ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla .– It has been a week since we spoke to you for the first time about St. Augustine restaurant suddenly closes.
In the days that followed, several brides who made deposits at Culinary Outfitters contacted us after repeated attempts to get in touch with the owner.
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To date – of the brides we spoke with – the two women we interviewed have received their refunds.
The first bride we interviewed last Thursday tells us that she got her refund the next day… through Venmo.
The second woman we spoke to just got her refund on Friday after we tried to get in touch with the owner again.
“With each passing day, I feel like I’m not going to get my money back,” says bride-to-be Kelly McKerlie.
We first interviewed McKerlie last Friday after she said she herself made numerous unsuccessful attempts to collect her deposit from Culinary Outfitters.
By the end of that evening, she finally had hope, but it quickly subsided.
“I told you that I had received an email stating that the checks were going out that day and that I would receive a refund check. I still have not received it.
It’s money McKerlie says she desperately needs after having to book another venue just two weeks away from her wedding.
A place that ended up being double the price she had initially expected.
“I had to do the same thing I had to pay for it, so I hope I can get that money for this wedding.”
She says her emails and texts were never answered until we intervened.
We tried to reconnect with owner Chase Pritchard after the interview.
As Action News Jax Dani Bozzini walked towards his house, she saw him sitting on the sofa through his front window, so she waved to him.
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He got up, she believed, to open the door, but never did.
Ten minutes later, McKerlie received a text from Pritchard saying he would hand deliver a check to her on Friday.
She dropped it off on Friday afternoon.
McKerlie says it could have been handled better and hopes everyone who waits will get their money back soon.
“I’m sorry, I understand that it was probably extremely difficult to lose your restaurant, but imagine being in someone else’s shoes who got married and the place was swept away by them.”
We will continue to follow up with the other brides to make sure they get all their money back. And in place of Culinary Outfitters, there will be a new restaurant called Otter’s on the Water.
In place of Culinary Outfitters’ previous location, on the South Dixie Freeway south of King Street, which closed before its waterfront building opened, will be a new bakery and market called La Cocina Market and Bistro.
The owner informs us of his intention to open mid-October or early November at the latest. He says they will focus on catering but will also have a small bistro and market where people can buy products like cheese and wine.
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