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By Heather West, DVI Intern

We sat down with Ellen Cottrill, co-owner of HOBNOB, one of the most unique restaurants in #DTJax.

Q: How is the dining experience at HOBNOB different from other restaurants?
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When we were designing HOBNOB, one of our goals was that it would be a place where people could come and have an elevated food experience without pretentious surroundings. We wanted it to provide an open atmosphere where people could relax, eat great food, and have a good time with friends. There are also share apps on the menu that allow you to sit down with a group of friends and all share the same dish. When designing the restaurant, we included architectural features that keep the noise level from being so loud that you can’t hear yourself think, let alone the other people at your table. Overall, we sought to make dining at HOBNOB feel like being part of a community where you can come and share an amazing food experience.

Q: How does your menu combine global and local influences?
For one of our appetizers, Shrimp Kilawen, we use local shrimp to create a Filipino style ceviche with sweet and spicy peppers, avocado purée, and spring roll crisps. Another example is our Thai Peanut Salad, which is a Thai inspired salad made with local greens. Even though our foods are influenced by global cuisine, we strive to use local ingredients.

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Q: How did your Generous Pours program come about?

Our local intentions apply not only to our menu, but to our desire to be involved in the Jacksonville community. This desire inspired us to launch our Generous Pours program in order to bring awareness and funding to local nonprofits. Our current featured drink is a lavender-inspired cocktail and for every drink purchased we will donate $1 to Berry Good Farms, our current partner.

Q: You’ve recently opened up an art gallery in your new event space. What is the current installation?

Right now our first installation, with our partner Stellers Gallery, features three local artists – Heather Blanton, Mike Perry and Thomas Hager – as well as a few from out of town. In addition to changing our installation quarterly, we’ll also occasionally be hosting local art exhibitions in conjunction with events going on in Unity Plaza. On Feburary 20th, we’ll be hosting our first local exhibition for Tacos for Tatas, a pink tie event benefiting the Donna Foundation. The installation, Brush Bold, will feature women who have had mastectomies with their chests painted.

Q: HOBNOB has a special Concierge Program for business professionals. What does it offer?

The Concierge Program strives to give professionals the benefits of The River Club without the membership fees. We keep a card on file for program members with your name, the company you work with, and keep (if you’d like) your credit card and whenever you want to make an appointment you can just call one of our managers and tell us of any dietary restrictions and what appetizer you’d like on the table when you get there. The program also features a free small appetizer for two people once a month.

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Q: What made you choose to open up Downtown?

We saw an opportunity to do something distinctive in this space and were excited to be a part of the growing Brooklyn neighborhood. Our location in Unity Plaza also allows us a great opportunity to get involved in different events.

Q: What new opportunities will your new event space offer?

Our new event space will allow us to host much bigger events, with up to 60 seated guests or 110 guests for a standing reception instead of our previous limit of 16. It will be ideal for business meetings, happy hour or even private events such as bridal showers or graduation parties. The Gallery also gives the space a unique feel different from other venues.

To learn more about HOBNOB, be sure to visit them at 220 Riverside Ave.. There hours are:

Tuesday 11AM-9PM

Wednesday-Thursday 11AM-10PM

Friday 11AM-11:59PM

Saturday 10AM-11:59PM

Sunday 10AM-3PM.

Also check out their new happy hour on weekdays from 4PM-7PM featuring $2 off draft cocktails and select $4 beer and wine and a late night happy hour from 10PM-12AM Fridays & Saturdays along with a special food menu. For more information about HOBNOB or any other restaurants in our directory, visit our website.



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