'Very hard decision': Popular Murray Hill pub closes after 7 years (2024)

After seven years, an Irish pub in Murray Hill served its final pint of beer and last order of fish and chips on Sunday.

The Stout Snug, 1190 Edgewood Ave. S., closed its doors after being sold by its owner, a veteran Jacksonville restauranteur who told the Times-Union that he's taking a hiatus to spend more time with his family.

"I want to spend more time with my kids. My kids are going into junior high and high school and I only have a few years left with them. I live about 40 minutes away so it's hard to be here and there for them in all their activities," said Russ Disparti, who has three daughters and a granddaughter.

Contributing to the decision, Disparti said, was the current economic and business environment surrounding restaurants.

"Many restaurants are not surviving these days and we are fortunate enough to walk away while we're on top," he said. "I was able to sell to someone who's going to come in and take it in a different direction. All the employees get to keep their jobs. Nobody's unemployed so it's the best scenario for everybody," Disparti said.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

'Very hard decision': Popular Murray Hill pub closes after 7 years (2)

New owner, new name and new concept

Named Mustang, the new restaurant is a country western concept offering an Americana meets Tex-Mex-themed menu. Mustang hopes to open Friday, manager Monica Navarro told the Times-Union.

"It could change but right now it's Americana food with Tex-Mex flair. We'll have line dancing and we'll still carry on the trivia and open mic nights," Navarro said.

The restaurant's new owner couldn't be reached for comment immediately.

Navarro is among the Stout Snug staff who is staying on and will be working at Mustang.

"It is bittersweet for us," she said, noting that although the pub is closing, they all still have a connection to it and the Murray Hill community.

They are happy, Navarro said, "to keep on serving the same great community that has shown us so much love and support."

The Stout Snug is the latest in a series of popular Murray Hill restaurants to shut its doors, following El Jefe Tex-Mex in April and Vagabond Coffee Co. cafe in December 2023.

'Very hard decision': Popular Murray Hill pub closes after 7 years (3)

The pub was known for its Irish comfort food, including classic and inspired pub grub such as signature Cottage Stout Pie, the restaurant's version of Shepherd's Pie, and traditional fish and chips.

Its adjacent ice cream parlor as well as live music, rousing trivia nights and unwavering hospitality also made the pub a neighborhood mainstay and go-to destination.

"It was a very hard decision. These people have become my family around here. They know my family and are all part of it. But that being said, I've been doing this 25 years and it's time for me to spend some time with my kids, do something closer to home so I can be around them more," he said.

The closure of The Stout Snug comes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disparti to close 10/Six Grille, his Alice in Wonderland-themed at downtown's historic Seminole Club building, in September 2020, less than a year after its opening. While 10/Six Grille succumbed to the pandemic, The Stout Snug survived.

"When you have two restaurants, you have to put the focus on the one that would survive. I didn't want to lose both of them," Disparti said at the time of his decision to close 10/Six Grille.

'Day to sell has come'

'Very hard decision': Popular Murray Hill pub closes after 7 years (4)

"I tell everybody that I didn't create an Irish pub. The neighborhood created an Irish pub. What makes it that is the people. ... It's the people who create the environment and make it what it is," he said of the restaurant that opened in August 2016.

Disparti had announced The Stout Snug closure in a June 19 Facebook post emphasizing that its success was due to the Murray Hill community.

"We’ve made it through the toughest of times and are fortunate to be where we are today. We did so because of you, all of you, but as any restaurant owner will tell you, the best day in this business is the day you sell it. For me, That day has come." he posted.

Teresa Stepzinski is the dining reporter for the Times-Union. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @TeresaStepz or reach her via email at tstepzinski@jacksonville.com.

If you're a subscriber, thank you. If not, become a subscriber to get the latest dining coverage.

'Very hard decision': Popular Murray Hill pub closes after 7 years (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated:

Views: 5832

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.