Beyond Downtown Artwalk: Duval Mercantile Pop-Up Shop for the Holidays

Beyond Downtown Artwalk: Duval Mercantile Pop-Up Shop for the Holidays

Duval Mercantile, Art Walk pop-up, Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete

A Jacksonville business owner is making it easier to shop local this holiday season. Emily Moody-Rosete, who operates the downtown Wolf & Cub boutique on Laura Street, is bringing a pop-up storefront to the space formerly occupied by La Cena restaurant. Located at 211 North Laura Street, Duval Mercantile will grace the historic Elks Building.

Duval Mercantile will celebrate its grand opening November 7th during Artwalk and will remain open through the month of December. As the former owner the live music venue Underbelly in the downtown core and Anomaly in the Five Points neighborhood, Emily Moody-Rosete knows how to create a buzz. She’s hoping to energize Downtown with a concept that will bring together artists and makers in a shared space and inspire shoppers to curate an interesting and eclectic list of locally produced goods this holiday season.

Vendors like Congaree and Penn and Jax Brothel will be among those to stock such items as local gourmet foods and sundries, candles, pottery, and vegan bath products. There are no plans to update the interior space with a major build out save for adding a couple coolers to refrigerate necessary items. “Because its a pop-up, we didn’t want to spend a ton of money making it real pretty,” she says. “It’s going to compliment Wolf & Cub but still have its own vibe, too.”

Bee Friends Farms, Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete, Beyond the Artwalk Marketplace - Duval Mercantile Sets Up Pop Shop for the Holidays
Bella Lina Bath, Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete, Beyond the Artwalk Marketplace - Duval Mercantile Sets Up Pop Shop for the Holidays

While the concept is designed to give local makers a dedicated space to showcase and sell their goods, Moody-Rosete is also hoping to increase Downtown’s accessibility to retailers in an area plagued by more empty storefronts than established businesses.

“Being Downtown now for a few years, I hear on a daily basis from clients coming in and people traveling through, tours actually coming through to visit the city. It’s embarrassing to hardly have any retail Downtown, so people walk in my shop and ask what else is there to do down here, and I give them a little run down. There’s lots of places to eat and drink, but there’s not a lot of retail,” says Emily Moody-Rosete.

Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete, Beyond the Artwalk Marketplace - Duval Mercantile Sets Up Pop Shop for the Holidays

“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district.”

“That’s unfortunate, but the city doesn’t really encourage the nurturing of small business. They’re more into the multi-million dollar projects, which I get too, but, at the end of the day, the small guys are the ones who are creating the culture and the feel for a district. That’s what I seek out. When I travel, I go to all the cool little local businesses, and that’s how I get the feel for a city. That’s where Duval Mercantile comes in.”

Macmaddies Candles, Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete, Beyond the Artwalk Marketplace - Duval Mercantile Sets Up Pop Shop for the Holidays
1748 Bakehouse, Downtown Jacksonville, Emily Moody, Varick Rosete, Beyond the Artwalk Marketplace - Duval Mercantile Sets Up Pop Shop for the Holidays

Emily and Varick Rosete based the model for Duval Mercantile on their early experiences with Wolf & Cub, which they initially operated at such venues as Jaxsons Night Market and Artwalk. The couple expanded the business and opened a pop-up shop in Riverside’s Brooklyn Station during the 2015 holiday season. The success of that venture led to a permanent storefront the following year. If Duval Mercantile does well, it could become a regular fixture and establish a business model to encourage more retailers to follow suit.

“We’re just trying to make it work for a few months. If it sticks, then we’ll visit maybe signing a lease there, maybe finding a different spot. Who knows. We’re just taking it day by day for now,” she says, “I’m an optimist so I hope that it is possible. Is it possible in a time frame that I feel is reasonable? Maybe not necessarily. That’s why we just kind of took things into our own hands. We don’t have time to wait around for the city to recognize us. We just have to make it happen. Hopefully it’s that ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of thing.”

local vendors

– Saturiwa Trading
– Conagree and Penn
– CAMP Craft Cocktail
– Jax Brothel
– Macmaddies CANdles
– Cam.Lee Crafted Co.
– 1748 Bakehouse
– Bee Friends Farm
– The Bread & Board
– Bella Lina Bath
– Pawfection Bakery
– Spoonbill Pottery
– Develins Art

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/11/07/downtown-artwalk-duval-mercantile-shop-holidays/


Moon Over the Market: Three Jacksonville Food Trucks Going Places

Food trucks have changed the landscape of culinary culture here in Jacksonville in the past decade or so, and today we have a wide selection of tastes. We’ve chosen three food trucks for you to follow on social media (the best way to know where a truck will be). These three will also be at GastroJax’s annual Fall event, Moon Over the Market, on October 11th at the Jacksonville Farmers Market, and tastes will be included in the ticket price. Tickets are only $40 at this tasting event on 904tix.com.

Jammas Jax, Moon Over the Market, GastroJax
Jammas Jax

The new truck Jammas Jax brings Asian street food flavor wherever they might go with dishes such as pad thai, crab rangoons, lo mein, Hawaiian pineapple fried rice and much more. Owner Julio Gonzalez has quite the storied resume–he’s worked at prestigious local restaurants such as Medure, Pom’s, and El Mariachi, a stellar Mexican truck. His favorite dish on the Jammas Jax menu is the green curry with shrimp, a recipe he picked up from Chef Pom Souvannasoth. Says Gonzalez, “I think having passion for what you do is very important…loving what you do cooking with love.”

Jammas Jax, Moon Over the Market, GastroJax
Jammas Jax, Moon Over the Market, GastroJax
Jammas Jax, Moon Over the Market, GastroJax
Jammas Jax, Moon Over the Market, GastroJax

This truck is just starting out, and if you’d like to try a sample, Moon Over the Market is a great event to do that. You can find the truck every Monday Downtown at the The Court Urban Food Park on Hogan Street from 11-2pm on the regular, and you can also follow them on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram @jammasjax.



Pie95 has now been part of our food scene for about three years, and if you haven’t tried them, we highly recommend their wood-fired pizza deliciousness! They’ve been at the fall tasting event Moon Over the Market event all three years, and will be a part of it again–with expanded space this year!

Chef Evan Eriksen’s passion for a pie is apparent in every slice. His customers rave about the Neapolitan-inspired pizza, with some even saying that it’s a veritable taste of Italy. Says Chef Eriksen, “Our philosophy behind our pizza is inspired from working from Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in NYC. Simple is best. After working for Chef Ripert you learn to look at the beauty in the product and not overloading your dishes with too many flavors and techniques.”

They are currently researching where they might open a brick-and-mortar place, but in the meantime, Pie95 Pizza posts their weekly schedule on Facebook and Instagram to help the customers find their location. They also can be found every Saturday at the Riverside Art Market from 10-3pm.



Rite on Que’s barbeque is influenced by Alabama and Florida smoking techniques, using a blend of hickory and pecan wood exclusively. They do it the old-fashioned way, using no gas or electricity in the process. Standout items include their MacDaddy Brisket, which is brisket topped with mac and cheese, and their Dutch caramel glazed baby back ribs, called Candied Ribs. You might also want to try their pork belly burnt ends and beef short ribs, which are often on special.

Pit Master Larry Lawson says that their food philosophy is simple because they keep it simple, by cooking with fire, using “quality proteins…made from scratch sides” and providing great service. Lawson says that some guests are so pleased at the quality that during events, customers have been known to “come back twice at the same event to take some home.” They plan to start selling sauces and rubs in the future, and hope to have a brick-and-mortar restaurant sometime in the next three years. You can find Rite On Que by following them on Facebook and Instagram (@riteonque), and you will also find them as one of the tastes at Moon Over the Market on October 11th, 904tix.com

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/10/05/moon-over-the-market-jacksonville-food-trucks/


Dangle Your Line for Dingle Fish Pie at Culhane’s Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach

Unorthodox Irish Pub Fare Makes Devout Fans

When one considers seafood in an Irish pub, a proper piece of flaky, battered cod the size of a baby’s arm and a mound of “chips” (French fries to us Yanks) is usually what springs to mind. At Culhane’s Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, they are putting a new spin on traditional Irish fare with elements sourced right at home.

Culhane's Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, dingle fish pie, 4 sisters

Mary Jane Culhane – one of the four Culhane sisters at the helm of the popular establishment tucked neatly between a credit union and a pet supermarket in a commercial strip center – says the family-run restaurant is turning the tides on traditional pub food. And as a local beaches favorite, many of the favorite menu items feature locally sourced seafood on both the brunch and dinner menus.

Culhane's Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, dingle fish pie, 4 sisters

“Our scratch kitchen cooks with local ingredients, and everything from our kitchen is prepared fresh and made in house. [We have] partner[ed] with amazing local food vendors since 2005,” says Culhane, of Cinotti’s Bakery, Mayport C&C, Sysco Foods, Urban Farms Hydro, Azar Sausage and Thumann’s Meat.

Dishes like Smoked Salmon Benny and Chad’s Shrimp & Grits are available on the brunch menu, while the dinner menu features Atlantic Beach Fish Wrap, Haddock Chipper, Whiskey Salmon, Kyle’s Fish n’ Chips, Connemara Salmon Dip, Kaye’s Pasta Mac with Shrimp, Sisters Salads with a choice of blackened or grilled shrimp, salmon or haddock, Fresh Catch Friday and the famous Dingle Fish Pie.

Culhane's Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, fish and chips, 4 sisters, dingle fish pie

“Dingle is a famous fishing village in the west coast of Ireland, hence the name,” says Culhane.” “Dingle Fish Pie is one of our top sellers after Fish & Chips. Everything is made from scratch. Fresh cod, salmon, shrimp, potatoes and peas in Parmesan cream sauce and encrusted with Irish cheddar cheese and served with toast points.”

Culhane’s modern spin on “Comfort Food with An Attitude” earned a spot on the National and International Food Network, Triple D with Guy Fieri. A poster of Fieri hangs as a badge of honor on the kitchen door, marking his February 2010 visit during which he sampled the Dingle Pie created by Michelle Culhane and a family favorite.

Culhane's Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, dingle fish pie, 4 sisters

“She created the Famous Sisters Dressing (Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, Squeezed Lemon, Extra Virgin Oil and Garlic) and The Dingle Fish Pie from scratch,” gushes Culhane about her sister’s culinary expertise. The most common misconception about Irish fare is that the food is boring, heavy and lacking flavor. Several of the dishes are new translations of family recipes, but with an executive chef’s flare for adding beer, wine and whisky. Culhane’s uses a secret beer-batter recipe made from scratch to prepare cod and haddock. Whiskey is also a favorite ingredient to prepare the whiskey glaze salmon, blackened grilled shrimp and house-smoked salmon.

Culhane’s is finalizing plans to open a second location on the Southside near Tinseltown in early October. A new lunch and catering menu will be available to serve the nearly 25,000 business employees within a five-mile radius. The new site will open at 7:30am for all English Premier League and Rugby games and is the only Irish Pub offering a killer weekend brunch with a Stoli Bloody Mary Bar.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/27/dingle-fish-pie-culhanes-irish-pub-atlantic-beach/


Fish Oils: Are They Good For You?

How lucky are we that we live in a beautiful city that provides a variety of places in which to fish! Now, I find myself challenged on how I can relate fishing, something that I have yet to try, to health and wellness, one of my life’s greatest passions.

I’m grateful to know someone who can give a first-person perspective on what fishing does to someone’s state of mind. My nephew tells me that fishing instantly whisks him away from the stresses of the day. The first tug on the line brings a variety of mystery and excitement. He claims to be reinvigorated, totally forgetting about his current trials.

So, fishing is good for the soul and can fill your cup. Sounds like this relates very well to the wellness aspect, right?

But, what about fishing in relation to health? And what does eating fish do for us? I dug a little deeper and got to reading many tomes on fish and fish oils which contain the essential fatty acids, like Omega 3s. Boy, did I find myself in a land of confusion!

The easy part to understand is that fish and fish oil supply two-thirds of the Omega 3 fatty acids. There are three essential fatty acids (1. EPA, 2. DHA and 3. ALA) that our body can’t produce on its own. This means we need to eat fish, plants, and nuts, or take supplements, to fulfill that requirement.

Omega 3 plays an important role in our health. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA. But, ALA is found in leafy greens, walnuts, and flaxseeds. These three essential fatty acids protect the cellular membrane, keeping it selectively permeable, in order to provide the general functions of the brain, retina, and heart.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll summarize the fish oil studies. They suggest that fish oil, specifically, EPA and DHA fatty acids, reduces inflammatory joint pain, provides support for the nervous system, prevents high blood pressure and reduces metabolic syndrome, and many other disease states. The American Heart Association recommends a specific range for Omega 3s to maintain a balance against the other Omega Fatty acids, the Omega 6s, consuming 2-4 grams/day of EPA/DHA if with elevated Triglycerides under a physician’s supervision, and consuming oily fish if without documented cardiac disease.

Here’s where it can be confusing, as there are several physicians and scientists debunking the fish oil studies. This group suggests that all we need to do is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, sprouts, shoots, plants, nuts/seeds, and healthy fats, avoiding any fish oil supplements as they could contain mercury and create toxicity, increasing free radicals, when ingested. This group purports that this well-balanced diet will provide the body with enough ALA that it can then synthesize EPA and DHA itself.

A conundrum occurs because most of us follow the Standard American Diet which is hardly well balanced. It is highly processed, laden with sugar, acidity, toxicity, and, for the most part, devoid of nutritional value. Please note that wild-caught fish without exposure to manufacturing processes of farming are the fish that we are actually depending on for their health benefits.

So what do we do? Start by finding out exactly where your levels of micronutrients, essential fatty acids and antioxidants are. Find a physician who specializes in exactly that. Learn about your deficiencies, modify your nutritional habits, and add on pure and well-proven supplements. Lastly, adopt new lifestyle habits and continue collaborating with your physician.

Fishing is good for the soul and eating what’s caught is good for you!

From The Water: Dishes of Fishes 🐟 Around Jacksonville & The Beaches of Northeast Florida

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/23/fish-oils-are-they-good-for-you/


From The Water: Dishes of Fishes 🐟 Around Jacksonville & The Beaches of Northeast Florida

Northeast Florida has a strong Southern food game, but we also shine when it comes to dishes from the water, sometimes from unexpected places. While places such as Safe Harbor, The Fish Company, Timoti’s and others that specialize in seafood are local favorites, there are a number of from-the-water dishes that residents love, even in places that don’t have seafood front and center.

From The Water: Dishes of Fishes Around Jacksonville, Blue Bamboo, Ceviche, Chef Dennis Chan
BluTe Bamboo’s Ceviche

At Blue Bamboo on the Southside, there’s three dishes we recommend, depending on what you’re craving. For a lunch item we think their fish sandwich is a winner. It’s served in their bento box with their shoestring fries, which are spiced with a little bit of salt and pepper. It’s also a fantastic item for kids or less adventurous eaters. The tuna ceviche has been on the menu for several years, and it’s a go-to item for a lot of folks, at all times of the day. The recipe for it is in Chef Dennis Chan’s cookbook Hip Asian Comfort Food. It’s a favorite of mine because the citrus doesn’t overpower the fish, which is true of too many ceviches out there. The added ginger and sesame oil take it over the top as one of the tastiest ceviches you’ll find on the first coast. The Velvet Yu Kew combines steamed rice, bok choy, carrots, and straw mushrooms served with a ginger-garlic sauce with a flaky white fish and rice, for a classy-from-the-water stir fry.

Another place with an Asian flair and a recommended item is Timwah’s crispy fried shrimp balls. This dim sum delight might not be for everyone, but it’s a staple on the West Coast. Here in Jacksonville, we do things larger, so these aren’t bite sized. It’s ground shrimp rolled into a ball, bound loosely by strips of wonton wrappers and deep fried.

Cowford Chophouse, Fish of the Day, From The Water: Dishes of Fishes Around Jacksonville
Cowford Chophouse’s Fish of the Day

Downtown’s Cowford Chophouse has a strong fish game, so if you’re going for something high-hat downtown, try the fish of the day. We also love their duck fat cornbread, which is topped with Maine lobster, and lump crab meat, with crème fraîche, dill, tarragon, paprika oil. The seafood and creme balances out the cornbread and the paprika flavor.

Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktail's Shrimp N Grits, Ariel Crawford bar manager, From The Water: Dishes of Fishes Around Jacksonville
Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktail’s bar manager Ariel Crawford with their Shrimp N Grits

Everyone has their go-to menu item, even when they’re at a restaurant they’ve never been to before. Mine happens to be shrimp and grits, an item that has found itself on many a local menu. The best thing about the dish, is that every restaurant has their particular take on it–so it’s familiar, with elements in common, but it’s an excellent way to get to know the flavor profile of a chef. Downtown we can recommend two places to try it– the Candy Apple Cafe and Nola MOCA. At the Candy Apple, there’s a bit of Cajun flair to the dish, with the shrimp sharing the spotlight with sausage, and the grits are served Southern-style topped with a rich roux. The grits at the Nola are served as smoked cheddar grit cakes, and the sauce is white wine and mushroom based. The shrimp keep company with applewood smoked bacon and sun-dried tomato crostini.

BLK SHP, Kale & Smoked Trout Salad, From The Water: Dishes of Fishes Around Jacksonville, Black Sheep Restaurant, 5 Points
Kale & Smoked Trout Salad from Black Sheep

Asking around on social media about fish dishes in unexpected places, Black Sheep at 5 Points’ Smoked Trout salad garnered one of the strongest responses from local residents. The Carolina Rainbow trout has been on the menu for about two years, featured in two places on their menu– in the starter Smoked Trout Rillettes and in the Kale and Smoked Trout Salad.

Although the fish isn’t local, the kale in the salad is–from the outstanding Bacon’s Select Produce. If you haven’t had anything from the Bacon family, you are missing out. The lettuce they sell at Riverside Arts Market that will benefit any salad you make at home. Everything, including the kale, is grown hydroponically.

The Kale and Smoked Trout Salad is popular at brunch, lunch and dinner. Says Chef Waylon Rivers, “It’s a lightly smoked fish, not overly done, which I think is appealing. It’s brined for a few hours ahead of time so there’s some nice background flavors aside from the smoked fish flavor. It’s a well-balanced dish.”

From The Water: Dishes of Fishes Around Jacksonville, Bread & Board's Banh Mi Shrimp Sandwich
Bread & Board’s Banh Mi Shrimp Sandwich

A newer place that’s been heating up because of their stellar sandwich game, Bread & Board has their Banh Mi Shrimp sandwich. Chef Dwayne Beliakoff says they’re inspired by Florida seafood and love using in their recipes “Key West pink shrimp are the perfect match for our spicy homemade chili sauce in our version of the classic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich. Sweet, spicy, and exotic goodness heaped into fresh bread,” says Beliakoff

We’re sure you’ve got your own favorites from unexpected places, let us know on social media with the hashtag #UnexpectedFlavorJax.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/23/from-the-water-dishes-of-fishes-jacksonville-beaches-florida/


Blue Bamboo’s Chef and Owner Named a Neighborhood to Nation™ Recipe Winner

Jacksonville community is invited to a special event on Aug. 24 to celebrate with the restaurant’s staff and customers.

WHEN: Friday, August 24 at 11 a.m.
WHERE: 3820 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216
MORE INFO: www.NeighborhoodtoNation.com

Dennis Chan, chef and owner of Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, Florida, is the South East Region Winner in the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation™ Recipe Contest from General Mills Foodservice. The 4th annual contest called on independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants to submit an original recipe to put their local dishes and local “flavor” in the national spotlight!

Representatives from General Mills will visit the restaurant on Friday, Aug. 24 to showcase Blue Bamboo and celebrate Chan’s award-winning recipe with a special check presentation and celebratory event that the community is invited to attend.

Chan’s recipe for Sunshine State Orange Cake is the South East Region Winner in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest. The dessert, taking its name from Florida and inspired by the state fruit, includes Gold Medal™ Yellow Cake layers moistened with an orange sauce then stacked between alternating layers of airy pineapple cream cheese icing and crisp baked Pillsbury’s Best™ Puff Pastry Dough for a luscious creamy, crunchy Napoleon-style textured dessert.

As a Regional Winner in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, Chan wins $5,000 as well as $1,000 to share with a local charity. He has chosen “Real Men Wear Pink of Jacksonville,” a campaign from the American Cancer Society which rallies men across the country to join the fight against breast cancer. Chan is also in the running for the Grand Prize (to be announced in late August), which includes an additional $25,000 in cash and $5,000 for charity as well as a three-day trip for two to attend the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival this October.

In the meantime, the Jacksonville community is invited to visit Blue Bamboo on Aug. 24 to celebrate Chef Dennis Chan’s award. Guests will be treated to samples of his award-winning recipe. Chan will be presented with an oversized check. Chan will also present a check to Real Men Wear Pink of Jacksonville.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/20/blue-bamboos-chef-and-owner-named-a-neighborhood-to-nation-recipe-winner/


Fetch! Sit Up! Pour Me a Brew! BrewHound Comes to Neptune Beach

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood, Southern Swells
Lauren Wyckoff and Jason Underwood

It’s no secret that people love dogs. Many of those same people also love hanging with friends over a cold beer or a good cup of coffee. Sadly, most venues won’t let you enjoy both. Jason Underwood and Lauren Wyckoff developed the concept for BrewHound, an off-leash dog park with an open-air bar, to create a common ground for people to enjoy all of what they love in a natural setting.

“That’s really what we want to generate is this core community of animal lovers and a place for everybody to hang out and share ideas,” says Wyckoff. “It’s a cool way to get people out of their comfort zone and doing other things, not just being there, but the bigger picture of coordinating stuff together and getting back to the center of what it’s all about.”

Located on an acre of wooded land between Florida and Atlantic boulevards in Neptune Beach, BrewHound will offer designated areas for small and large breed dogs, trail maps, a bicycle pump station and “the porch” where guests can enjoy a craft beer, glass of wine, or locally roasted Bold Bean coffee. The property is also situated on the East Coast Greenway and connects to a new 1,050-foot paved trail which runs along Florida Boulevard from Fifth Street to A1A.

The 1,200-square-foot open air beer garden will be open to anyone with or without a dog. Daily, weekly or monthly membership fees will be required to enter the leash-free area to ensure all dogs are current with their vaccinations. Discounted rates will be offered on annual memberships for all current service-members, veterans, and first responders.

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

 

“Ruffarees” will be on hand to monitor behavior and even keep an eye on your pup while you refresh your drink. “We figured we should be able to take our dogs literally everywhere we go to hang out,” says Underwood. “So, we had this crafty idea of combining both the social setting and dogs, off leash.”

When the couple first unleashed the concept for BrewHound, they had recently rescued their third dog and were missing the new addition to their family while they were out of town. The idea started brewing over poolside cocktails, fittingly Greyhounds. Both Underwood and Wyckoff are environmental scientists who share a love of the outdoors. Whether camping, hiking or just enjoying nature, their three dogs, Too, Wicket and Scrambles, are always in tow. A project like BrewHound was the perfect way to fuse their love of dogs with their passion for the outdoors.

“They say that ideas come and go, and not every one is a winner. But when you find one that’s a winner right off the bat, you either make it happen or you let it cruise on by,” says Underwood. “What I didn’t know was on the way home, Lauren’s wheels were turning.”

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

With her entrepreneurial spirit in overdrive, Wyckoff quickly catalogued the couple’s available resources. By the following week, she’d framed a business plan, developed marketing strategies and tapped into her professional network to get the dog park off the ground. The pair worked with The Pratt Guys to complete renderings of the property and an architect helped develop the engineering plans for city approval.

The pair researched similar projects located in progressive, metropolitan markets including Seattle, Austin and Charlotte and realized that a mixed-use park would be the perfect fit for the Beaches community. “The beach is such a unique community. There is culture, but you still have that small-town feel,” says Wyckoff. “There’s a bit of everything, so I thought what a cool place to do something like that. What if we could find some land?”

Underwood tapped into money he saved from his yearlong deployment to Afghanistan to buy the oddly-shaped and overgrown parcel of land. After finally closing on the property in April, the couple have invested countless hours clearing the brush and cutting away branches on their own to reveal a diamond in the “ruff.”

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

“I had some money saved up from when I was in the Army, so I said, ‘let’s make it happen. It really does make a difference when you just get outside. That’s why we’re really trying to make this a space for people to do that,” he says. “After work, take your dog and let him run crazy and get tired, and you don’t have the guilt factor of wanting to take your dog out but want to go to dinner or happy hour. So, you either let your dog out real quick and leave again or don’t go anywhere. This way you can do both.”

Being a combat veteran also played a significant role in his appreciation for pups and the services they provide for men and women who have experienced combat. He joined the Army right out of college, serving as a maneuver platoon leader with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. At 24, he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in the summer of 2010.

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

He remembers Cali, a stray puppy he encountered on patrol in Kandahar during a routine patrol of the city. Underwood recalls the small mixed breed pup sniffing around outside of one of the patrol base gates. They named her “Cali” after the small company-sized outpost they manned in Kandahar.

“There were signs posted around some of the bigger bases overseas stating that under no circumstances were soldiers to befriend or even pet stray animals, but after nine straight months of being over there with no break, I didn’t pay much thought to what the signs said,” remembers Underwood. “I was going to get that puppy and hold it, pet it, name it, and carry it around wherever I could until someone made me stop. Metaphorically, that little puppy was a lit candle in a dark room. We kept her for as long as we could until we were moved to a new position in the city. Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring her with us.”

After he got out of the Army, Underwood left Anchorage, Alaska, behind to start a new life in Florida with Wyckoff and her dog Too, whom she rescued off the street in Orlando over 12 years ago. While he was tying up loose ends in Alaska, Wyckoff rescued Wicket, a feisty little border-collie mix, from the Clay County kill shelter. With Underwood finally settled in Florida for good, the couple brought home Scrambles, a food-crazy hound mix, from the Amelia Island Humane Society.

Underwood also decided it was time to seek treatment for anxiety and trauma he experienced during his time in service. In addition to counseling and therapy, he credits the dogs for providing a sense of balance and comfort. “I can’t put into words how crucial an animal is to a combat veteran. Coming from a life of constant uncertainty, stress, and that uneasy feeling that makes you constantly look over your shoulder, the girls gave me a reason to seek help. In a lot of ways, [they] kept me grounded. I feel at ease around them,” he says.

“It’s almost magical that they can sense our feelings and adjust their behavior based off them. Dogs often train us more efficaciously than we believe we train them. They react to our emotions, feelings, and actions in ways that make sense to them, but often not us. This pattern of behavior, if we pay attention, can teach us to keep our own behavior in check,” he says.

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

Once BrewHound is up and running, a weekly trainer will be on site to provide instruction on various behaviors. Planned events will also include a quarterly pet market and partnership with such organizations as Go Ruck, Canines for Warriors and the VFW in Jacksonville Beach. Future collaborations could also include the Wounded Warrior Project.

“I believe dogs can give service members the most similar feeling of ‘brotherhood’ that you feel when in a combat scenario. They always have your back. They love you. They would do anything for you,” says Underwood. “My girls aren’t service dogs. They are not professionally trained to perform the duties of a service dog. However, they continue to impress upon me the strength to be a good leader and never give up.”

BrewHound comes to Neptune Beach, Lauren Wyckoff, Jason Underwood

There are still a few hurdles to clear before breaking ground. Plans for the space are still in development review in Neptune Beach, and once approved, it will take an estimated six to seven months to complete build-out and open the fences. Until then, Underwood and Wyckoff will enjoy watching their dream take shape with a cold beer or a good cup of coffee and their three dogs by their side.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/16/brewhound-neptune-beach/


Arepa Please! Popular Venezuelan Cuisine Finds Its Way to Jacksonville’s Brooklyn Neighborhood

Arepa Please! Popular Venezuelan Cuisine Finds Its Way to Jacksonville's Brooklyn Neighborhood, Arepa Please, Classic Venezuelan shredded chicken recipe with our home made avocado mayo, cilantro and sliced avocados, Photo by Nate Mayo
Classic Venezuelan shredded chicken recipe with housemade avocado mayo, cilantro and sliced avocados, Photo by Nate Mayo

A new arepa place just popped up in the Riverside / Brooklyn neighborhood, it’s called Arepa Please. You may remember this space as Johnny’s Deli, on the corner of Riverside Ave. and Forest St, across the street from Unity Plaza and the old fire station. I sat down with managing partner Jose Gregorio to talk about all things arepas and how they plan to serve both Johnny’s original deli menu while introducing South American cuisine.

Tell me about Arepa Please. Where did it originate? How did it start? Arepa Please is a place that combines good vibes, the best coffee in town with an arepa place and a New York-style sandwich shop. We like to call it a contemporary cafe.

Why makes Arepa Please different? We are trying to share the arepa culture with Jacksonville. It’s not people just selling a product. In Venezuela, the arepa places are like the delis in New York. They are everywhere and you go there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The way it works in South America is that we see the arepa like a healthy medium for flavor combinations, so the first thing you do when you want to ask for an arepa is deciding what you want inside of the arepa. That moment is when all the fun begins. Maybe your brain says that you want shredded beef, black beans, and avocados or chicken with cheddar cheese and coleslaw salad. There are so many possible combinations, I grew up eating arepa every day and every time that I was going to an arepa place it felt like a new experience for me just imagining what combination of flavor I wanted. Knowing of course that for some reason most things taste better inside of an arepa

Arepa Please, thejaxblonde2_Shredded beef slow cooked in pomodoro sauce with south american herbs in a bed of melted cheddar cheese, Photo by Nate Mayo
Arepa Please! Popular Venezuelan Cuisine Finds Its Way to Jacksonville’s Brooklyn Neighborhood, The Jax Blonde, shredded beef slow cooked in pomodoro sauce with south american herbs in a bed of melted cheddar cheese, Photo by Nate Mayo

Why Bold Bean? My dad drinks 10 cups of coffee every day, he lives in South America and every time that he came to visit me he had a hard time with the coffee. So one day I took him to Bold Bean in Riverside and I got him a cappuccino. He tasted it, looked at me, smiled, tasted it again and said, “I feel like I’m in South America with this coffee.” I felt so happy because finally he had a really good coffee outside of Venezuela and I want that our customers have that feeling too. We were looking around for a good coffee and no one can beat Bold Bean. Also when we told them about this crazy arepa project they were so excited about it. They told us they love arepas as they tried them on one of their trips to South America and they were sooo good! The people of Jax need the arepa in their lives!

Tell us about Johnny’s, is it still Johnny’s Deli and you’re in there too? Me and my partner bought Johnny’s Deli 6 months ago and we were so surprised about all the people who were going every day to eat Johnny’s Deli. He has been around downtown for at least 15 years so everybody knows him and like his deli menu. So we asked him to please stay with us and now he is part of the family, looking forward to working on new projects together. Even though we changed the name to Arepa Please we still have the old Johnny’s menu made by Johnny himself.

Anything else you want people to know about Arepa Please? We try to change the arepa menu often adding new combination to help the new customers with the flavors selection. Our chef has many specials recipes to share and we are going to be adding specials every week. Our mission is to share the arepa culture around Jacksonville and we are so grateful for the support.

Arepa Please! Popular Venezuelan Cuisine Finds Its Way to Jacksonville's Brooklyn Neighborhood, Arepa Please, Nicole Holderbaum mural, photo by Nate Mayo
Mural by Nicole Holderbaum, Photo by Nate Mayo

Arepa please is very unique. It has a tried and true deli, venezuelan arepas, and you can get Bold Bean Coffee. If that wasn’t enough, they have one of the coolest murals on the outside painted by Nicole Holderbaum.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/16/arepa-please-venezuelan-cuisine-jacksonvilles-brooklyn-neighborhood/


Mini Bar Donuts Lights Up Jacksonville Beach

Mini Bar Donuts, Jacksonville Beach, Natedoesfood, Nomnomjax, EU Jacksonville, 904

What’s better than donuts? Mini-donuts! They’re smaller, so that means you eat more of them. Although they have been here for a year, the buzz in Jax Beach shows no signs of stopping, no doubt due in part to all their donuts being made-to-order hot.

My favorite flavors are Strawberry Pop Tarts and Fruity Pebbles, but there are many flavors to choose from: Sweet Pete’s Sea Salt Caramel, Mint Chocolate Chip, S’mores, Maple Bacon, Strawberry Sprinkle, and Lemon Poppy to name a few. The demand has been so high that they moved a wall to make room for another prep table.

Mini Bar Donuts, Jacksonville Beach, Natedoesfood, Nomnomjax, EU Jacksonville, 904, elvis

Mini Bar prioritizes serving local favorites across the menu, from Bold Bean Coffee to local beers on tap, such as Southern Swells, Engine 15, Intuition Ale Works, Veterans United, Atlantic Beach Brewing Company, Aardwolf Brewing, and Pinglehead Brewing Company. On their Sea Salt Caramel Popcorn donut both the Sea Salt Caramel recipe and popcorn are from Sweet Pete’s Candy.

Mini Bar Donuts, Jacksonville Beach, Natedoesfood, Nomnomjax, EU Jacksonville, 904, elvis

You might be asking yourself: ‘It’s been a year Nate. I’m tired of the same old flavors. Why should I go back to Mini Bar Donuts?’ Well, let me tell you! The Specials! They have weekend donut specials like Holy Cannoli, Ice Cream Sandwich, Cotton Candy Pop Rocks, and Elvis, which is a vanilla cake donut, peanut butter glaze, bacon, a fresh banana slice, and if you’re +21 you can add a pipette of rum! Then, there are coffee specials like Captain Crunch Berry and Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Milk lattes.

Coffee and donuts, beer and donuts, just donuts…trust me, you need to go. To avoid lines go early and not on the weekend. They get crazy! Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 7am-5pm and Sunday 8am-2pm. Order online at www.minibardonuts.com to have your order waiting for you at the register. Find them at 1300 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/09/mini-bar-donuts-jacksonville-beach/


#EatUpJax: Two Dudes Seafood Comes to Riverside, New Kosher Restaurant Downtown & Other Dining News

fresh_jax_rosy_cheeks

Fresh Jax, a local spice company, is selling one heck of a balanced maple bourbon barbecue rub, called Rosy Cheeks. Even if you aren’t barbecuing, you might love this mix on everything from chicken and ribs to beef and fish. You might even love it on popcorn or as a base for a dip. Ingredients include organic paprika, organic light brown sugar, organic cane juice, organic maple syrup, cherrywood smoked sea salt, organic onion, Himalayan pink salt, organic black peppercorn, organic garlic, organic chipotle, organic mesquite, organic flavors, organic spices, organic lemon zest. Besides their website freshjax.com, you can also find Rosy Cheeks and their other spice blends locally– Golden Goat at Avenues Mall, Kathy’s Table at the beach, And That! on Southside, Made in JAX at airport, and delivered by Front Porch Pickings.

Two Dudes Seafood is taking over the old Il Desco spot on the corner of Park and King.

Gili’s Kitchen Catering and Bakery, a Kosher restaurant, opened at 126 West Adams Street this past April and has been picking up business ever since. Unlike most Downtown places, they are actually open on Sundays from Noon-8pm. But they are closed Saturday, on the Jewish Sabbath. Monday-Thursday, hours are 11am-8pm, and Friday 11am-3pm.

The summer menu for Blk Shp at Intuition is hot! We’re hearing great things about the cheese curds. There’s also a vegan smoked tempeh sandwich on offer, loaded potato chips, and more–just ask what’s new and delish!

True Food Kitchen, out of Phoenix, Arizona, comes to St. Johns Town Center in the fall, where Mitchell’s Fish Market used to be. This eco-conscious eatery will feature vegan, organic, gluten-free, and non-inflammatory foods. But there will be alcohol! Organic spirits, local beers and a selection of wine will also be on offer. For more info on True Food Kitchen visit www.truefoodkitchen.com.

According to UNF’s Spinnaker, Jacksonville Beach Mayor Charlie Latham is looking to close certain restaurants at midnight in order to curb “drunken anarchy.” In the Spinnaker article local bar manager Liam Lynch said that, “It would just force people to relocate. If we had to shut down at midnight, and everyone that’s in here has to leave, they’re going to want to continue. The mayor, he’s not on our schedule…If anything, feeding people at the end of the night is much better than pounding back a few more drinks and trying to make their way home.” A workshop, open to the public, will be held Wednesday, August 8 at 5pm in Jacksonville Beach City Hall to discuss the proposal.

The Jacksonville Herb Society has moved to the Mandarin Garden Club. If you’d like to be a member, dues are just $12.50 a year. The club explores uses of herbs for food, fragrance, crafts, landscaping, beauty, and health, as well as informational exchange on how to take care of herbs. They meet the fourth Tuesday of each month at 2892 Loretto Road at 6:30pm. August’s program will be on tarragon presented by master gardener Joy Breitung and September will be on mint presented by Diana Openbrier, a PhD in nutrition.

Honey Bee Festival in Jacksonville, Florida

Honey Bee Festival Bee Friends Farm is celebrating National Honey Bee Day with their very own Honey Bee Festival! Learn the basics of beekeeping, shop with local vendors and adopt your very own beehive during this all-day event. Educational talks like “Beekeeping 101,” “Planting for Pollinators,” and “Cooking with Honey” are just some of the sessions scheduled. This free, family-friendly event will be held at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds on August 18th.

This past month, the FDA finally fully approved the secret ingredient to the meatless meat of the Impossible Burger, their soy leghemoglobin—in the regulatory category of “generally recognized as safe,” or GRAS. The ingredient is meant to mimic the juiciness of burgers. Since a number of places locally (such as German Schnitzel Haus) already serve the burger, though it’s always been safe, it’s good news that it’s out of the gray area of regulation.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/08/02/eat-up-august-2018/


Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0