Knead Bakery
Knead Bakery

Eat Your Fill in Murray Hill

Local Murray Hill business owner Bernie Zitomer of Bernie’s Wine Stop says that a neighborhood like Murray Hill, sandwiched between industrial, commercial, and upscale residential, serves as a sort of “barometer of the economy.” Judging from the food providers and restaurants flourishing there, things are looking up for all of us.

New to the neighborhood this year are Knead, Maple Street Biscuit Company, and Bella Vita Pizzeria. They have joined ranks with some of the most classic food destinations in Jacksonville.

Knead, which you might recognize as the bread provider for Bold Bean in Riverside, opened up their own place in Murray Hill. They serve artisan sandwiches, bread, pies, and, of course, Bold Bean coffee (they’re next door). We hear their croissants are transcendent. They’re open for breakfast 7am-2pm Tuesday-Sunday. Decor is vintage modern, and it’s been wildly popular since it opened.

Hometown fast(ish)-food favorite Maple Street Biscuit Company already feels like it’s been part of the Murray Hill neighborhood forever. The first Maple Street opened in the San Marco neighborhood in 2012, and a total of four locations have opened, three of which are in our area. If you haven’t been to a Maple Street, you should, because it’s an important part of Jacksonville’s burgeoning food scene. Order at the counter and answer a quirky question that changes every day. (Example questions: what’s your favorite scary movie? Dream vacation destination?) They call your answer instead of your name when your order is up. Large tables encourage communal seating. It’s Southern comfort food with just enough of a modern twist to keep it interesting. Most of the menu is made up of biscuit sandwiches, along with Southern sides. You won’t go away hungry.

Bella Vita Pizzeria just opened last April. The owners say that they were attracted to Murray Hill because it’s such a family-oriented neighborhood. Stacks of high chairs and easy-to-clean, vinyl-topped tables show they’re ready for the toughest of toddlers! You can also find Christian faith on their marquee menu (they let you know that “God is Great!”), along with a Bible verse (John 3:16) and a cross reverently scrawled in neon on a light-up sign. Just because “pizzeria” is in the name doesn’t mean they don’t serve other things—pasta, subs, wings, jalapeno poppers and baked potatoes are some of the selections they offer.

Diner Crazy Egg isn’t such a newcomer, having opened their doors in 2010. This family-owned diner is known for their hash browns, breakfast, and lunch, but they are also open until 9pm on weekdays.

Take out or eat in, Murray Hill gets its punk-pizza from the ever-tasty Moon River Pizza. It’s easy to spot their distinctive logo and neon. Hipster panache, local art on the walls and damn good pies keep the locals coming back.

Classic Murray Hill eats Edgewood Bakery and The Dreamette have been around for as long as they have for a reason.

Since 1947, Edgewood Bakery has been serving the Murray Hill community. But just because they’ve been around for a while doesn’t mean they haven’t evolved. They’ve expanded from just pastries, cookies, and cakes, to having a lunch menu and a cafe. Patrons often relax in the outdoor courtyard as they catch lunch or nibble on something sweet.

The Dreamette just celebrated their 66th year. It’s THE classic soft-serve ice cream shop of Jacksonville, and the original location is in Murray Hill. You can also get a super-thick milkshake or let them mix candy or flavor into it for a unique dessert, although most stick with a classic soft-serve chocolate, vanilla, or combination swirl. It’s a great place to take the kids, but adults of the neighborhood will often end a hard day at work with a soft-serve cone.

Should you want to have supper at home, there are four places you might visit on Edgewood. Pick up some vino at Bernie’s Wine Stop, fresh fish from Swimming Yesterday, and freshly baked organic bread from Community Loaves. Grab a little dessert from Edgewood Bakery, and you’ll be set.

Swimming Yesterday stocks local catches from Mayport and around Florida. When patrons walk through the door, owner Shane Tanner greets them by name and remembers their past orders. They serve clientele not just from Murray Hill but also from nearby Avondale and surrounding neighborhoods.

Both Bernie’s Wine Stop and Community Loaves foster a sense of community with weekly events. See our story on Bernie’s Weekly Wine Tastings to the lower left. Community Loaves bakes all-organic sourdough and whole grain breads. Once a week they hold a relaxing pizza night in their cozy back garden, often with live entertainment. (With vegan and vegetarian options on offer!) Their delicious and creative personal pizzas are different each week. They also hold monthly classes on bread, pizza, and pastry-making. Community Loaves is carried at Native Sun and Grassroots and is also served at Brew, Sweet Theory, and Black Sheep.

Murray Hill’s Edgewood strip is shaping up as great destination for food lovers, and all that deliciousness is bringing an already wonderful community even closer together.

About Erin Thursby