By Drew Williams
The Cowford Chophouse will open to the public at last on Thursday, Oct. 26.
The high-end steakhouse at 101 E. Bay St. has been under construction since May 2015. Jacques Klempf, co-founder and partner in Forking Amazing restaurants, has poured at least $6.4 million into bringing the Bostwick building back to life, a project that Jacksonville officials and residents alike have been eager to see come to fruition.
"When I purchased this building in 2014, I had a vision for a restaurant that would reflect Northeast Florida’s history, cuisine and culture. I am thrilled to share that our doors will officially open next Thursday,” said Klempf in a release. “On behalf of the entire Cowford Chophouse team, I’d like to thank the Jacksonville community for its tremendous support as we’ve worked to restore this building and prepare it for a new chapter in Downtown’s history.”
The Chophouse's menu will feature "classic chophouse fare with coastal and Southern influences," including prime steaks, fresh seafood and from-scratch sides, updated seasonally. Executive Chef Ian Lynch will lead the team.
View photos from inside Jacksonville's NEWEST restaurant:
By Drew Williams
“For nearly 15 years, our franchise group has proudly operated Bojangles’ locations in the Myrtle Beach area,” said Alan Chestnut, Operations Partner of Bo Benton, Inc. “We thoroughly believe in the power of the Bojangles’ brand, the high-quality food and commitment to growth in new markets. Our group is thrilled to lead the company’s expansion efforts in the Gainesville and Daytona Beach areas.”
For 40 years, fans have enjoyed Bojangles’ made-from-scratch offerings. The company’s Cajun-inspired menu includes fresh, never frozen, hand-breaded chicken; buttermilk biscuits freshly made every 20 minutes; flavorful fixin’s like green beans and Bojangles’ Cajun Pintos®, and Legendary Iced Tea®.
Bojangles’ Famous Chicken and Biscuits, which has had a presence in Jacksonville for the past 10 years, is looking to expand in the River City.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based brand, which is known for its all-day breakfast, hand-breaded bone-in chicken and made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits, has three Jacksonville locations on Beach Boulevard, Deerwood Lake Parkway and in Orange Park.
Randy Icard, Bojangles’ franchise development director, said a new franchisee has signed on for five Jacksonville locations but has plans for more.
“Jacksonville is a market that could hold 20 to 25 Bojangles’ locations,” he said. “We’d really like to have more representation for the brand.”
Icard said the locations would have the company’s new building prototype, which is more modern and has community tables, booths, high tops and a charging area for electronics.
“The franchise owner is actively looking for real estate,” he said. “We’re looking to have the locations open by late 2018.”
Icard added that the company is still seeking new franchisees.
“The most important thing is that they understand the restaurant industry, so it’s a huge plus to have experience,” he said. “It’s also an expensive proposition, so they have to have the fiscal means to tackle that.”
Bojangles’ is developing throughout Florida, including in Daytona Beach, Gainesville and Tallahassee.
By Drew Williams
After nearly a decade in development, construction on the Barnett National Bank Building and Laura Street Trio buildings Downtown will start this week.
SouthEast Development Group and The Molasky Group of Cos. are partners for the estimated $90 million renovation of the historic properties at opposite sides of North Laura Street on the corners of West Adams and West Forsyth streets.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to see construction start on this project,” said Steve Atkins, principal and managing director of SouthEast Development Group, in a release Tuesday.
He said that after years of planning and preparation, “the transformation of Jacksonville’s Central Business District is at hand.”
“Rehabilitating these irreplaceable historic structures and bringing the properties back into service is a tangible example of how private investment and public commitment can achieve great things when leveraged together,” Atkins said.
The Molasky Group and Atkins own the Barnett building at 112 W. Adams St.
“Working together with SouthEast Development Group and the city of Jacksonville, we are extremely proud to begin this ambitious project that will truly be the crown jewel of downtown,” said Molasky CFO Bradley Sher in the release.
Atkins owns the Laura Street Trio comprising the Florida Life, Marble Bank and Bisbee buildings at North Laura and West Forsyth Streets.
Danis Builders LLC will oversee the project.
Danis President Steve Betz said the company is “proud to be part of revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville.”
In May, the group applied for nearly $1 million in construction permits to begin the initial interior, structural and window replacement work on the 18-story Barnett building, built in 1926
In June, City Council approved an economic development agreement that provided $9.8 million in financial incentives from the city to help complete the project, which includes $8 million from the Downtown Historic Preservation and Revitalization Trust Fund and a Recaptured Enhanced Value grant worth up to $1.8 million to be paid out over 20 years.
In addition to 100 studio, one- and two-bedroom loft apartments, the Barnett will feature a ground floor international banking center, a fitness center and office space.
As the Barnett building is being renovated, the group also will complete construction of an $11 million, 650-space parking garage with ground-level retail on a surface lot next to the trio on West Forsyth Street.
The Barnett building and the parking garage could be completed by the end of 2018.
Atkins previously said Danis would begin work on the Laura Street Trio about six months after construction began at the Barnett.
Most of the trio will be renovated into a 145-room “boutique-style” Marriott-branded hotel, along with a high-end steakhouse, underground speakeasy and what’s been described as an urban grocery store.
According to the news release, Danis will begin structural work on the inside of the Barnett building to bring the structure in compliance with current energy codes.
SouthEast and Molasky have 60 months to complete the project, according to the economic development agreement.
By David Vandygriff
IKEA Jacksonville 7801 Gate Parkway, Jacksonville, FL 32256
IKEA Jacksonville | ÖPPEN November 8th, 2017
Grand Opening Hours: Open 9:00 am Close 9:00 pm
We’re excited to show you around!
A Grand Opening Event you won’t want to miss. We’re celebrating big and doubling down on excitement with several days of activities, giveaways and amazing deals.
If it’s your first visit to an IKEA store, we can help. We make shopping easy and fun with a showroom for browsing and inspiration, a Swedish-inspired restaurant for taking breaks and a marketplace and warehouse area where you can check it all off your list. And that’s just the beginning — start planning your visit and find out what makes us so different.
Restaurant opens 9:00 am and closes at 8:30 pm Bring your grand opening appetite. At the IKEA Jacksonville grand opening, you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at the IKEA Restaurant and Cafe. Or, if you’re in a hurry, grab a hot dog and frozen yogurt from the Bistro or some treats-to-go at the Swedish Food Market.
By Drew Williams
A popular Texas-based convenience store chain will be fueling competition in Northeast Florida when it opens a massive gas station and store in St. Johns County.
Buc-ee's, which announced in April that it would be building its first store outside the Lone Star State in Daytona Beach, also wants to set up shop off I-95 near the World Golf Village, according to blueprints obtained by News4Jax.
The chain has filed a development pre-application with St. Johns County for a 52,600-square-foot convenience store with 120 fueling stations. The store would be about the size of a football field.
The Texas chain is known for its size, its iconic beaver mascot and the wide variety of items it sells.
"I've gotten a lot of stuff from there: jackets, knives, all kinds of different things,” customer Teasa Lyncker said. "They sell food. They sell everything. They're like a Wal-Mart."
County leaders say the mega convenience store could boost the economy and bring hundreds of new jobs.
But with all the competition from other popular gas stations like Gate and Wa-wa, will Buc-ee's deliver what people want?
GasBuddy.com thinks so. Buc-ee's took the top spot in its most recent convenience store report card, beating out the competition in categories like clean bathrooms, customer service and coffee.
Local drivers are also looking forward to paying less at the pumps.
"With competition comes better prices,” Lyncker said.
It's still early in the application process, so there's no word on when the store might open.