#EATUPJAX: October restaurant openings, closings, and new areas within the native Jacksonville meals scene
Can I say that I am delighted with the decor of a restaurant? The Sweet Pete building was home to MLG shortly after the Candy Apple Cafe moved out. They left all the color out of the room and opted for strong black and white instead. You tried to be whimsical with menu item names, but it just didn’t work. I think the color has to come back with that 10 / Six Grid, an Alice in Wonderland style restaurant. Best of all, they don’t work with Disney and instead stick to the original inspiration of the actual source material, which is so trippy that I think the fun will be back. They open in early October!We don’t want to scare you, but … sometimes local really is the best. We saw an outbreak of the parasitic Cyclospora infection here in Jacksonville last summer and lawsuits were filed in late July. The perpetrator was imported from basil and infected over 100 people in 11 states with about 80 cases. It’s not the only Cyclospora outbreak we’ve seen, and it appears to be a trend. There were two outbreaks in 2018: Delmontes Veggie Trays fell ill about 250 unsuspecting supermarket shoppers, and McDonald’s had an outbreak that affected over 500, resulting in a recall of salads in over 3000 locations. The thing is, standard hygiene protocols (or even non-standard protocols) are hard to get rid of this particularly nasty bug. What they all had in common: Mexico. The restaurant here in Jacksonville Cooper’s Hawkwho suffered the outbreak has switched product providers. If you ate there in June and your gastrointestinal tract hasn’t been quite the same since then, let your doctor know so they can get you tested. The only cure are antibiotics. It takes 2-14 days for symptoms to manifest.
Now collectively called The Ford on Bay, marketing material created by CBRE Jacksonville for DIA to attract developers, Image from Jax Daily Record
Now collectively referred to as The Ford on Bay, marketing material created by CBRE Jacksonville for the DIA to attract developers to the Image from Jax Daily Record project
The old courthouse and town hall outbuildings have been vacant for some time, and the Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority is willing to accept that Renovation proposals to the properties. They ask the developers to meet certain criteria: housing, retail and interaction with the St. Johns River. Mixed use seems to be the issue, and residents of Jax want entertainment, restaurants, and in the past even talked about an aquarium – something many big cities have but we don’t. We’ll keep an eye on things and let you know if something tasty is moving in!
There’s more space in Brooklyn! They’re building our more likely retail and restaurant space next to Brooklyn Station, home of the Hyppo and Burrito gallery. Nothing is planned yet as Bay to Bay Properties LLC has just received planning permission.
Kosta’s pizza The restaurant at 5 Points has been empty for several years, with the occasional speculation as to who might move in. We now know that thanks to some graffiti on the windows Biggies pizza will take over the space. It will be their second location on the First Coast. If you rarely cross the moat, you may not know the original in Jax Beach. Opened in 2016, it is known for nightly New York-style slices, as well as gourmet cakes and other Italian-American dishes. I am always keen to add to my list of late night restaurants so I hope this place stays open late too. They say they open this October, but restaurants rarely hit their opening goals so we’ll keep you posted.
You know Grumpy’s? Orange Park on Kingsley Road, Clay County serves the best breakfast you can get on a plate. They plan to open a second location in St. Johns in late 2020, and they could have a location in Middleburg before then. You’ll also explore other Florida communities – St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Ocala, and The Villages. Franchising is in sight for them, but they plan to be picky about their partners and locations.
Woody’s Bar-BQ They used to train their franchisees on the University Boulevard location, but they have relocated that business activity to Ponte Vedra on Solana Road. From now on, intensive training in the manner of smoke is carried out there. The company bought the site back from a franchisee and gave it an expensive ($ 100,000) makeover. There’s still a lot of love for the quirkier classic original joint at the university, but they want new franchisees to experience the more modern take on farmhouse decor in the Ponte Vedra area. So that you don’t freak out too much, we want you to know that the beach image that everyone loves at the Ponte Vedra location has been preserved.
The Happy grilled cheese Food Truck Turned Restaurant opened its second store at the old Blue Pacific Tacos location in the Mandarin Quarter. This popular food truck, built of bricks, often has lines in the downtown area.
In Atlantic and Kernan there is a new Cinemark cinema with 14 screens, and they are building right next to it Panda Express. Hungry theatergoers will want to eat, and when you build it they will come. Can we possibly do better than a Panda Express?
Moon over the market at the Jacksonville Farmers Market
Moon over the market is on November 14th at the Jacksonville Farmers Market from 6-30pm. Annual ticket tasting is organized by GastroJax, the organization that hosts GastroFest. You can purchase tickets at 904tix.com. It’s a great way to sample some of Jacksonville’s best offerings from a variety of food vendors and genres. If you’ve got an incredible appetite, you can also get samples from the student competition portion of the event, where ProStart Culinary students are mentored by local chefs. So far, the program has included Thai food from the sophisticated Blue Orchid restaurant, Vucca’s for an Italian-American from a new food truck that we would like to introduce to the gourmet community, as well as soul food from the revered Celestia Mobley from Jazzy’s and Celestia’s Coastal Cuisine. Food made with Front Porch Pickings products and farm bag contents, Floribama grill from delicious Rite On QUE, Asian street food from Jammas Jax Truck, Pie95s Pizza, a favorite that is asked for every year, the popular local chain of Bono’s Barbecue and Catering, the Datil B Good Food Truck with St. Augustine flavor and the hip Asian cuisine from Blue Bamboo from the award-winning chef Dennis Chan. There will likely be more news in the future, but ticket prices are only $ 25 if you get your tickets from 904tix.com before October 15. Tickets are typically $ 40 per person.