When the lights and television are turned off Friday night and the doors are locked, Bogey Grille will be closed.
One of the most-popular restaurants and focal points of Ponte Vedra Beach became another financial victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, general manager Julie Cooper said.
“We’ve haven’t had a single month where we’ve had nothing but red ink,” she said.
Like many local businesses, Bogey Grille counted on thousands of visitors during last March’s THE PLAYERS. The tournament was shut down after the first round out of concern for the novel coronavirus. Not only did the tourists leave, locals were asked to shelter in place.
Within days, Gov. Ron DeSantis closed all restaurants.
“We never recovered from COVID,” Cooper said. “We never had our TPC. You have months where you’re in the red [reporting losses], but you count on big events to make up the difference. We didn’t get a chance to make it up.”
And it only got worse as the grill slowly back in business with a takeout menu, followed by gradual openings of 25 and 50% occupancy limits.
Many residents, however, still weren’t willing to take chances, Cooper said.
“Even when we reopened, business has been slow,” she said. “People are still scared.”
Bogey owner Derek Prince told employees last Monday his intentions to close. He plans to leave the artifacts and sports-theme novelties behind with hopes another owner will carry on the sports bar theme. He also hopes a new owner will keep the restaurant’s name.
“Derek wanted to thank everyone for 16 great years,” Cooper said. “It was a difficult decision but you can’t go months without making money.”
Bogey Grille has an outstanding reputation in Ponte Vedra Beach. It won awards for Best Wings and Best Sports Bar last year in the Ponte Vedra Recorder’s Best of the Best of Ponte Vedra.
Prince hopes to sell or lease the building. Cooper said she had been working in a teacher program for Pilates.
“Now it seems like it’s presented itself,” she said. “Maybe that’s my next step.”