South + York, the charming and creative restaurant that was doing what it could to bring good food to the Winter Springs and Oviedo area, has closed. The farm-to-table concept had been open just over 13 months.
The name of the restaurant was a reflection of chef and co-owner Edgar Cruz's dual heritage, a native New Yorker who married into the Florida South. His wife, Emily Pratt-Cruz, was a co-owner. Emily's mother, Lydia Pratt, died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve. She and Emily's father were the sole investors in the restaurant, but her father, Emily told me, is having difficulty dealing with the loss of his wife and the financial demands of a struggling restaurant. The couple found they were unable to keep the business going without that support.
Pratt-Cruz also said that the location proved problematic. It was located in an upscale, Publix-anchored strip mall at the corner of Tuskawilla Road and State Road 434 in Winter Springs. The space it occupied was ideal and had garage-doorlike openings that allowed the dining room to open to the patio. However, the restaurant could not be seen from the road, and Pratt-Cruz said that so many people in the area would eventually happen by and tell her they had no idea the restaurant was there.
Currently there are no plans to reopen in another location. Cruz will keep cooking and may move back to New York, although Pratt-Cruz said they would prefer to stay in the are.
"We had a whole lot of money sunk into this place and we'll try to recoup what we can."
I recently told you about the opening of Rock & Brews, the rock star-owned restaurant that said on its website that it chose Oviedo for its first Florida location because of its "energized...restaurant scene." If there was any validity in that statement it was because of South + York.