'No Vacancies' at Former Fitch Mountain Eddie's

Big John's Market will need space for parking.


More than a year has passed since the February 2011 exit of the popular and quirky eatery at parking lot on Healdsburg Avenue at Dry Creek Road.

At Patch, we still get comments at least every few months from people who miss its homey, friendly atmosphere and , among other items.

"Eddie’s was one of my favorite places, very sad that it is closed," wrote Healdsburg City Building Official Scott Ward in a Nov. 3, 2011 email to Patch.

However, even though the restaurant building still sits vacant, that doesn't mean there are vacancies, says Big John's owner John Lloyd, landlord for the property.

"There are no vacancies," Lloyd said this week of the former casual dining spot's building. "We still have the real estate agent's (Keegan and Coppin's Marshall Kelly) signs up, but it's not for rent."

Lloyd said his plans, are still to raze the building to allow for more parking spaces. But even at a conservative estimate, the demolition will cost at least $265,000, he said.

"We're holding off on it right now," Lloyd said. "In addition to the demolition, the city probably also will want to do some work to add a right turn lane from Healdsburg Avenue onto Dry Creek."

Big John's Market needs the extra parking spaces because it will lose 30 spaces at the rear of the market when the develops its bike path along the North Coast Railroad easement that runs behind the Big John's building.

The bike path is expected to stretch all the way to Cloverdale, the train's eventual north terminus.

In addition, if the market ever expands as planned, it will need 18 extra parking spaces to meet city code, Lloyd said.

Beyond that, Lloyd said the former Fitch Mountain Eddie's building has not been a profitable site for either of its two tenants since 2003 -- even when Lloyd subsidized them by paying for their water and sewer costs.

"I paid between $1,900 to $2,700 per month for their water and sewer bills, and they were still not making money," Lloyd said of the Fitch Mountain Eddie's operation. "That's really difficult for a landlord."

Lloyd said he was aware that fans of the restaurant were unhappy they left, but given the parking needs and the lack of business success, it was an unfortunate reality.

"It's always interesting to follow up on these things," Lloyd said. "I don't really think you can chalk it up to the landlord."

After they left, Fitch Mountain Eddie's owners Cathy and Raul Arteaga opened  Zocalos, a restaurant at 3120 Lakeville Hwy. in Petaluma. However, Zocalos is now listed as closed in area online directories.

zoe moire June 07, 2012 at 03:10 AM
When BJ's started charging a nickel a bag, we stopped our shopping. They said it was for the environment - saving bags. We did not "buy it".... it's money grubbing in some way. Again, heading out of town to get our goods. This situation just solidifies our thinking as noted by others, in some way, above.
Kate Jones June 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I shop at Big John's on an ongoing basis and am very pleased. At times during the weekend, the parking is very scarce. I am very happy to have Big John's, as well as Shelton's, as places to shop for food in Healdsburg.
John Lloyd June 08, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Fitch Mountain Eddies was not evicted. They asked for an early out from their lease, which we granted, so that Cathy could persue her "closer to home" opportunity in Petaluma. On the bag issue, we also credit a nickel when customers bring in their own bags. More shoppers supply their own bags than not so the program is actually has a minor cost to the market but a plus to the environment.
Keri Brenner (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 08:03 PM
@John Lloyd: Thanks for setting the record straight. It seems there were many misconceptions out there as to what actually happened and what motivated the exit of the restaurant. Thanks for clarifying.
Keri Brenner (Editor) June 08, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Three previous comments attributed to Gail Jonas have been deleted as they were sent by someone else -- someone other than Gail Jonas who has apparently hijacked her account. We regret that this sort of mean-spirited activity is going on. Apologies to both John Lloyd and to Gail Jonas.


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