STORIES BY KRISTEN BRAINARD

A Staple for the Jacksonville Community, Joseph’s Pizza is Still Running Strong After 62 years in Business.

Published: Nov. 15. 2020

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 Located on the Northside of Jacksonville, Joseph’s Pizza is an Italian restaurant that has been in business since 1956. Originally owned by Joseph himself, Susie, Sandra and Mama Rose, Joseph’s daughters and his wife, now run both the Main Street and the Ocean Avenue locations. 

Joseph got the idea for the restaurant when he was working at a grocery store. He loved interacting with people and brightening the days of his customers. He found a small Italian restaurant and thought he could turn it into something great.

Joseph, the brains behind Joseph’s Pizza. Photo courtesy of Susie Bateh.

That’s just what he did. He took a small restaurant with only one sandwich and one pasta dish and created a full menu of specialty pizzas, an extensive selection of pasta, homemade bread and homemade salad dressings. He experimented with new dishes, such as cauliflower parmesan and their famous cannolis and continued selling whatever customers loved.

The menu today, which is four full pages, was the creation of Joseph himself, and it hasn’t changed – except the prices. 

Known for their delicious pizzas, delightful homemade bread and dressings and their delectable pasta and desserts, Joseph’s is a staple among many Jacksonville locals. 

Joseph’s has won “Best Pizza in Jacksonville” multiple years and is in the running again this year. They have also been recognized by multiple news outlets for their outstanding cuisine.

In 2004, Sandra expanded the restaurant to the Jacksonville Beaches area, opening a location on Ocean Avenue. This location is in a very popular area. The menu is the same as the original location, which Sandra says she wouldn’t change.

Owners Susie and Sandra say their restaurant would not be running strong this many years later without the support of the community and their Jacksonville regulars. Some of the customers have been going to Joseph’s since they were kids, and they have grown up eating Joseph’s special pizza. 

The regulars love to tell their stories about going to Joseph’s with their grandparents and parents and explaining how Joseph’s has been a family favorite for generations. 

In addition to their full dine-in and takeout services, Joseph’s also does catering for businesses, weddings and special events. They donate to special events such as the Jacksonville Zoo’s Spooktacular, the Make-a-Wish foundation’s events and the Night to Shine annual parties. 

The owners of Joseph’s feel very strongly about giving back to the community whenever they can because the community is the reason their business has flourished. 

Susie, Sandra and Mama Rose do not see an end in sight for Joseph’s. Even amid the recent coronavirus pandemic and other trials, their regulars have stuck through it with them and kept the business alive. 

Susie, Sandra, Sabrina – Joseph’s daughters, and Joseph, the original Joseph’s grandson. Making the homemade bread. Photo courtesy of Susie Bateh.

They feel that as long as the Jacksonville community is around, Joseph’s will stay around too. 

Coronavirus Pandemic Causing an Increase in Need for Blood Donors

Published: Oct. 8, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic is creating an increased need for blood transfusions in hospitals. This increased demand for blood has caused OneBlood, a blood donation company, to increase their safety protocols to safely collect blood for COVID-19 patients. 

Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has been hospitalizing people internationally. While there is still no known cure for the virus, hospital patients are in need of blood transfusions now more than ever, OneBlood’s Pat Michaels says. 

Michaels says that this is an unprecedented time for blood centers, because the world has never experienced anything quite like it. The demand for blood donors has never been this high.

In addition to blood transfusions being a critical part in helping COVID-19 patients, a routine blood donation can also detect the COVID-19 antibodies.

A routine blood donation. Photo by Kristen Brainard.

Detecting COVID-19 antibodies in blood means that the donor has carried the virus at some point, and the antibodies lie in their system. These antibodies can be given to hospital patients fighting coronavirus to strengthen their systems.

The antibodies are also used for research purposes to help doctors and scientists try to learn more about COVID-19.

OneBlood is taking every safety precaution possible to keep donors safe while also supplying hospitals with the needed whole blood and convalescent plasma. 

A list of safety precautions each donor must read before entering. Photo by Kristen Brainard.

Every donor is asked for their background concerning travel and any possible exposure, before they even step into the donor center or on the red bus. They are required to wear a mask for the duration of their appointment, as are all techs. Donors get their temperatures taken, and may be instructed to wait in their cars to ensure social distancing. Also, every chair and all equipment is thoroughly sanitized, Michaels says. 

While the Covid-19 pandemic is resulting in an increase of hospitalizations, OneBlood is taking every step to supply the hospitals with needed blood and convalescent plasma. They are taking every safety precaution possible to keep their donors safe while helping during the pandemic. 

While this has been a trying time for everyone, Michaels and the entire OneBlood staff is certain they will overcome the obstacles while keeping their donors safe and healthy.