Food Editor Erin Thursby reports on where to eat, drink and be merry in the greater Jacksonville area. Thursby also serves as the Executive Director of GastroJax, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves to foster and preserve local cuisine, educating the public about local food and beverage sources, local restaurants and North Florida dishes.
Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of the Hoptinger Bier Garden & Sausage House since last year. It’s finally open at 333 1st St N in Jacksonville Beach. Craft beer, full bar and a menu of sausages, brats, and, surprisingly, some vegetarian options!
Cowford Chophouse to open in the Bostwick Building
Two years ago, the Bostwick Building stood on the edge of being either destroyed or redeemed as a historic building. Today, thanks to the Cowford Chophouse, it’s well on its way to being renovated. The boarded up arch windows in Downtown Jacksonville feature the chophouse logo and artwork. It covers the jaguar that used to peek through. That old art is protected under the canvas and developers say that once they take down the art for good, it will go back to the artist– Jim Draper. Cowford Chophouse is slated to be opened in the summer of 2016 and will include rooftop dining with a focus on steak. The restaurant will be part of the Forking Amazing Restaurants, a restaurant group that also comprises Ovinte in the St. Johns Town Center, and Bistro Aix. The 6 million dollar renovation, supported in part with grants and loans from the Downtown Investment Authority, will create 55 new jobs in Jacksonville’s urban core once it is open.
Bakery Ribault to move to 5 Points
Bakery Ribault will be moving into 5 Points proper on Lomax Street where Corrado’s has just shut its doors. In the meantime, Bakery Ribault has closed its old digs on Oak Street to have time to open the new this summer. We will keep you updated so you can be the first in line for some of the best croissants in Jacksonville!
Safe Harbor Seafood to open new location in Jacksonville Beach
Also coming this summer is the Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant in Jacksonville Beach, which will be the result of a team-up between the Groshell’s of Marker 32 and the Fish Camps and Gerald Pack and Chris Wooten of Safe Harbor Seafood. It sounds like a delicious partnership!
Full Circle eatery opening in Avonlea Antiques Mall
Full Circle Eatery will be opening late this month or early next, in the locale of the Olde Florida Cafe at the Avonlea Antiques Mall on Phillips Highway. The new owners are Zack Nettles and Michael Williams, who are known throughout the land for their episode of Restaurant Impossible when they owned The Secret Garden on Beach Boulevard. Less well known is the fact that they also own Derby on Park, which is often my go-to whenever I have fussy-eater guests in town.
Santa Maria gets new owners
The hyper-touristy Santa Maria restaurant in St. Augustine, best known for its iconic signage and position off the dock in Downtown St. Aug and for the ability to feed the fish directly from seats indoors, has changed hands. The new owner is David White, who owns the White Room and the beloved O.C. White’s.
#SocialSunday at Cabana Grill
Cabana Grill launches their entertainment series, #SocialSunday, on Sunday, April 12, beginning at noon every Sunday thereafter. From noon to 3pm, enjoy family-friendly entertainment and 25% off all food. From 4-7pm enjoy other deals, and live music. Everyone who orders between noon and 7pm gets a coupon for 50% off a Fiesta Meal valid through the following Wednesday. Fiesta Meals are fajita meals for four including a pound of fajita meat, rice, beans and tortillas.
The Chef’s Canvas: Recipes Inspired by the Collection of the Cummer Museum of Art & GardensThe Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens announced the launch of a modern coffee table cookbook celebrating the Museum’s diverse collection of art and the abundant talent of local chefs in partnership with Cari Sanchez-Potter. Cummer Museum Program Manager Emily Moody will be working with Potter over the next ten months to create The Chef’s Canvas: Recipes Inspired by the Collection of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. The cookbook is set to launch in March 2016, with a tasting event where participating chefs will serve small bites of their creations. Additional 2016 programming will celebrate the idea of beautifully curated art and beautifully plated food. The Chef’s Canvas is set to include artfully inspired dishes and drinks from more than 50 restaurants, breweries, food trucks, and bartenders from across the First Coast.
Saturdays Veterans United Craft Brewery Tour Want to take a spin around a production brewery and sample a few tasty craft beers? Guided Brewery Tours include a souvenir logo tasting glass and sample pours. Every Saturday: 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm. No reservation needed – please just sign up at the taproom. Inquiries for larger groups or private tours may be emailed to [email protected] for more information. $5. Veterans United Craft Brewery Tour, 8999 Western Way #104, vubrew.com
May 6, 20 Truffle Class Book something special for mom that you can do together! Sweet Pete’s truffle class is a two-hour class that teaches basic chocolate techniques. Students learn tempering, shell molding and how to make a ganache filling. Each student leaves with approximately a half pound of truffles. Ages 14 and up. Groups of ten or more please contact [email protected] for a private class. Don’t forget to check out the Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails! Reservations required. $15, 5:30pm, 400 N. Hogan St., 376-7161, sweetpetescandy.com
May 10 Blue Fish Restaurant and Oyster Bar Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet Mom can get exactly what she wants at the omelet station, or she can load up on shrimp mac ‘n’ cheese, honey ham and more. Reservations recommended. $29. 10:30am-2pm, 387-0700, 3551 St. Johns Ave, bluefishjax.com
May 13 Monique Burr Foundation For Children “A Night at Roys” Live entertainment, Hawaiian-influenced gourmet eats, wine, and more to support MBF Child Safety Matters, a child abuse prevention program. $100, 6-9pm, 2400 3rd St S, Jacksonville Beach, 642-0210, moniqueburrfoundation.org
May 15 Sweet Pete’s & The Candy Apple Cafe Candy & Cocktail Night! Includes: 4 Hors D’oeuvres from the Cocktail Hors D’oeuvres Menu, 2 Drinks per Guest – House Beer/House Wine + Candy Du Jour (Candy Maker’s Choice) Third Friday of each month. Private Candy and Cocktail Packages available with a minimum of 25 Guests. Repeats every month on April, May, June, July, August, September, October on the third Friday, until Fri Oct 16, 2015. $35, 6-8pm, 400 N. Hogan St, 376-7161, sweetpetescandy.com
May 15 Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Festival Love beer? Then be here at the 7th Annual Craft & Import Beer Festival inside the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Featuring 40 Breweries, over 350 beers, food samples from 20 local restaurants, two bands, and two DJs. $45 general admission, $60 for VIP, 5-9pm, 300 A Philip Randolph Blvd, beerfestjax.com
May 16 Jacksonville Herb Society Want to learn more about growing and using herbs in cooking? Then attend this lecture followed by a homemade lunch using herbs. Members available after the meeting to answer questions on growing, harvesting and culinary uses of herbs. Includes a drawing for prizes. Free to visitors; members $25 a year. Information, email [email protected] Repeats every month on the third Saturday, 10:30am. Glynlea Grace United Methodist Church, 6429 Atlantic Blvd
May 16 New Trucks On The Block Jax Truckies presents the newest food trucks to hit the streets of Jacksonville. Enjoy the food, craft beer and more from the new guys. Featured trucks: The Butt Hutt, Smokehouse, WaugaWauga Food Truck, Pita Boss, von Zipper’s Mexican Grill, Say Cheese, Professor Panini, Latin Soul Grille Food Truck, Seaweeds Maine Lobster Rolls Inc., Synsha Suite Fashions, GuanaBana Ice Pops and Julie’s Sweet Stuff. Jacksonville Landing, 4-9pm, facebook.com/jaxtruckies
May 19 Native Sun Night on the Town at Moxie The Native Sun Natural Foods Market’s Night on the Town series series will continue with a visit to Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails. Native Sun’s dining series aims to introduce attendees to restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, and other venues that share the local natural food store’s passion for healthy living. Chef Tom Gray will prepare a seasonal, family-style dinner focused on locally sourced ingredients and served at communal tables. $50 per person includes tax and service. Go to customer service to reserve at either Native Sun locale or call 260-2791. Takes place at Moxie Kitchen 4972 Big Island Drive, See weblink for full menu: nativesunjax.com/events/#moxie
May 28 PAWparazzi Gala Includes a silent auction, sit-down dinner, a reception with bubbly, live fashion show and adorable rescued animals. This bash benefits our fluffy friends via First Coast No More Homeless Pets! $85, 6-10pm, Alhambra Dinner Theatre, 12000 Beach Blvd, www.fcnmhp.org
May 30 Family Farm Day A down-home celebration of Florida farming featuring living historians in period clothing demonstrating cast iron cooking, blacksmithing, basketry, and other rural crafts. At 2 pm, Eric Dusenbery will discuss his new book, Florida Soup: Putting History On The Table, a collection of stories and images about the people, places, and foods of rural Florida. There will be plenty of hands-on activities for folks of all ages, music, storytelling, and much more. Sensible shoes are recommended. Starts at 10am. $5 per person, museum members and children 5 or under free. 386-446-7630, Florida Agricultural Museum, 7900 Old Kings Road North, Palm Coast FL, floridaagmuseum.org