Johnson’s Diner, the iconic southern soul food restaurant that attracted politicians and professional athletes, has closed. Orlando Sentinel reporter Sandra Pedicini wrote about the closing in an online post today. The restaurant has had financial woes in the years since it moved from a cramped, low occupancy space near the old Orlando arena to a newer, larger building near where the new arena just opened. In 2008, owner Clarence Taylor III ran into trouble with the Florida Department of Revenue for nonpayment of sales taxes. The closing comes after the Church Street building’s owner began eviction procedures for nonpayment of rent.
It’s odd that the restaurant was unable to continue and pay its bills at a time when other restaurants on Church Street are praising the opening of the arena as the beginning of a new era of prosperity. According to the story, the construction of the arena hindered traffic to the restaurant, which resulted in decreased revenues. But one has to wonder, when considering the past financial trouble, if it’s just a case of substandard business acumen.