JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Clark's Fish Camp announced on Wednesday it will close its doors after 47 years of serving the First Coast. The Clark's property will be sold, according to the restaurant's general manager.
Clark's is an eclectic Jacksonville joint that was known around town for southern cooking, seafood and a very large taxidermy collection. The restaurant was previously closed for renovations.
The fish camp was opened in 1974 by husband and wife, Joan and Jack Peoples. It has since become a staple in the First Coast community for its unique dining experience.
Joan Peoples hopes that a restaurateur could buy the name and concept of Clark's Fish Camp, which would allow the taxidermy collection to stay where it is and potentially keep the staff employed.
The restaurant was flooded and sustained major damage during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. It is unknown if Clark's took any damage when Ian hit the First Coast.
Read the full statement from John Wolfe, Clark's General Manager, below:
Clark's Fish Camp, after 47 years of serving Jacksonville, is selling its property
If you go down there any time today you will see we are flooded and have been consistently since Hurricane Ian.
This is unfortunately occurring more often each year and this wooden structure that's decades old has been taking a beating and I believe Joan sees the writing on the wall.
This is a very difficult choice obviously having started as a bait and tackle shop with her husband back in 1974 and turning that into a thriving restaurant, literally living the American dream on the waters of Jacksonville. Her husbands passing, the unexpected death of her son Mark made her hang on longer to a restaurant she considers a child for too long.
The influx of so many other restaurants to the area, COVID, increased flooding issues which will get worse every year, the recent supply cost and payroll increases and her refusal to raise menu prices to what they needed to be have left Clark's literally and figuratively under water.
The hope is that a restaurateur might buy the name and the concept leaving the taxidermy where it is and potentially providing jobs for all the employees which has always been Joan's main concern.