Several Jeffersonville riverfront restaurants struggling to stay afloat

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Daryl Martin heard about one of his favorite lunch spots shutting down after four decades, but he had to see the locked doors and dimmed lights at Rocky's for himself.

"We loved, on a nice sunny day, coming out here and sitting outside, enjoying the view," Martin said. "I know the restaurant business is a tough business."

It certainly seems that way along Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville. Bearno's relocated to Highway 62. Rocky's and Bristol Bar and Grille permanently closed. 

"The tolls are a challenge," said Scott Harper, a managing partner for the Bristol.

Harper said conducting business on the Jefferonsville street has been a rough road since the I-65 bridges started to transform.

"There was some lane closure or bridge closure for 16 months," he said. "That certainly had an effect on businesses in that area."

Harper hoped for the best, but right before Thunder Over Louisville this year, what needed to happen became clear.

"$8 for a round trip to the Bristol Bar and Grille, when you had three other restaurants in Louisville, didn't seem to work out like we hoped," Harper said.

Wendy Dant Chesser, the president of One Southern Indiana, remains confident, saying the economy on Riverside Drive is still strong.

"We have yet to become overly concerned that we're seeing a trend here," Chesser said.

She added that some of the old restaurants have new tenants, and those that don't already have high interest.

"There's a churn, a natural churn in small businesses, especially the restaurant industry," Chesser said.

In fact, she expects news on one of the vacant spots soon.

"We will probably hear something within 30 days," Chesser said.

That's good news for Martin, who's in the market for a new favorite eatery with a view.

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