Morton’s ends 12-year run on the Southbank

In October, Tilman Fertitta, took Landry’s Restaurants Inc. private; then, by December, he agreed to buy Morton’s Restaurant Group Inc., the famous Chicago based restaurant chain founded in 1978 by Arnie Morton and Klaus Fritsch.

The deal closed yesterday, February 1 — so did the Morton’s on Jacksonville’s Southbank, after becoming a top destination for fine dining since the year 2000.

By Wednesday evening, the moving truck was loaded up in the restaurant’s parking lot. No word on where the inventory and fixtures will return to service — but it won’t be Jacksonville. Landry also owns Chart House restaurants, which has a location nearby at 1501 Riverplace Boulevard.

“Over time, demographics shift and so do the areas in which businesses thrive,” Kris Guthrie, a spokesperson with Landry’s said. “It’s because of this, that we must close the Morton’s location in Jacksonville.”

Former employees told reporters they had no advance warning that the landmark location would close. They worked Tuesday evening and that became their last shift. The Morton’s signs are down.

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