Inside Murray Hill's Latest Restaurant: El JefeJune 10, 2018 12 comments Print Article
The renaissance of Murray Hill's Edgewood Avenue into Jacksonville's next great walkable mixed-use street continues.
Before: Curry Thomas Hardware in 2015
Occupying a space formerly used by Curry Thomas Hardware and owned by Glocal Lee LLC., here's a look at the latest newcomer to Edgewood Avenue's burgeoning dining scene.
After: El Jefe in 2018
Do you remember the first time you ate a nacho? For Chef Scott Schwartz, it was 1977 in San Antonio, Texas. He and his family packed up and drove from Atlanta to the Lone Star state to visit his uncle, a colonel stationed at Lackland Air Force Base. His uncle suggested that they go out for Mexican food, because it was something new to Schwartz and his family. He was seven years old, and little did he know what he was eating that night was classic Tex-Mex. The meal left a lasting impression that he describes as the night of “the perfect nacho.” Singular, because Tex-Mex nachos are built individually with each nacho thoughtfully composed to form the perfect bite.https://www.eljefejax.com/ourstory/
“Tex-Mex” cuisine was born from the Tejano culture, a blending of indigenous Mexican and the Northern European cuisines of pioneers and ranchers to the region. The settlers brought cattle and wheat, making beef and flour staples of the Tex-Mex table. At its very essence, Tex-Mex is borderland home cooking. It is a comfort food that is distinctly American: diverse, bold and resourceful.
Before opening El Jefe, Schwartz made a pilgrimage back to Texas in order to seek out the best of Tex-Mex. He ate his way from Houston to San Antonio to Austin, in search of the quintessential queso fundido, the perfect puffy taco, the classic fajita and of course the nacho. Upon his return, he and his compadre Chef Jose Solome set to work to recreate these and other iconic dishes unique to the border of Texas and Mexico. The end result is a menu that captures the true flavor of this incredible region of Texas—big-hearted, vibrant and fiery. Schwartz spent forty years chasing the “perfect nacho,” and opened El Jefe to share his love of Tex-Mex with you.