New Food In The 904: 12 Fresh Spots To Dine In Jacksonville

New Food, Jacksonville, Florida

Rue St. Marc, Photo by Sterling Tucker, San Marco Restaurant, New Food in the 904, Jacksonville, Florida, Matthew Medure

Rue Saint Marc

By Erin Thursby / Photos by Sterling Tucker

Rue Saint Marc, the latest venture backed by the brothers Medure, is actually a partnership with a couple who have had an incredible journey over the years. The French-American menu comes from CIA Hyde Park alum Chef Scott Alters, but the cocktails happening at the bar are the brainchildren of his fiancée Gabrielle Saul. She’s been studying mixology for years, and spent some time in Napa perfecting her understanding of wine. She shook up the bar program at Medure before helping her fiancé open Rue. She makes as much as she can for Rue Saint Marc in-house, barring the liquor of course, with no sub-par substitutions. A staggering number of hand-crafted cocktails are available for any taste, so we highly recommend you stop in for Happy Hour from 3-6pm Monday-Friday for $2 off on wine, draft beer, and her beautiful creations. Do check out the pastries in the case before leaving, or ask to pair one of their lemon tarts with a cocktail.

You can expect an ever-rotating menu, because Chef Alters is devoted to ingredients sourced in-season at the peak of their flavor and freshness. Some things only have a two-week window of supply with those measures of excellence applied. By the seventh week of opening, the menu had been changed three times. The high standards enforced at both the bar and in the kitchen make this new French-inspired spot hot in the 904.

2103 San Marco Blvd, 619-0861, ruesaintmarc.com

Comfort. A Southern Kitchen, Fried Chicken Plate, Biscuit Board, shrimp, Photo by Nate Mayo

Comfort. A Southern Bistro

By Nate Mayo

A new restaurant popped up on University Blvd, and it’s called Comfort. A Southern Bistro. A friend told me about this restaurant in April, and it’s been buzzing on social media.

Co-owner and Executive Chef Lacy Gregory originally went to school for broadcast journalism, but she listened to her heart (I mean stomach) and went all-in on food. She went to UCF for restaurant management. She then sharpened her skills at the Orlando Culinary Academy, then Disney, and most recently at the Sawgrass Country Club. Comfort’s mantra is “country with a little class.” “It’s southern from-scratch cooking with presentation and skill. …Everything is fresh, nothing’s frozen.” They make their own pickles, every dressing, every sauce. All desserts are made in-house, and the sides change every day.

The food. They have a biscuit board that comes with three different biscuits, butters, jams, pickled veggies, and spiced pecans. All the southern staples like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and deviled eggs. They even have a Thanksgiving sandwich with roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, and a cranberry mayo. Dessert-wise they have a trio of rice krispy treats, peanut butter pie, and sometimes pecan pie. Their banana pudding is served with Chessman cookies instead of vanilla wafers.

2777 University Blvd W. Ste 32. Facebook

Volcano Sushi, Salmon Tartar, Photo by Erin Thursby

Volcano Sushi House

By Erin Thursby

Sushi, it seems, has taken up residence in so many strip malls here in Jacksonville that we barely take note anymore. But we’d like to clue you in on one new sushi joint, Volcano Sushi House. It is in the standard strip mall, but it should not be missed. More than that, while they do traditional rolls well, we recommend that you go for the innovative items on their menu, such as the sushi taco, which is pretty much perfection. You should also be asking the question, “What’s not on the menu YET?”

Volcano Sushi, Waterfall, Photo by Erin Thursby

Delights such as the Salmon Tartar, served with mango, the artistically arranged Bird’s Nest, and the Water Forest are all new, some of which are not on the menu yet, but will be soon. Some go far beyond the fresh taste of sushi and into a more savory and rich palette of flavors. If you’ve thought sushi isn’t for you, try the Water Forest, with seared salmon and deep-fried shrimp, topped with crispy crab “fries.” The young 26-year-old proprietor of the restaurant, Chinese-born Jay Wong, is a rock star when it comes to flavor innovation, and we highly recommend trying what he’s dishing out. We can’t wait to see more from him!

4765 Windsor Commons Ct, 992-4999

 Town Hall, Tom Gray, New Food in the 904, Erin Thursby

Town Hall

By Erin Thursby

In the space where the Grotto used to be is Town Hall, the latest restaurant from Chef Tom Gray. If you don’t know him, he helmed Bistro AIX before giving us Moxie.

Asked what the difference was between Moxie and Town Hall, Gray mentioned Town Hall’s pared-down menu and the high number of appetizers, as well as it being a wine-and-beer place rather than a hard liquor place. They still craft some lovely wine-based cocktails. They’re sister restaurants, albeit sisters with different personalities, so while you might find a favorite on both menus (brussel sprouts please!) Town Hall’s got more of warm California wine bar vibe than Moxie’s modern South feel.

Happy Hour is from 3-6 pm, and they’ve kept the package license that the Grotto used to have, so if you love a wine you try, you have the option to pick it up to drink at home. All the wines for sale have a “Here” and “There” price, so you can easily scope out some of their selection before even looking at their wine menu.

Town Hall, Tom Gray, New Food in the 904, Erin Thursby

In the heat of the summer you might want to go for the Stracciatella, a light, fresh and fabulous alternative to the standard salad, made with a creamy Burrata cheese center, peaches, peppers, tomatoes and just a touch of ranch flavor. There’s a lot to be excited about on their menu–like the duck fat cornbread, and plenty of great selections of nibbles and apps such as the grilled cheese with prosciutto, if you come at 3pm before they open the dining area for dinner at 5pm. (They open at 3pm every day except Sunday.) Brunch happens on Sundays 10am-2:30pm–do try their More Mosa if you’re looking for a twist on the standard mimosa!

2012 San Marco Blvd, 398-0726, townhalljax.com

Restaurant Doro, peach burrata, Photo by Nate Mayo, Executive Chef & Owner Christopher Polidoro, Neptune Beach, Florida, New Food in the 904

Restaurant Doro

By Nate Mayo

I’m always looking for new restaurants and hidden gems. This one isn’t that hidden, but I know that most people haven’t been yet.. I’m talking about Restaurant Doro in Neptune Beach. Doro actually means “of gold”, but executive chef and co-owner Christopher Polidoro told me it’s mainly for his last name. Let’s just say he should change the name to El Dorado (city of gold).

Restaurant Doro, salmon tartar, Photo by Nate Mayo, Executive Chef & Owner Christopher Polidoro, Neptune Beach, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjaxQuality is greater than quantity at Doro. Most dishes only have 4-5 ingredients. Each ingredient is made to be able to stand alone, but together are true works of art. Chef Chris made me a few appetizers and a dessert and blew my mind. He put together unique flavor combinations like coffee, raisins, and salmon that left me feening for more. A peach burrata dish with house-made tomato jam that is the best appetizer that I’ve had all year. I asked chef about unique dishes and he told me about the pistachio pavlova with cream and strawberries. Pavlova is basically a cloud of meringue with a crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. My mouth is literally watering thinking about this modern twist on strawberries and cream.

I had front row seats at the bar and watched chef Chris create masterpieces right in front me. He made it look easy, so calm and collected, like he was tying his shoes. He presented beautiful Netflix: Chef’s Table-worthy plates, cutting fresh herbs that were still in the planters on the counter and effortlessly garnishing the dishes like he was dropping the mic. Trust me, you NEED to eat at Restaurant Doro.

 

106 1st St. Neptune Beach, FL 32266    http://restaurantdoro.com // @restaurantdoro

Celestia's, Mayport Shrimp Boil, Photo by Nate Mayo, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

Celestia’s

By Nate Mayo

If you’ve never been to Soul Food Bistro, you’re probably living under a rock. I’m talking oxtail, fried chicken, candied yams, peach cobbler, and a food coma. Who is behind that operation you ask? Chef Celestia Mobley. Like myself, she was working in the banking industry and threw up the deuces to pursue everything food. She attended culinary school locally at FSCJ and has been the heart and “soul” of Soul Food Bistro for 20 years. She just opened Celestia’s on July 4th.

The menu is mainly seafood with come caribbean mixed in. Some of the specials they’re doing are oxtail stew, curry chicken, brown stew chicken, and fresh red snapper. Two words come to mind when I think about Celestia’s: Good lawd! I got to try lemon pepper wings, oxtail wontons, mac n cheese, peach cobbler, and the Jumbo Mayport Shrimp boil. EVERYTHING was incredible. The Jumbo Mayport Shrimp boil comes with 15 Mayport shrimp and it’s only $15.99! Good luck getting this portion and quality from these local crab shacks. She could easily charge $20 for this or cut the portion size. Not only that, it comes with smoked neck bones, sausage, corn, and potatoes. I’ve tried many seafood boils and Celestia’s does it best.

6765 Dunn Ave. Jacksonville, FL 32219  //  Celestias-Coastal-Cuisine on Facebook

FOO DOG Curry Traders, Photo by Erin Thursby, Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

Foo Dog Curry Traders

By Erin Thursby

From Chef Howard Kirk comes a much-desired infusion of curry flavor in the form of Foo Dog Curry Traders in Riverside. Chef Kirk also helms 13 Gypsies, a favorite of area chefs. With such a great pedigree, Foo Dog is one of the hottest new places to try. Conveniently, Foo Dog and 13 Gypsies are on the same strip of Stockton. For our vegan and vegetarian readers, you’ll be happy to know that any dish can be made vegan. For non-vegans or those who want to take their protein in the form of fish, the green curry cod seems to be the best choice. Take out and sit down are currently available, but they are working on getting a delivery service up and running soon! We will keep you posted on that in our #EatUpJax column. They’re closed Sunday and Monday, but are open 11am-11pm all other days of the week.

869 Stockton St, 551-0327, badwolftraders.com

The Local, Goatacado, Photo by Nate Mayo, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax, Mirmar, San Marco, Mandarin

The Local

By Nate Mayo

The Local is a new restaurant located in Miramar (between Mandarin and San Marco). They are serving up the works: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tapas, Bold Bean Coffee, smoothies, wine, and beer. Operating partner Jordan Harrington says: “We wanted to bring something to Jacksonville that hadn’t quite come here yet. There is a lot of places where you can get good food. Breakfast in city we found to be lacking. You can get a good sandwich, you can get a good coffee, and a place with a good beer selection, but those are all separate places. We wanted to find a place where you could get all those at any point in the day. “

The Local, The Enzo, Photo by Nate Mayo, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax, Mirmar, San Marco, Mandarin

The name, “The Local” comes from English slang. In Britain and Europe, people going down to a local cafe or bar refer to it as “the local” rather than the actual name of the place.  “That’s not the name of it,” says Harrington, “ but that’s what they call it. We wanted to bring that here, the real community feel. “

4578 San Jose Blvd- Jacksonville, FL 32207 // thelocaljax.com // @thelocaljax

B Street Eats, Photo by Erin Thursby, Murray Hill, Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

B Street Eats

By Erin Thursby

From the folks who brought you Maple Street Biscuit Company, is B Street Eats. This restaurant, a casual, counter-order place, has plenty to offer your taste-buds, and while the flair is Latin, because the owners got a lot of their inspiration from the melting pot of tastes that is Miami, they bring flavors from all over the map. Basically, says co-owner Jackie Rierson, “it’s what we like to eat.” So you’ll find Jasmine rice paired with their outstanding black beans instead of something more traditionally Latin.

B Street Eats, Photo by Erin Thursby, Murray Hill, Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

This isn’t their first go-around with the concept, so general kinks were ironed out with their first St. Augustine location. Nearly everything comes in neat brown boxes, so you can take home whatever you’d like to. For the meat-eaters, there’s the Cheesy Pig, featuring an excellent Caribbean pulled-pork, a brilliant combo of cheeses– brie and havarti, with a little spice and sweetness thrown in. You can taste the love and the three days that go into the pork. For vegetarians, try the Crazy Fruit Sandwich, featuring chorizo-spiced jackfruit as the stand-in for meat. I’m personally in love with The Bomb’s oniony goodness. Nestled inside aluminum foil, this onion is bathed in bouillon and stuffed with parmesan cheese.  I will also be coming back for the Refreshers, which are cucumber-water based drinks, with a little added kick of citrus and sweetness. Beer, wine, and sangria are on hand should your taste in beverages lean more toward alcohol.  

All in all, a hot new Murray Hill stop for a casual Latin-inspired lunch, or something to take home for dinner. Closed Sundays. Otherwise open 11am-9 pm. 

1179 Edgewood Ave, 503-8489

The Bread & Board, collard pork, Photo by Erin Thursby, 5 Points, Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

The Bread & Board

By Erin Thursby

Sandwiches are officially sexy at the The Bread & Board. If someone in my hearing should casually say “they just do sandwiches” I would do my best to correct them. Not just because they definitely do other things (such as salads, cheese boards, their brunch menu, etc.), but also because no sandwich they serve is JUST a sandwich. We’re talking culinary revelation in sandwich form. I’m not saying that each bite gets you closer to God, but I definitely experienced an urge to give thanks to a higher power after two bites of their Sweet Tea Turkey Sandwich.

The Bread & Board, Sweet Tea Turkey Sandwich, Photo by Erin Thursby, 5 Points, Riverside, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax

If you’re looking for a standard club sandwich, that’s not going to happen. But if you’re looking to expand your palate without doing anything too crazy, it’s something you ought to try. They cure their own meats, so they have control over the process. They also have a special limited takeout menu available at Alewife, should you want to imbibe out in the world while eating one of their creations. They serve lunch from 11am-2:30pm and open again from 4-10pm every day of the week except Sunday when they are open 9am-3pm.  

1030 Oak St, 862-6992, thebreadandboard.com

BELLWETHER, SALAD, Photo by Erin Thursby, Downtown, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax, Black Sheep Restaurant Group

Bellwether

By Erin Thursby

BELLWETHER, Over the Top Burger, Photo by Erin Thursby, Downtown, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjax, Black Sheep Restaurant GroupBlack Sheep’s sister restaurant, Bellwether is open Downtown. If you like Black Sheep, you may like Bellwether, though the pricing is lower at Bellwether. It’s very American because there really is nothing more American than liberally borrowing from other cultures and countries. Some items, like the burger and fries, are very straightforward, but others have a Korean twist (the broccoli with kimchi, or the Korean hot fried chicken sandwich that can appear as a special) or have been popular on menus across the country (the poutine). They keep an eye on the trends (pimento cheese! kombucha!), but Bellwether stays grounded, and their dishes are focused and well-executed. In the heat of summer, there are a few things you must try: their salads, their soft-serve, and the Berserker, their version of a Blizzard. They do source locally whenever they can, especially when it comes to salad greens. Bacon Produce, which has some amazing Bibb lettuce you can buy at the Riverside Arts Market, also provides Bellwether with red leaf kale and their renowned Bibb. Bellwether’s got a full bar, so we look forward to them opening for dinner (soon!) but in the meantime they are closed on the weekends. Hours are shortened to 9am-3pm on Monday, but the rest of the weekdays they go 9am-7pm, just late enough for a bite right after work.

100 N Laura St Suite 100, 802-7745, bellwetherjax.com

Social Grounds, affogato, Photo by Stephanie Acar, Motion Sweets, New Food Issue, EU Jacksonville, Erin Thursby, Springfield, Jacksonville, Florida, New Food in the 904, EU Jacksonville, #eatupjax, #nomnomjaxPhoto by Stephanie Acar

Social Grounds

By Erin Thursby

For coffee with a heart, look no further than Social Grounds of the newest additions to the Springfield neighborhood. The owner was formerly a homeless veteran, so he’s working with various organizations to employ others who have been in his situation. Inside, the slick-but-earthy design speaks to a change that’s been happening in Springfield. They are one of the few places using a Slayer Steam machine for their coffee. They roast the beans here in Jax, and they do something a little differently: they consistently provide single-bean sourcing rather than making a blend. For some coffee purists, this is a way to be able to really taste what an area or a particular bean has to offer, and though you can find single-bean coffees here in Jacksonville, this is something that they always do here.

Motion Sweets provides their pastries, and soon Social Grounds will be offering something a little more savory in the form of a new bagel from Motion. If you’d like to support their business but just can’t bear the thought of hot coffee in this heat, try one of their fruit smoothies or one of their affogatos. An affogato is ice cream topped with a shot of espresso, and Social Grounds is the only place I know of that makes the espresso fresh and hot to douse the ice cream, melting it just enough to mix with the sweet creamy flavor.

You can also take your favorite bean home, and they’ll grind it right on the spot. Because they roast the beans themselves, they hit shelves within a week of roasting or less. See their website for more on their products and merch or just stop by! They’re closed Sunday, but are otherwise open from 6:30am-5:30pm. 

1712 Main St N, 683-2487, socialgroundscc.com