JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A downtown Jacksonville restaurant open for breakfast and lunch has had to get creative lately in order to keep business.
"The restaurant industry is a fickle one," said Greg DeSanto, owner and chef of Olio. "It only takes one thing to change and then your formula is destroyed."
Good food is always part of the formula, but location is also prime.
DeSanto's restaurant isn't going anywhere, situated on nice Bay Street real estate.
But its largest and busiest neighbor has flown the coop.
"Today the courthouse is closed and my business is down 50%," he said.
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He says thousands of folks who worked in or were visiting the courthouse would make the easy walk across the street to his business. That won't be happening any more.
"Sometimes you just have to embrace the change and hope it all works out."
It also helps to have a little luck on your side too.
A customer submitted his duck grilled cheese to the Travel Channel for a contest they're having to find America's best sandwich.
The show will air in August, and all DeSanto knows is his unique creation made the finals.
"It's been on the menu forever," he said. "It didn't do well at first, so we thought about taking it off."
But he was so in love with it that it stayed, and it paid off.
He's now got national attention and the duck grilled cheese is one of the most popular (and delicious) items on his menu.
But his inventive and creative spirit doesn't stop in the kitchen. Starting the first week of June, DeSanto says he's going to offer a free "food bus" shuttle service from the new courthouse to his spot on Bay.
"My customers have been so loyal to me, some come in every single day, so I hope this will pay off too."
First Coast News