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7 Burgeoning Trends of Jacksonville Dining

From EUJacksonville: When it comes to food, some trends go beyond being just “trendy.” These so-called trends actually develop and expand the fabric of our food scene into something better. Written by Jennifer Earnest AND Christopher Irvin.

Published August 18, 2014 in Dining & Nightlife      11 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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Just like in the world of fashion, food trends come and go. Some, like the shoulder pads of the 80s, have gratefully come and gone. When it comes to food, some trends go beyond being just “trendy.” These so-called trends actually develop and expand the fabric of our food scene into something better. The thing with trends is that they are all relative to whom you talk to-- some people still dig shoulder pads, just as some people still believe vegans only eat salad.

So, for the purpose of this article, we reached out to local chefs, restaurateurs, food enthusiasts, mixologists, bloggers, and just everyday restaurant-goers to get their insight. As industry folk and self-proclaimed food lovers, we also let our personal perspective weigh heavily on the topic. We reflected upon experiences we have loved, things we have seen occurring in trendsetting cities throughout the country, and trends that seem to be demonstrating some resilience in our marketplace. Time will only tell which trends are here to stay. We compiled a list of what we see as the top seven local trends that are spicing up our food scene and are, we hope, here to stay.


Image Courtesy of Moxie Kitchen and Cocktails

Local, Local, Local: Growing Social Responsibility & Healthier Food

Focusing on local and sustainable dining is a perfect example of a trend that has stood the test of time. Many feel that it is really no longer a trend, but a way of life--cooking, creating, and living responsibly. As Chef Tom Gray of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails says, “It’s just simply a better way to eat, and when you are looking for nutrition, flavor and sustainability, it is the only way to go.”

What we are seeing is a shift in the extent to which restaurateurs are allowing this local and sustainable mindset to inspire the process. It is evolving to every aspect of the restaurant, not just the kitchen. Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails and Black Sheep Restaurant are perfect examples of incorporating sustainability into restaurant design. Many aspects of their buildings were made from repurposed materials and local creators. In New York, Jean Georges’ ABC kitchen uses local and sustainable philosophies in practically every detail of the experience, which is something we have yet to see here at home. From the plates on which guests dine, to the uniforms the staff wears, the commitment to locality is always displayed.

The focus on farm-fresh ingredients has not only led to more flavorful ingredients, but to a more healthful approach to cooking in general. Vegan and gluten free menu items are no longer being marginalized to menu afterthoughts, but are becoming menu features, to be enjoyed by everyone. We’ve seen this first hand at The Cafe at The Cummer Museum with the Black Bean and Quinoa Stuffed Roasted Portobello with Romesco sauce, which is not only vegan, but naturally gluten free. Menu items like this become top-selling items for omnivores and herbivores alike.



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11 Comments

BridgeTroll

August 18, 2014, 07:50:42 AM
Great article!

Sentient

August 18, 2014, 09:41:46 AM
Jax is basically 5 years (or more) behind the trends embraced in LA, Chicago and NYC.  All are welcome, make no mistake, it is just interesting to see what trickles down here...

jcjohnpaint

August 18, 2014, 10:19:27 AM
I feel like I have been waiting years for pho noodle shops to open here.  I also got to try Maple Street Biscuit and just loved it. 

benfranklinbof

August 18, 2014, 10:35:13 AM
Good article, I can't wait to eat/drink at the future restaurants/trucks that will be in Jax

tiffanyairvin

August 18, 2014, 06:37:43 PM
The first photo (tacos) should be credited to Christopher Irvin and the Pho picture credited to his wife, me, Tiffany Irvin, please.

Rob68

August 18, 2014, 07:13:27 PM
All I know is that so many try to alter foods to fit the american pallette and thats not what im looking for..give it to us as authentic as possible..wierd veg? So what..I had an awesome taco at beach blvd flea market  El taco naco that no proper restaurant has yet to beat...yum..heat with a little pickle and juicy tender meats

ProjectMaximus

September 07, 2014, 09:34:46 PM
I've had this article open in my browser for several weeks...finally just got around to reading it. Nice summary!

I, for one, have wanted to see some serious ramen open up in town for some time. Homemade noodles and tonkotsu broth please. If anyone has the know-how or skills to execute the food I'd love to know and would be happy to help make the restaurant side happen in any way that I can. Don't see why it can't succeed considering how people have embraced pho in this city. Yes, there is a sizable Vietnamese population. But it's definitely been accepted by a much larger demographic than that.

ProjectMaximus

September 07, 2014, 10:00:09 PM
^
Same goes for Korean Fried Chicken. Would love to have that in Jax and would be happy to help make it happen. Especially if someone can develop a way to make it on a food truck...

coredumped

September 08, 2014, 11:20:04 AM
Jax is basically 5 years (or more) behind the trends embraced in LA, Chicago and NYC.  All are welcome, make no mistake, it is just interesting to see what trickles down here...

I agree, but I also think we're 10 years ahead of Tampa and Orlando, where they have mostly chain restaurants. Jax has one of the best mom & pop selection of restaurants in the south east, certainly for a city her size she's in the top few!

IrvAdams

September 08, 2014, 08:14:32 PM
Jax is basically 5 years (or more) behind the trends embraced in LA, Chicago and NYC.  All are welcome, make no mistake, it is just interesting to see what trickles down here...

I agree, but I also think we're 10 years ahead of Tampa and Orlando, where they have mostly chain restaurants. Jax has one of the best mom & pop selection of restaurants in the south east, certainly for a city her size she's in the top few!

Yes, agree. Whenever they do the Hole In The Wall Restaurants articles I am always surprised by some that I have never even heard of, and I've been here forever...we have a ton of restaurants in Jax. And some terrific food trucks.

simms3

September 08, 2014, 09:01:46 PM
Jax is basically 5 years (or more) behind the trends embraced in LA, Chicago and NYC.  All are welcome, make no mistake, it is just interesting to see what trickles down here...

I agree, but I also think we're 10 years ahead of Tampa and Orlando, where they have mostly chain restaurants. Jax has one of the best mom & pop selection of restaurants in the south east, certainly for a city her size she's in the top few!

Yes, agree. Whenever they do the Hole In The Wall Restaurants articles I am always surprised by some that I have never even heard of, and I've been here forever...we have a ton of restaurants in Jax. And some terrific food trucks.

You can't find similar ethnic mom & pop hole in the wall restaurants in Tampa and Orlando?  I think Jacksonville's food scene is definitely underrated, and maybe it's one of the best in the SE behind NOLA/Charleston/Savannah/Birmingham/Atlanta/Nashville, but I can't imagine it's an overwhelmingly noticeable difference "down" to an Orlando like it would be an overwhelmingly noticeable difference "up" to NYC, SF, LA (which I find highly overrated based on my experiences), etc.

Our business journal had a "similar" blog piece this week, interviewed some guy who has a string of bars/daytime restaurants in downtown SF that range from 260-1,000 SF:

Quote
All your restaurants are in the SoMa and Financial District neighborhoods. SoMa-FiDi neighborhoods — what makes these spots appealing for restaurateurs?

The sheer volume of people. And I guess the life I want to make for myself — doing business during the day is what I want to do. People in FiDi are around in the day and leave by 8 pm. I also like the pace of Financial District — people sort of know the rules. They’re fast and polite, they have a time budget, and I see those as positives.

...

What trends are you seeing for San Francisco bars and restaurants currently?

People can’t really get enough of cocktails. That culture is here to stay. People will eat really healthy for lunch and then have several cocktails at night. It seems like there is a very aggressive “work hard, play hard” culture in San Francisco right now. Maybe because everything is more competitive than it used to be.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2014/09/dennis-leary-san-francisco-bar-restaurant-natoma.html?page=all
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