By: Andy Moser and Alannah Turner
Trends pop up in a myriad of outlets. Music, fashion, even in our own language. They all happen because somebody somewhere had the urge to do something differently from the norm, and other people decided to jump on board. Jacksonville has a few trends of its own, particularly in the food industry.
The 904 houses a number of local food spots that, in some way, shape or form, are out of the ordinary. They begin with a small following, which steadily grows until they’re the talk of the town. Here’s a few of the River City’s culinary trendsetters we think you should check out.
Sweet by Holly: From the owner who got her start on “Cupcake Wars” comes Sweet by Holly, a local cupcake place that makes variety its mission. Not only do the cupcakes come in different sizes, they come in dozens of flavors as well. Cotton candy, S’mores, Boston crème, banana, multiple forms of chocolate and more. And with mini cupcakes only $1 each on Mondays, you can satisfy your sweet tooth without putting a cavity in your wallet.
4624 Town Crossing Dr. #137, Saint Johns Town Center
Southern Grounds: This beach café has all the necessities—breakfast sandwiches, muffins, cookies, pastries, you name it. And if it weren’t already the millennial dream, yes, avocado toast is on the menu. Southern Grounds is the perfect place to sit down, do some homework, read a book, or just grab a good cup of coffee in a worry-free environment with a coastal vibe.
200 First St., Neptune Beach
Shack Maui: You can tell Shack Maui was started by a former college student because many of the dishes come with chips on them. The menu features simply satisfying munchies like empanadas and french fries, but also bigger bites like burgers and quesadillas drizzled with their signature orange Maui sauce. While you’re there, feel free to grab a cocktail or two (or three…we don’t judge). Open until 3 a.m. every night but Tuesday, Shack Maui answers the call when your late-night hunger hits.
13799 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach
Candy Apple Café: This small yet stylish café is nestled into Jacksonville’s downtown area, right next to Sweet Pete’s candy shop. While the menu presents many dinner, dessert and cocktail options, brunch is definitely the primary draw. Dishes are a proud mix of southern comfort with French-influenced indulgence, complemented by an endearingly quirky, almost Alice-in-Wonderland-like interior. It’s an experience we’d willingly go down the rabbit hole for.
400 N. Hogan St., Downtown