bite by bite: cover story

Absolute BEGINNERS

FW foodie Brentley Stead digs into new area eateries

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Northeast Florida is on fire when it comes to new restaurants. Since March, we’ve had a ton of new spots open, with a few more on the way, like the anticipated new rooftop restaurant River & Post. Here’s what you may expect to experience at some of the hottest new restaurants around.
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Town Hall
2012 San Marco Blvd., 398-0726 
townhalljax.com
A new spot from Chef Tom Gray of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Town Hall is right in the center of San Marco. Get ready for an impeccable meal, regardless of your order–it’s a tidy menu with just enough choices to tantalize any palate. It’s also a wine bar, so try a house-recommended glass or test a wine cocktail. It’s open only for happy hour and dinner–and now Town Hall has just started opening for brunch on the weekends.

Rue Saint Marc
2103 San Marco Blvd., 619-0861
ruesaintmarc.com
Another score for San Marco. This French-inspired restaurant has a beautiful vibe and plenty of creative cocktails. For the most part, the menu is à la carte (aka, you aren’t getting steak with mashed potatoes and a choice of veggies; they have to each be ordered separately), so try lots of distinct dishes for the full experience!

Bellwether (pictured above)
100 N. Laura St., Ste. 100, Downtown 
802-7745, bellwetherjax.com
From the team that brought us Black Sheep and Orsay comes Bellwether, and it’s no surprise the food is amazing. I can’t recommend the brisket sandwich enough; I’m drooling at the thought of it. Downtown denizens and business types welcome this new lunch, dinner and happy hour spot!

Foo Dog Curry Traders
869 Stockton St., Riverside
551-0327, badwolftraders.com
Finally! A restaurant concept that’s not more of the same. Foo Dog looks at barbecue, pizza and burger joints and says no way. The latest fixture on Stockton Street is from Chef Kirk Howard, owner of 13 Gypsies. Try a variety of curries, from Japanese to Korean, and a little bit of everything in between.

The Local
4578 San Jose Blvd., Lakewood
683-8063, thelocaljax.com
A sweet (local) spot that covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a fresh modern interior, all are welcomed with a “come as you are kind” of attitude. Slide right in for a fresh salad or sandwich and see what they have to offer! Hint: caffeine.

Craft Pizza Co.
240 Third St., Neptune Beach
853-6773, thecraftpizzaco.com
Pop open one of the mini personal-size bottles of Prosecco and sit down to elegant pizza fare. With a crisp, clean interior, this latest venture of restaurateur Al Mansur’s serves up traditional Italian favorites, like Margherita pizzas and (what will be) new favorites, like the Mushroom Toast starter.

Comfort. A Southern Bistro
2777 W. University Blvd., Ste. 32
Lakewood, 683-7182
Yup, you guessed it–you will indeed find comfort food at this neighborhood joint. Get your mac & cheese fix here and scarf down the collards, too. In true homestyle fashion, no one will fault you when you go for seconds!

Timwah Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant
8358 Point Meadows Dr., Ste. 11
Southside, 329-3676
Timwah is all about dim sum, and it’s a welcome addition to our city. Dim sum is a style of traditional Chinese dumplings prepared as small bites, filled with a variety of meat, veggies and seafood. It involves a dim sum cart bringing delicious fare to your table, and a menu with sooo many options. Go with a group so y’all can order a lot of different items and sample them all! Heads up: Timwah is open for lunch only.

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