Doctor expands on restaurant plans

  • The 100 block of Second Street in Palatka remains empty Monday but businesses are expected to open in spring.
    The 100 block of Second Street in Palatka remains empty Monday but businesses are expected to open in spring.
  • Positively Putnam FL
    Positively Putnam FL

New Orleans-style flavor is coming to the Palatka riverfront this spring and the family-owned business plans to bring more than just dinner. 

Velchoff’s Corner, which will be at the corner of St. Johns Avenue and Second Street, will offer a full-service oyster bar and coffee shop. 

Co-owner Dr. Richard Feibelman said the idea came from an old Mississippi oyster bar his grandfather owned and the proposed restaurant’s name honors him. Feibelman, a Putnam Community Medical Center critical care doctor, will not give up his more than 30 years of practicing in medicine. Instead, he will share the restaurant work with his wife, son and daughter-in-law. 

“I’ve always wanted to do something like that in the hospitality field and really didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to do it just because of the career choices that I made,” he said.  “... I’ve always wanted to have an oyster bar. It was always something in my dreams all my life and, so, (my family) thought we’d take a risk at the opportunity.”

Feibelman said Velchoff’s Corner will serve coffee and pastries in the morning, a light lunch and a full dinner menu. He planned to have an environmentally conservative restaurant, too. 

Besides offering a different flavor, Feibelman wants the coffee shop to offer local college and high school students a place to study. 

“There’s not really something that’s conducive to that in the area right now and we wanted to have that and really, really promote young people in the city and in the county,” Feibelman said. 

His business isn’t the only one planned for the old brick building downtown. Local attorney Charlie Douglas bought the 100 block of Second Street at the end of August and plans to move his law firm to the building. 

Additional businesses have yet to be announced but Douglas said more are planned to move into the building. 

“We’re excited to see how this restaurant will be a part of the downtown core,” he said.

Putnam County Chamber of Commerce President Dana Jones said she, too, is excited to see Velchoff’s Corner come to fruition and hoped it would spark a chain of businesses to revitalize the downtown area. 

“Ideally, you want your downtown – all of them in the county – to be people-centered,” Jones said. “The more reason (people) have to go in downtown areas, whether it’s Palatka or Crescent City, the better for all the merchants and local economy.”


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