7 Burgeoning Trends of Jacksonville Dining

August 18, 2014 11 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

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.

Image Courtesy of Taverna

Cocktails Are Going Strong

A neat trend we’ve been following is the rebirth of old school pharmacies and soda fountains across the country. Hipster havens, such as Brooklyn, and food trendsetters, such as San Francisco, have sprouted many cool concepts and built creative bars around these concepts. This trend has gained popularity in our home city too, with a cocktail-diverse landscape. Specialty spirits, whiskies barrel-aged on-site, house-infused vodkas and gins, wide assortments of bitters, pressed juices, and house-made simple syrups are defining features. Our neighboring city of Saint Augustine has given us the popular ‘craft’ bar with The Ice Plant and reminds us how important ice is, with six different options to complement the drink of your choosing.

Back in town, restaurants such as Taverna, and Ovinte are really focusing on modernizing the classic cocktails. Taverna’s Salty Dog is a fan favorite, and Ovinte really does have the “Manhattan Perfected.” Between Grape and Grain (we are huge fans of the bottled gin and tonic!), and the new addition, Sidecar, San Marco is becoming a hub for adventurous culinary cocktails. As time goes on, we think that homemade sodas and specialty bottled adult beverages are going to become even more popular.

Locally crafted beers are putting Jacksonville on the map. Riverside has Intuition and Bold City. San Marco has Aardwolf, which often features a cool food truck outside the front door. The Beaches have Engine 15, which is expanding to our urban core, as well as Green Room Brewing. Beer is a staple in most societies, and locally brewed libations are a trend that’s not leaving anytime soon.

We are moving past just drinking beer into cooking with it and thoughtfully pairing it with great dishes. As Intuition Brewery’s Cari Sanchez-Potter explains, “Beer offers more variety of flavor profiles, making it an ideal complement to a diverse range of dishes and cuisines.”

Where do we go from here?

Jacksonville’s dining scene has really felt like an overnight transformation into its own unique identity. Without the adventurous spirit and tenacious appetite of local chefs, restaurateurs, foodies, and the everyday restaurant patron, nothing would be possible. We would like to see more original concepts come out of our city this year. We will remain wishful--hungry for all of the amazing things to come for Jacksonville.

Article written by:

Jennifer Earnest: aka “Gutsy Girl Jen” is an active member of our local food community. She is co-owner of The Chef’s Garden Catering & Event and The Café at The Cummer and co-founder of the2GutsyGirls food blog.

Christopher Irvin: Chris started washing dishes at an Italian restaurant at 15, to save some money to buy a car.  Little did he know, he would discover his passion for food and hospitality working these jobs.  After college, he decided to make a career out of food and enrolled in culinary school.  He has been with The Chef’s Garden since 2010 and is now the Executive Sous Chef and is a creative collaborator for the company.  His food philosophy has always been about simple food with big flavors.  He loves food and travel.

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