cents worth, but our system closes out comments after a certain amount of time to avoid spamming bots from trashing this site. But in the interest of letting him, Mark Dollard, have a say in this, I am copying and pasting his remarks below. Thank you Mark for your story suggestion and we appreciate your observations:

In regards to Terry Howard’s blog on Church Street Station as my “Comments are not allowed on this entry.” I have seen Church Street Station go from a lively place to a forgotten place in as little as seven years. The Station was sold by Bob Snow to the Pearlman team some years ago. The Exchange itself has been renovated and replaced by Pearlman’s executive offices. There is retail space available there and some businesses have made their way inside. Regardless, this end of town is under heavy construction. Yes indeed, I do own and operate Absinthe Bistro and Bar, located inside what used to be the Bumby Arcade.

In fact, I have two business located inside the same building. The Cafe, which is located inside the old Ice Cream Parlor, and the Bistro in the back, a total of ten thousand square feet in all. My partners and I have spent considerable money restoring the old fixtures and a fair amount of elbow grease cleaning it up. I have invested my money in two restaurants here and would not have done so if I did not think we would see some kind of return in the next few years. The condos under construction will do well for us. The new performing arts center and stadium just down street will most definitely bring us in some diners. That is the long term plan.

Pearlman is a landlord and has no intention of “bring back the old days.” Bob Snow used to have a vested interest in the entire place. All of the entertainment and venues were advertised as a whole under a co-op. So in other words it functioned as a unit instead of individually owned businesses scraping by to make some black on the P&L statement. I am working toward the same end. There will be “revitalization” at Church Street Station. This time although we are competing with the theme parks and their own “downtowns.” Believe me, Disney and Universal will do anything it takes to capture the dollars that are staying in their own hotels. So with that, I cannot agree more with the aforementioned statement. “Support what is left, or stare into the face of Brunswick, Ga.”

I am here, my food is fantastic and not one entree is more than $18. My bar is killer and yes Absinthe is illegal although we have the closest thing we can serve without being arrested and shut down. My audience varies from the young and hip to the business guy looking to impress his client. I have the only underground wine cellar in the city that you can actually have dinner in! Thank you “jaffe” for the kudos on the poached pears. My menu is based on what I like to eat and cook. Nearly 20 years in the kitchen have given me the ability to produce the best Bistro style food in the city, and it will not break the bank account to eat it either. Mark Dollard Chef/Owner Absinthe Bistro and Bar http://www.absinthebistro.com

I, for one, will be down there this weekend… checking it out. Won’t you all join me?

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