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Black Sheep Restaurant, Jacksonville.
Black Sheep Restaurant, Jacksonville.
Photo: Black Sheep / Facebook

The Eater Jacksonville, Florida Heatmap: Where to Eat Right Now

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Black Sheep Restaurant, Jacksonville.
| Photo: Black Sheep / Facebook

Here now, Eater's first ever Heatmap of Jacksonville, Florida, which contains nine newish restaurants that have been getting some serious buzz. (All of these have been open for a year or less.) For the list, Eater consulted with Florida Times-Union restaurant critic and food writer Jessica Taylor on her picks for the hottest bars and restaurants this city has to offer right this moment.

So what's hot in Jacksonville? A farm-to-table obsession is hitting the city in a big way, and the majority of these establishments, which offer locally sourced twists on Southern cuisine (Black Sheep, Terra, The Salty Fig) and drinks made with small-batch spirits (Grape & Grain Exchange), are gaining serious traction. But that doesn't mean ethnic cuisine is getting snubbed in Jax. The owners behind hit downtown Thai restaurant Indochine recently opened Pho: A Noodle Bar, a casual place to get heaping bowls of their take on the traditional Vietnamese rice noodle soup. Below, the Eater Heatmap to Jacksonville, Florida.



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Black Sheep Restaurant

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Home to one of the city's first rooftop bars, the eponymous restaurant from Black Sheep, the team behind now-closed restaurant Chew and perennial favorite Restaurant Orsay, has quickly become Riverside’s hottest table. Creative Southern-inspired offerings, like barbecue pork rinds with orange blossom honey and sea salt, pepper the menu. [Photo]

Tres Leches Bakery Cafe

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Husband and wife team Eddie and Irene Sweda leaned on Irene’s Venezuelan background to create the Latin American-inspired café menu. The moist, sweet namesake tres leches cake (Irene’s favorite dessert) is a must-try. Their made-from-scratch arepas can be adapted for breakfast, lunch, or dinner based on the fillings — from egg and cheese to pulled pork and black beans. [Photo]

Maple Street Biscuit Company

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Orders here aren't called by name — customers have to hear for their response to Maple Street's question of the month (it's currently "What's your favorite book?"). The entire menu is built around the restaurant's version of a Southern-style buttermilk biscuit, which can either be eaten as a sandwich with a piece of fried chicken, or smothered with housemade jam, jelly, apple butter or gravy. [Photo]

The Salty Fig

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Brothers Jeff and John Stanford have turned their reinvented Southern food truck into a King Street brick-and-mortar. The menu was largely changed for the storefront, but their best-selling shrimp and goat cheese grits remain unchanged. Expect upgrades instead: The local beer-braised pork belly sandwich now includes fried Apalachicola oysters. Sample one (or more) of the bar's 16 brands of moonshine every Monday, either in a cocktail or as a tasting flight. [Photo]

All the ingredients used at Terra, veteran Jacksonville restaurateur Michael Thomas' (previously of 24 Miramar, Sterling's) latest New American dining concept, come from within a 100 mile radius of the city. Some vegetables and herbs are even grown in the restaurant’s own organic garden. [Photo]

Ovinté

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Named after the Portuguese slang term for "goodness," Ovinté's main draw is its extensive (220+) wine list. Cocktails here feature spirits from small-batch, domestic distilleries. Aside from a solid selection of aged cheeses and cured meats, playful Spanish and Italian-inspired small plates, like their off-the-menu, angel hair-filled fried wonton "spaghetti tacos," round out the menu. The 50/50 (half sirloin, half Applewood-smoked bacon) Sliders are a consistent hit. [Photo]

Grape & Grain Exchange/The Parlour

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One side of San Marco's new combination specialty liquor store/bar features a spacious bar featuring local microbrews from the likes of Intuition and Bold City. Purchase small-batch spirits and wines in-store, or sample the selections featured that night. Walk past the bar to the back of the store to find a hidden bookshelf entrance to The Parlour, the Grape & Grain's 1930s Chicago art deco-inspired speakeasy. Accessible only by password, get the code from the bartender — or the bar's Facebook page. [Photo]

Derby On Park

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After gutting and expanding the former diner last year, co-owners Michael Williams, Zack Nettles, Cheryl and Neil Corrado charged local chef Kevin Duvall to create a new menu to replace the old diner-style breakfast and brunch menu. The finished product showcases creative diner fare, like bacon-blue cheese guacamole and a grilled, boozy twist on French toast with a sweet vanilla-and-bourbon-dipped batter. [Photo]

Pho. A Noodle Bar

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The owners of downtown Thai restaurant Indochine opened this trendy Asian fusion restaurant just a few blocks away on Adams St last September. Typical beef broth-based Vietnamese pho is joined by more adventurous versions made with oxtail and duck. The vegan pho here gets its flavor from a dashi/miso-esque mushroom bouillon soup base. [Photo]

Black Sheep Restaurant

Home to one of the city's first rooftop bars, the eponymous restaurant from Black Sheep, the team behind now-closed restaurant Chew and perennial favorite Restaurant Orsay, has quickly become Riverside’s hottest table. Creative Southern-inspired offerings, like barbecue pork rinds with orange blossom honey and sea salt, pepper the menu. [Photo]

Tres Leches Bakery Cafe

Husband and wife team Eddie and Irene Sweda leaned on Irene’s Venezuelan background to create the Latin American-inspired café menu. The moist, sweet namesake tres leches cake (Irene’s favorite dessert) is a must-try. Their made-from-scratch arepas can be adapted for breakfast, lunch, or dinner based on the fillings — from egg and cheese to pulled pork and black beans. [Photo]

Maple Street Biscuit Company

Orders here aren't called by name — customers have to hear for their response to Maple Street's question of the month (it's currently "What's your favorite book?"). The entire menu is built around the restaurant's version of a Southern-style buttermilk biscuit, which can either be eaten as a sandwich with a piece of fried chicken, or smothered with housemade jam, jelly, apple butter or gravy. [Photo]

The Salty Fig

Brothers Jeff and John Stanford have turned their reinvented Southern food truck into a King Street brick-and-mortar. The menu was largely changed for the storefront, but their best-selling shrimp and goat cheese grits remain unchanged. Expect upgrades instead: The local beer-braised pork belly sandwich now includes fried Apalachicola oysters. Sample one (or more) of the bar's 16 brands of moonshine every Monday, either in a cocktail or as a tasting flight. [Photo]

Terra

All the ingredients used at Terra, veteran Jacksonville restaurateur Michael Thomas' (previously of 24 Miramar, Sterling's) latest New American dining concept, come from within a 100 mile radius of the city. Some vegetables and herbs are even grown in the restaurant’s own organic garden. [Photo]

Ovinté

Named after the Portuguese slang term for "goodness," Ovinté's main draw is its extensive (220+) wine list. Cocktails here feature spirits from small-batch, domestic distilleries. Aside from a solid selection of aged cheeses and cured meats, playful Spanish and Italian-inspired small plates, like their off-the-menu, angel hair-filled fried wonton "spaghetti tacos," round out the menu. The 50/50 (half sirloin, half Applewood-smoked bacon) Sliders are a consistent hit. [Photo]

Grape & Grain Exchange/The Parlour

One side of San Marco's new combination specialty liquor store/bar features a spacious bar featuring local microbrews from the likes of Intuition and Bold City. Purchase small-batch spirits and wines in-store, or sample the selections featured that night. Walk past the bar to the back of the store to find a hidden bookshelf entrance to The Parlour, the Grape & Grain's 1930s Chicago art deco-inspired speakeasy. Accessible only by password, get the code from the bartender — or the bar's Facebook page. [Photo]

Derby On Park

After gutting and expanding the former diner last year, co-owners Michael Williams, Zack Nettles, Cheryl and Neil Corrado charged local chef Kevin Duvall to create a new menu to replace the old diner-style breakfast and brunch menu. The finished product showcases creative diner fare, like bacon-blue cheese guacamole and a grilled, boozy twist on French toast with a sweet vanilla-and-bourbon-dipped batter. [Photo]

Pho. A Noodle Bar

The owners of downtown Thai restaurant Indochine opened this trendy Asian fusion restaurant just a few blocks away on Adams St last September. Typical beef broth-based Vietnamese pho is joined by more adventurous versions made with oxtail and duck. The vegan pho here gets its flavor from a dashi/miso-esque mushroom bouillon soup base. [Photo]

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