Can I say I’m stoked about the decor of a restaurant? The Sweet Pete’s building was briefly home to MLG after Candy Apple Cafe moved out. They drained all the color out of the place, opting for stark black and white instead. They tried being whimsical with menu item names, but it just didn’t work. I think the color has to be coming back with the 10/Six Grille, an Alice in Wonderland-themed restaurant. Best of all, they aren’t going Disney with it, sticking instead to the original inspiration of the actual source material which is trippy enough 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 best. This past summer we saw an outbreak of Cyclospora parasitic infection right here in Jacksonville, and at the end of July suits were filed. The culprit was imported basil, and it infected over 100 people across 11 states, with about 80 cases here. It’s not the only Cyclospora outbreak we’ve seen, and it seems to be a trend. There were two outbreaks in 2018–Delmonte’s Veggie Trays sickened about 250 unsuspecting supermarket shoppers, and McDonald’s had an outbreak that affected over 500, resulting in a recall of salads at over 3000 locations. Thing is, this particularly nasty bug is nearly impossible to get rid of using the standard (or even non-standard) hygiene protocols. What they all had in common: Mexico. The restaurant here in Jacksonville, Cooper’s Hawk, that suffered the outbreak has changed produce providers. If you ate there in June and your gastrointestinal tract hasn’t been quite the same since, do mention it to your doctor so you can be tested. The only cure is antibiotics. Symptoms take 2-14 days to manifest.
The old courthouse and city hall annex properties have lain empty for quite a while, and the Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority is looking to accept redevelopment proposals to the properties. They’re asking that developers who apply meet certain criteria: housing, retail, and interaction with the St. Johns River. Mixed-use seems to be the theme, and residents of Jax want entertainment, restaurants, and in the past, there’s even been talk of an aquarium–something that many large cities have, but we don’t. We’ll keep an eye on things, and let you know if anything tasty will be moving in!
There’s more room in Brooklyn, ya’ll! They’re building our more possible retail and restaurant space next to Brooklyn Station, home of the Hyppo and Burrito Gallery. Nothing is slated just yet, as Bay to Bay Properties LLC just got the permit to build.
Kostas Pizza restaurant in 5 Points has been empty for a couple of years now, with occasional speculation about who might move in. Now, thanks to some graffiti on the windows, we know that Biggie’s Pizza will be taking over the space. It will be their second location on the First Coast. If you rarely cross the ditch, you might not know the original in Jax Beach. That opened back in 2016, known for late-night NY style slices, as well as gourmet pies and other Italian-American food. I’m always looking to add to my list of late-night eats, so I’m hoping this location will stay open late as well. Word is they are opening this October, but restaurants rarely meet their opening targets, so we’ll keep you posted.
Do you know Grumpy’s? Pretty much, they serve some of the best breakfast you can get on a plate, in Orange Park on Kingsley Road in Clay county. They plan to open a second location in St. Johns at the end of 2020, and they might have a Middleburg location even before that. They’re scouting other communities in Florida as well–St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach, Ocala, and The Villages. Franchising is on the horizon for them, but they plan on being picky about their partners and locations.
Woody’s Bar-B-Q used to train their franchisees at the University Boulevard location, but they’ve moved those corporate operations to Ponte Vedra on Solana Road. From now on, the intense training in the ways of the smoke will be handled there. The corporation bought the location back from a franchisee and gave it an expensive remodel ($100K). There’s still a lot of love for the more quirky classic original joint on University, but they want new franchisees to experience the more modern take on the farmhouse decor at the Ponte Vedra locale. Just so you don’t freak out too much, we want to let you know the beach mural everybody loves at the Ponte Vedra location has stayed.
The Happy Grilled Cheese food truck turned restaurant opened their second storefront in the old location of Blue Pacific Tacos in the Mandarin neighborhood. This popular food-truck gone to brick often has lines at its Downtown location.
At Atlantic and Kernan, there’s a new 14-screen Cinemark movie theater, and right next to it, they are building a Panda Express. Hungry theater-goers are going to want to eat, and if you build it, they will come. Can we possibly do better than a Panda Express?
Moon Over the Market is on November 14th at the Jacksonville Farmers Market 6-8:30pm. The annual ticketed tasting event is put on by GastroJax, the organization that puts on GastroFest. You can purchase tickets on 904tix.com. It’s a splendid way to taste some of the best Jacksonville has to offer from a variety of food vendors and genres. If you’ve a prodigious appetite, you can also get samples from the student competition portion of the event, where ProStart Culinary students are mentored by area chefs. So far, the event’s lineup includes Thai food from the swanky restaurant Blue Orchid, Vucca’s for some Italian-American out of a new food truck we want to introduce to the foodie community, some soul food from Jazzy’s and Celestia’s Coastal Cuisine’s venerated Celestia Mobley, food using Front Porch Pickings produce and farm bag contents, Floribama barbeque from the delicious Rite On QUE, Asian street food from the truck Jammas Jax, Pie95’s pizza, which is a favorite that people ask about every year, the beloved local chain of Bono’s Barbecue and Catering, the Datil B Good food truck with a St. Augustine flavor, and Blue Bamboo’s hip Asian cooking from the award-winning Chef Dennis Chan. There will likely be more news to share in the future, but ticket prices will be just $25 if you get your tickets before October 15th at 904tix.com. Tickets are generally $40 per person.