Local bride finally gets her deposit back after closure of St. Augustine venue

Several brides who made deposits to Culinary Outfitters reached out to us after repeated attempts to get in contact with the owner.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — It’s been a week since we first told you about a St. Augustine restaurant abruptly closing.

In the days that followed, several brides who made deposits to Culinary Outfitters reached out to us after repeated attempts to get in contact with the owner.

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To date — of the brides we’ve spoken with — the two women who we did interviews with have received their refunds.

The first bride we interviewed on Thursday last week tells us she got her refund the next day…via Venmo.

The second woman we spoke to just received her refund Friday after we once again tried to get in contact with the owner.

“As every day passes, I just feel like I’m not going to get my money back,” explains bride-to-be Kelly McKerlie.

We first interviewed McKerlie last Friday after she said she made many failed attempts to get her deposit back from Culinary Outfitters herself.

By the end of that evening, she finally had hope but that quickly diminished.

“I told you that I had received an email that the checks were going out that day and that I would be receiving a refund check. Still haven’t received it.”

This is money McKerlie says she desperately needs after having to book another venue just two weeks away from her wedding.

A venue that ended up being double the price she had originally budgeted for.

“I had to do the same thing I had to pay for that so I’m hoping that I can get that money to put towards that wedding.”

She says her emails and texts never got a response until we stepped in.

We set out to try and get in touch with the owner Chase Pritchard again after the interview.

As Action News Jax Dani Bozzini walked up to his home, she saw him sitting on the couch through his front window so she waved.

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He got up, she believed, to open the door, but never did.

Ten minutes later, McKerlie received a text from Pritchard saying he would hand-deliver a check to her Friday.

She deposited it Friday afternoon.

McKerlie says this all could have been handled better and hopes everyone else waiting receives their money soon.

“I’m sorry I understand it was probably extremely hard to lose your restaurant but imagine being in someone else’s shoes who’s getting married, and the venue got swept out from under them.”

We will continue following up with the other brides to ensure they all get their money back. And in Culinary Outfitters’ place will be a new restaurant called Otter’s on the Water.

In the place of Culinary Outfitters’ previous location, on South Dixie Highway south of King St., which closed prior to the opening of its waterfront building, will be a new bakery and market called La Cocina Market and Bistro.

The owner tells us he plans on opening in mid-October or early November at the latest. He says they will focus on catering but will also have a little bistro and market where people can buy goods like cheese and wine.