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Engine 15 expanding, building new brewery and tap room on Myrtle

engine15logoIf you had not already noticed, Jacksonville’s beer scene is absolutely on fire. In just little over five years our river city has gone from just a few beer-centric restaurants and brew pubs to sporting seven full-fledged craft breweries, scores of beer bars and a healthy amount of restaurants that focus on craft beer. And now comes even more proof that the beer scene is alive and kicking here, Luch Scremin co-owner and brewer at Engine 15, the Jacksonville Beach pub, has announced plans to open a production brewery, tap room and outdoor beer garden on Myrtle Ave. near downtown.

According to a Jacksonville Times-Union article Scremin expects to have the brewery operational in 90 days. It will feature a 20 barrel brewhouse that will allow him to brew his five core brands leaving the smaller four barrel brewhouse at the Jacksonville Beach brewery free to create small batch specialty beers.

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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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Lola’s Burrito Joint Set to Open This Week in Riverside

Just last week Beer:30 opened on King Street in the Beer District, this week another new place is opening with an incredible array of beers and a menu to knock you socks off. Lola’s Burrito Joint will offer the name-sake burritos, but it will also offer an array of foods described by Carlos Ramirez, chef and partner, as Latin street food. The restaurant is the brainchild of Ramirez and the team responsible for Carmine’s Pie House a few blocks down King Street.

The interior of the new watering hole cum restaurant is a lively mishmash of Latin influences with a centerpiece of a mannequin astride a motorcycle. It is vibrant, exciting, and definitely outside the usual. Bright reds, and yellows adorn the walls and Latin murals, paintings and artwork abound.

But, even the best restaurant cannot survive on looks alone. Fortunately, Lola’s has an outstanding menu as well. Look for empanadas, quesadillas, tacos, and wings as well as a bevy of burritos. And don’t forget the beer. Lola’s will host over 50 taps including two very unique Unibroue towers with Blanche de Chambly, Blonde de Chambly, Maudite, and Ephemere flowing through them.

Ramirez says the name is the result of a brainstorming session, “We were looking for a name with presence; Lola’s seemed to have it.” He says that the new restaurants, “Wants to be conscious to the neighborhood. Keeping true to the legacy of Riverside.”

Ramirez plans to have the doors open later this week to welcome his new neighbors and begin making his mark.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Beer, Food, Imports, Restaurant

 

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Kickback’s Gastropub Needs Your Help

For several years now I have been visiting this beer emporium on King St. I bring all of my friends and family there when they visit from out of town. I go in for lunch, for dates, for late-night snacks, football on Sundays, beers with “The Gang,” and for an after-work beer. Kickback’s is a home-away-from-home. It is an Oasis of comforting food, great people, and outstanding beer. This is a business that is well-respected, run by conscientious management, and is an asset to the community. And now they need our help.

There are those who do not see the upcoming expansion plans of a successful business as complimentary to their way of life. There is a self-appointed, self-righteous, quasi-HOA trying to impose their will on a business that has been nothing but good for the neighborhood. Indeed, Kickback’s has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the King Street corridor. Without the vision of Steve Flores and the other owners of this establishment, King Street may well have slipped into obscurity and been devoured by urban decay. Instead, it is a bustling hub of activity drawing new entertainment and dining choices for a city in dire need of both.

Please read the letter from my good friends at Kickback’s posted below. Do what you can to help them through this situation.

“Kickbacks Gastropub As many of you know, we are in the final stages of planning a new restaurant next door to Kickbacks called Goozlepipe & Guttyworks. Hundreds of you have asked how you can help and here is your chance…

The city’s planning and zoning department is overwhelmingly in support of our project and the city’s planning commission voted unanimously in October to grant us a parking deviation that we needed.

The Riverside Avondale Preservation Association (RAP) has filed an appeal of the planning commission’s decision to the Land Use Committee of the City Council (LUZ) and is attempting to make our project a political issue. They have been knocking on doors, sending emails, making phone calls, flyering the neighborhood, starting on-line petitions and engaging in an all out campaign of lies and distortion in an effort to win the support of the neighborhood and the city council. RAP wants to be the voice of the neighborhood, they want to represent YOU. We feel that RAP can have a voice…their OWN voice. They can represent themselves and their members but they aren’t the voice of the public. The public fills our seats every day and night, our neighbors come by car, foot, bike, shuttle, cab, stroller, rickshaw and skateboard.

Just so we are clear, we are building another restaurant. One that the neighborhood can be proud of, that families and people of all ages can enjoy. A new restaurant that will create 35 new jobs within the neighborhood. We are not building a strip club, night club or pool hall.

In the worst economy in any of our lifetimes, we plan to invest over $1,000,000 in a commercial corridor that most people agree was stimulated by our original investment of money, time, blood, sweat and tears over 6 years ago.

A few years ago, a “zoning overlay” was written and introduced covering most of our neighborhood. The intent of the overlay was to allow any restaurant to open in any existing contributing structure in Riverside/Avondale without having to provide ANY parking spaces. The overlay also gave a 50% parking reduction to any new construction in the neighborhood. We are tearing down a non-contributing duplex next door and building new construction. According to the overlay, we would have to provide 19 or 33 parking spaces, depending on your interpretation of the technical language within. We are providing only 8 new parking spaces, but they technically don’t count because they are in our alley. The city planners recognized that it would be physically impossible to provide this many spaces and after considering a list of mitigating circumstances, allowed the exception. If we built a parking lot instead of a new building, we could only build 8-10 parking spaces on the entire lot.

There is an increasingly long list of restaurants that are planned or have opened in the King St. district since we first proposed this project. Pele’s, Carmines will open a new restaurant in the Jackson’s space, The Garage, Dahlia’s Pour House, Alpha Dog…and more coming. That’s just in the last 9 months. What do they all have in common? None of them are new construction and therefore none of them had to provide ANY parking! RAP wants to “protect the neighborhood” from our customers but has zero concern for the cumulative effect of all the other restaurants? That makes no sense. The overlay was written such that every single building can be a restaurant, of varying sizes, and none of them need to provide any parking. RAP has no concern for the parking and traffic generated by businesses in old buildings but only wants to “protect the neighborhood” from the one business constructing a new building? They call our project “irresponsible”! They say our customers urinate in peoples yards, litter and block driveways…have any of you done that? Is it possible that these people are coming from other businesses?

Despite the fact that we were granted the parking deviation, we continue to work on providing parking solutions for our customers and for the district as a whole. We recognize that we will not succeed as a business if people can not make it to our front door safely.

What can you do to help? Plenty. We’ve resisted your offers for months out of respect for your time and the time of the LUZ. We are now asking you to let the LUZ know how you feel about our project. We want you to email them (please cc us) and call them. We want you to show up at our next public hearing on February 22nd at 5pm at City Hall. Please send us your contact information and let us know if you u can make it!

Reginald Brown- Chair RBrown@coj.net 630-1684

Ray Holt- Vice Chair Holt@coj.net 630-1380

Lori Boyer LBoyer@coj.net 630-1382

Doyle Carter doylec@coj.net 630-1380

Jim Love JimLove@coj.net 630-1390

Robin Lumb RLumb@coj.net 630-1387

Don Redman Redman@coj.net 630-1394

Stephen Joost Joost@coj.net Phone: (904) 630-1396

Kickbacks Gastropub Kickbacks@comcast.net 388-9551

The subject line can be Kickbacks Gastropub/Goozlepipe & Guttyworks “Zoning Exception and Administrative Deviation E-11-54 & AD-11-58”

It can be a bit confusing, so let me be clear. If you are in support of the new restaurant, then you are against the appeal.

We have supported RAP throughout our careers, and will continue to do so, but we feel that their efforts should focus on preserving contributing buildings. Despite the fact that their support and membership have plummeted in recent years, they have a very loud voice and have focussed considerable time and financial resources on trying to stop our project.

As a small business owner in Jacksonville we are deeply disturbed by the appeal that has been filed by RAP. With the difficult economic times we all face and the existing regulations imposed by the city, the last thing we need is a glorified homeowners association telling the city how to run the city government. The planning Commission is a group of professionals that have been appointed to make these decisions. Small businesses have a hard enough time providing jobs for this great community. Please ask the LUZ to vote no on the appeal and allow the new restaurant to be built without further delay.

Please call or write with any questions. We are happy to speak with you or meet with you anytime.

Thank you so much.”

This is your rallying call! Write those letters, make those calls, and show up at City Hall on February 22 at 5:00 PM. Let’s support our local businesses instead of hampering their growth and success.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Beer, Pubs, Restaurant

 

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Pele’s Wood Fire Sure to Burn Bright in Riverside

I do not normally write about restaurants in this blog, but today I am going to break with that tradition just a bit. The reason for this break is that the restaurant also boasts nearly 50 beer taps and 100 bottles of beer. Which restaurant am I writing about? Pele’s Wood Fire in the old Rexall Drug store building at the corner of Park and King Streets in Riverside.

For those who have been to the Riverside Arts Market and sampled the fantastic pizzas from Pele’s Wood Fire Pizza there, you are going to love this new restaurant. Matt Tierney and his partner have put together a beautiful restaurant that is full of stylish and classy touches like a rolling library-style ladder on a rail behind the bar and a glass-enclosed show kitchen. Behind the glass are two brick-clad, wood-fueled ovens that emit a soft orange glow and are laden with pizzas and other specialties of the house. In the dining room the walls are painted in pleasing, muted tones that complement the warm orange seats and rich wood tables.

We began our visit sitting at the bar for a couple of cold beers. My companion left it to me to order her something she would like and I opted for the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat. One sip and she exclaimed it to be her new favorite beer. I noticed that they had Oscar Blues’ Ten-Fiddy on tap and hastily ordered one for myself.

As we perused the menu, our waiter brought us fresh bread and olive oil with Italian spices sprinkled in it for dipping. Since I was there with my companion during their first week of soft-opening, the menu was a bit spare. But, the items that were on the menu looked fantastic. We chose an appetizer of Lemoncello wings that came out a golden-yellow with shaved parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. The wings were delicious with a slight spiciness and lemony zing that truly set them apart. A pasta dish that stood out on the menu was house-made black pepper spaghetti carbonara – I plan on trying it on our next visit. The entrees included a variety of dishes, many cooked in the wood oven along with the pizzas. I ended up ordering the ribeye steak and was not disappointed. My companion had the cheese and mushroom wood-fired pizza that was absolutely wonderful.

After dinner we decided on two desserts, the white chocolate cheesecake, topped with an amarena cherry glaze and the zeppoles. The cheesecake was sweet, firm and creamy and was served alongside chocolate espresso pot de creme. The flavor was outrageously decadent and I can see it becoming quite addictive. The zeppoles – fried doughnut holes-like pastries — were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and served with hazelnut- chocolate ganash, orange sea-salt caramel sauce, and lemon curd for dipping.

Service during the test-run week was good and should only get better as the restaurant gets its feet under it and comes on-line full-steam. I look forward to more evenings enjoying the beer and atmosphere of this great new dining addition to Jacksonville.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Food, Restaurant

 

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