2021's biggest restaurant openings in Jacksonville

·3 min read

From Jacksonville's downtown to Avondale, San Marco, the Beaches, Town Center and St. Johns, restaurants continued to open across Northeast Florida in 2021, even amid additional waves of the pandemic, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and more.

They included expansions of established Jacksonville restaurants as well new concepts from local chefs and restaurateurs — and new-to-Northeast Florida locations of billion-dollar brands.

Here's a look at five of the biggest restaurant openings from 2021 reported by Times-Union restaurants reporter Teresa Stepzinski and myself. (You can read the entire list using the link later in this newsletter.)

RH Jacksonville

4831 Village Shops Way

Nearly 20 years after Restoration Hardware was first mentioned as a potential tenant for the planned St. Johns Town Center, the retailer has become a reality with November's opening of RH Jacksonville, The Gallery at St. Johns Town Center. But it's not the Restoration Hardware you remember from 20 years ago.

In addition to luxury home furnishings, the chandelier-filled, three-level building includes a glass-enclosed rooftop restaurant, wine bar and park with heritage olive trees, a large fountain — and a menu featuring Lobster Roll, RH Burger, Broiled Salmon, Ribeye Steak and more. It's a destination restaurant unlike any other at the Town Center.

Also in today's newsletter: Read more on the reopening of Pete's Bar under new ownership and where to dine out on Christmas Day (See links below)

Estrella Cocina

100 W. Bay St.

Dwayne Beliakoff and Jonathan Cobbs, owners of The Bread & Board, debuted Estrella Cocina, their rooftop restaurant featuring coastal Mexican cuisine, in May at the VyStar Credit Union campus in Jacksonville's downtown. With 3,500 square feet inside and a 4,500 square foot patio, Estrella Cocina becomes one of the city's largest rooftop dining spots. The restaurant is one of four concepts Beliakoff and Cobbs launched at VyStar in 2021. (See next.)

Fizzies & Fare

400 N. Hogan St.

Offering 600 flavors of bottled soda, gourmet milkshakes, sundaes and more, Fizzies & Fare is the latest restaurant to launch at the 112-year-old Seminole Club building in downtown Jacksonville. The concept, which debuted in July, is the latest endeavor from Allison and Peter Behringer, co-founders and owners of neighboring Sweet Pete's, which moved into the landmark building in December 2014.

And while desserts and all things sweet get top billing, the restaurant also serves a variety of appetizers, gourmet hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and more.

The Bearded Pig

1700 3rd St. S., Jacksonville Beach

Five years after opening their first Bearded Pig restaurant on the Southbank, co-owners Chad Munsey and Michael Schmidt brought their signature slow-smoked brisket, ribs and pulled pork — and laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere — to Jacksonville Beach, converting a former bank branch into the Beaches' newest BBQ joint in March.

But they didn't stop there.

In August, Munsey and Schmidt relocated the original Kings Avenue restaurant a few blocks south, to a newly built, three-story building at 1808 Kings Ave., their new flagship restaurant. There, with an expanded kitchen and reconfigured and streamlined front and back of house operations, they've expanded the menu to include salads and other items that debuted with the opening of the Jacksonville Beach restaurant. The new location improves upon all of the best features of the original, including its covered outdoor patio and lawn dining (and play) areas.

Ember & Iron

60 Shops Blvd., St. Johns

An eight-foot-long, oak-burning grill is the centerpiece of Jacksonville Chef Mike Cooney's kitchen at Ember & Iron, located at the Shoppes of St. Johns Parkway. Cooney and his wife, Brittany, opened in February what they say is the first restaurant in Northeast Florida that specializes in live-fire, ember-roast entrees, side dishes and even desserts.

On the menu, look for the thick-cut, sweet tea-brined pork chop; half buttermilk marinated chicken with grilled lemon and roasted pepper salsa verde; beef short rib with Logan Turnpike Mill grits; and lemon and herb whole roasted fish. And for dessert, there's Ember & Iron s'mores, a seasonal cobbler and more.

See the rest of our list and other news using the links below.

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Biggest restaurant openings in Jacksonville in 2021

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