The flavors of Sonoma County and Napa Valley in Jacksonville Beach. Specialty sushi rolls with an ocean view. Lobster rolls in a luxurious rooftop oasis at the St. Johns Town Center.
The Jacksonville area offers a wide variety of new dining options for residents and visitors. And there are plenty of popular dining spots that are expanding to offer customer favorites in different parts of the community.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert. Whether it’s a dipped cone from the Jacksonville favorite Dreamette — which is opening more locations in Northeast Florida — or decadent milkshakes at Yard Milkshake Bar, there are numerous places to satisfy that sweet tooth.
These restaurants are open now or expected to open this summer. Scroll to the bottom to find a few more restaurants coming later this year.
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New concepts and other new-to-the-Jacksonville area restaurants
SoNapa Grille brings the flavors of California wine country to Jacksonville Beach | Enjoy the taste of California wine country in a relaxed vibe in this new restaurant in the former Roy’s Hawaiian fusion restaurant in Jacksonville Beach. SoNapa offers a chef-inspired menu that reflects the flavors of Sonoma County and Napa Valley. That includes fresh, hand-cut steaks and seafood that is sourced locally when possible.
Now open in Riverside, Pie95 Pizza is not your typical wood-fired pizza joint | After years as a food truck, Pie95 Pizza has set up shop at 1510 King St. in historic Riverside. The pizzas are all hand-crafted from fresh ingredients and made to order, including the vegetables and sauces.
Purple Roots restaurant celebrates Filipino food, culture and community in Jacksonville | This new Jacksonville restaurant promises authentic Filipino cuisine from tried-and-true family recipes as well as an opportunity to explore the rich culture and warm hospitality of the island archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. Purple Roots is located at 4549 Southside Blvd. in Tinseltown Plaza anchored by Cinemark Tinseltown and XD movie theater.
Foxtail Coffee Co. to open first Northeast Florida cafes in Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach | Foxtail is opening its first local coffeehouse at Sawgrass Village Shopping Center, 215 Tourside Drive in Ponte Vedra Beach early this summer. The second cafe will open later this year at East San Marco, the long-planned, Publix-anchored retail center which is under construction at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue. The cafe’s offerings will include local craft beer, wine and Kelly’s Ice Cream.
Top Dawg Tavern opens first Northeast Florida restaurant in Jacksonville’s Shoppes at Bartram Park | Top Dawg Tavern is known for its burgers, wings, sandwiches and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s located in the former Panera spot at 13820 Old St Augustine Road. It offers lunch specials, including its Tavern Burgers made with fresh, never frozen Black Angus beef; boneless wings and fries; and Buffalo chicken sandwich featuring the restaurant’s own wing sauce. There’s also a “build your own salad” with more than 20 available toppings to choose from on weekdays.
Local favorites expand throughout Northeast Florida
Grumpy’s Restaurant plans to open fifth comfort food diner in Neptune Beach | Known for its from-scratch, hearty Southern comfort food, Grumpy’s Restaurant plans to open its fifth Northeast Florida restaurant in Neptune Beach in late summer. The new restaurant will at 200 3rd St. in August.
From a life on the streets to settling down: Jacksonville food trucks make the leap to brick-and-mortar restaurants | Food trucks have paved the way for some of Jacksonville’s most popular restaurants and more mobile food vendors are following the same path. But starting a food truck, making it successful and then evolving it into a brick-and-mortar restaurant is no easy task. It’s a major investment in time, money and menus offering high-quality yet affordable food. Already this year, two food trucks have made that leap. And another is in the works.
Homespun Kitchen bringing healthy, fast restaurant concept to Five Points | Homespun Kitchen is a respected Atlantic Beach restaurant focused on good-tasting and good-for-you food freshly made to order. Now it’s bringing the concept to Five Points in late summer. The restaurants showcase all-natural, organic and plant-based cuisine as well as espresso and smoothie drinks and homemade baked goods, including its own bread, desserts and snacks.
Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine expands, opens a second location in Riverside | Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine is guided by the motto “add a little spice to your life, experience Thailand,” and is known for freshly sourced, authentic ingredients and preparation of traditional Thai dishes. Now it’s opened a second restaurant at 1551 Riverside Ave. — next to Memorial Park — and joins Blue Orchid’s original restaurant at 13475 Atlantic Blvd. in Harbour Village.
Rooftop dining: Dinner and cocktails with a nice view
RH Jacksonville brings luxury home furnishings, rooftop dining to St. Johns Town Center | RH Rooftop Restaurant was inspired by the great classical gardens of Europe. There is a skylit garden escape beneath an atrium with retractable glass walls, chandeliers and heritage olive trees. A large fountain serves as the centerpiece of the dining room. Guests can begin with a glass of wine, a signature bellini, cup of coffee or espresso. The menu is driven by fresh ingredients and includes such items as a burger and lobster roll. It also features sharebable boards, salads and “elevated takes” on such classics as ribeye steak and truffled grilled cheese.
O-Ku Jacksonville Beach offers ‘fresh and innovative take’ on Japanese sushi and cuisine | An upscale Japanese restaurant boasting a rooftop bar and dining area with a postcard-worthy ocean view is now open at 502 1st St. N., Jacksonville Beach. The restaurant focuses on authentic Japanese cuisine, including traditional sashimi and specialty rolls prepared with a regional approach that highlights fresh ingredients amid sophisticated presentations.
Looking for a sweet treat? These places specialize in desserts
Popular Asian-style, French pastry bakery plans to open near St. Johns Town Center this summer | Light On The Sugar Bakery & Cafe is known for its inspired, fresh-from-scratch menu specializing in creampuffs, macarons, crepe rolls, tarts and cakes along with specialty coffee and fresh fruit teas. It is located at 4860 Big Island Drive, next door to Bento Asian Kitchen + Sushi at The Markets at Town Center.
San Marco Dreamette opens, serving up iconic soft-serve ice cream cones, sundaes and milkshakes | More than seven decades since the original Dreamette opened in Murray Hill, the local favorite has expanded. Soft-serve cones — dipped and undipped – plus sundaes and milkshakes now are within walking distance of historic San Marco Square. One is opening soon in historic Springfield, and a third location is also planned for St. Johns County.
Yard Milkshake Bar brings decadent milkshakes to St. Johns Town Center area | There are decadent milkshakes – and then there are The Yard Milkshake Bar milkshakes, like the Peanut Butter Finger Waffle: honey-roasted peanut butter ice cream in a peanut butter-dipped mason jar rolled in crushed Butterfinger and topped with whipped cream, peanut butter drizzle, Butterfinger and a waffle. That’s a mouthful to say and a mouthful to eat. It’s just one of more than 18 specialty shakes served in souvenir mason jars offered at The Yard Milkshake Bar, located at The Strand at Town Center.
The Mini Bar Donuts & Coffee opens third Jacksonville-area shop | The Mini Bar Donuts & Coffee is now open on Fleming Island in Clay County. Specializing in hand-crafted mini-doughnuts and other sweet treats, the shop is located at 1524 County Road 220.
Bourbon Caramel, Turtle and Churro, oh my! Parlor Doughnuts opening first Jacksonville-area restaurant | Parlor Doughnuts is opening this summer its first Northeast Florida location in northwestern St. Johns County. Known for its layered doughnuts and coffee, the craft doughnut and coffee concept takes over the former Twisted Compass Brewing Co. coffee shop at 585 SR 13, Suite 101 in Fruit Cove. Parlor doughnuts are layered doughnuts, made with layers of buttery dough fried to be crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.
Hawaii in Jacksonville: Aloha Waffle Bar open at River City Marketplace, serving bubble waffles and boba teas | The sweet and savory flavors of Hawaii have come to Jacksonville via a new North Jacksonville restaurant offering bubble waffles, Kona coffee, boba, specialty teas and other island treats. Located at 725 Skymarks Drive at River City Marketplace, the cafe offers freshly made-from-scratch bubble waffles — either in cones, bowls or as sandwiches — with sweet or savory fillings then customized with a variety of toppings.
Sugar Factory bringing elaborate sweet treats to Jacksonville’s Town Center area | Sugar Factory American Brasserie, the upscale confectionery and restaurant made popular by celebrities and social media influencers, is taking over the former Brio Tuscan Grille spot at nearby Markets at Town Center. Known for its $25, celebrity-endorsed couture pops, Las Vegas-based Sugar Factory offers its own decadent desserts, including $20 milkshakes, $17 sundaes and its $99 “World Famous Sugar Factory King Kong Sundae” featuring 24 scoops of ice cream topped with dark chocolate, caramel and strawberry sauces, banana, marshmallows and even a glazed doughnut, red velvet cupcake and more.
Worth the wait: These restaurants are coming soon to Northeast Florida
Vevetas Rum Bar + Tapas brings the taste and vibe of the Caribbean to San Marco | Vevetas Rum Bar + Tapas will showcase Caribbean small plate dishes as well as offer about 30 brands of premier rum distilled in Jamaica and neighboring islands when it opens in a few months at 1418 San Marco Blvd., next to Pink Salt. This new concept comes from the creative mind behind Pink Salt.
Ember & Iron team bringing new oyster bar, rooftop dining restaurant to East San Marco project | Gemma Fish + Oyster is an upscale casual oyster bar and restaurant with rooftop seating now under construction at East San Marco — the Publix-anchored retail center at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue near San Marco Square.
Bar Molino, The Swinerie planning summer openings in San Marco | Bar Molino, Spanish Wine Bar and Kitchen plus The Swinerie, a Charcuterie Market, will offer guests an opportunity to explore the rich flavors and culture of Spanish wine country and the farm-to-table tradition of curing meat and vegetables. The new restaurants are expected to open this summer and will be adjacent to each other at 1538 Hendricks Ave. next to High Tide Burrito Co.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee coming to San Marco | Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, a family-founded, multi-state coffeehouse dedicated to employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, plans to open its first Jacksonville restaurant in historic San Marco later this year. The coffeehouse will be at 1965 San Marco Blvd. on the square. The coffeehouse typically offers everything from lattes to cappuccinos and Americanos plus smoothies and frappes. It also offers an assortment of baked goods, such as bagels, brownies, muffins and other pastries.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Jacksonville new restaurants, romantic dinners, desserts