With major development projects on the horizon and more people coming to live and work in Downtown Jacksonville, it has become a great place for entrepreneurs and small businesses to put down roots. There are so many businesses that are unique to DTJax, some that you may have heard of as well as a few hidden gems. “Found in DTJax” is your guide the shops, restaurants and venues that you can find ONLY in Downtown Jacksonville.


October edition: Sweet Pete’s Candy


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Sweet Pete’s Candy opened in Downtown Jacksonville in 2010 in the historic Seminole Club, a building that dates back to 1903. The notable location, which hosted a number of well-known visitors such as Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, sat vacant for ten years until Sweet Pete’s and Lemonis renovated the property. This new confectionary emporium is a vast 23,000 sq. ft., making it one of the largest candy shops in the United States.

Today, Sweet Pete’s manufactures a line of handcrafted quality chocolates and sells over a thousand different types of candies. The new location boasts a fully functioning factory with an interactive gallery, two large retail areas, a full restaurant and bar, rooftop patio and dessert bar. Sweet Pete’s also features an event center that offers space for children’s field trips, catered events and parties. Peter also finds joy in sharing his expertise with others by teaching the art of candy making. The fun-filled educational environment includes Sweet Pete’s Sweet Science Classes, hands-on interactive candy making sessions and birthday parties. Sweet Pete’s is run by a group of naturally fun people who are committed to creating the Sweetest Destination on Earth.

Sweet Pete’s is more than just your average candy shop, they host events, classes and more. Here are a few notable things to check out:

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Ever wanted to know how your favorite candy is made? Embrace your inner Willy Wonka and attend a candy making class

at Sweet Pete’s! Learn how to make chocolate bars, candy canes, taffy, lollipops and more. Classes are a great idea for a date or an affordable family outing. Check out all of the classes and register here.


Birthday Parties

A Sweet Pete’s birthday party is every kid’s dream! Treat your special birthday boy or girl to a magical party in a real life Candy Land. Standard parties include:

  • Candy making Experience: Kids go home with the candy they made!
  • Tour of facility including our Candy Kitchen
  • Ice Cream for each participating child
  • Sweet Pete’s To Go bags for the kids’ candy to go in
  • Lemonade and water for the children
  • Downloadable invitations to send out
  • Other goodies and games can be added on while finalizing party
  • Private, decorated room, including set up and clean up of room
  • All plates, cups and decorations are Sweet Pete’s property.  Any cups or plates that are taken will be charged to guest.

There are also plenty of add-ons and upgrades available for purchase! To see all of the options and pricing details, visit their birthday parties page.


Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 3.18.32 PMThe Candy Apple Café and Cocktails

Candy Apple Cafe’s delicious drink and food menu will make you feel like a kid in the candy shop. Located inside Sweet Pete’s, the Candy Apple Cafe is exactly what you’d expect to find at a restaurant inside a candy shop. Their menu includes treats like Bourbon Pecan Waffles, Mayport Shrimp Crepes, Country Fried chicken and more. You can find drinks like Sweet Pete’s Watermelon Sour and Pop Rockadopolis on their mouth-watering drink menu. Check out the menu and happy hour info here.

With major development projects on the horizon and more people coming to live and work in Downtown Jacksonville, it has become a great place for entrepreneurs and small businesses to put down roots. There are so many businesses that are unique to DTJax, some that you may have heard of as well as a few hidden gems. “Found in DTJax” is your guide the shops, restaurants and venues that you can find ONLY in Downtown Jacksonville.


September Edition: Intuition Ale Works

Exterior 2Intuition Ale Works was founded by owner and brewer Ben Davis in Jacksonville in 2010. Specializing in small-batch handcrafted ales, Intuition’s mission is to create quality, flavorful and creative beers in a wide range of styles. If you’ve ever tried an Intuition beer, you know that this mission is represented well in the taste and quality of their beers. In February 2012, Intuition Ale Works started a massive trend and became the first craft brewery in the state of Florida to can its beers. In September 2016, Intuition completed a large expansion project and now features a rooftop bar, event space and an in-house restaurant – BLKSHP, brought to you by Riverside’s Black Sheep.

A few noteworthy things to check out/try at Intuition:


The beer (duh)

The best way to find out what Intuition is all about is to try all of their most popular beers! These beers are the cornerstone of their business and are distributed all over the southeast. Head to the brewery for $2-3 5oz drafts, perfect for sampling. Check out a current list of everything they have on draft here.

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  • Jon Boat Coast Ale: This is a hot Florida day favorite! It is an English golden ale cool-fermented to enhance its crisp and refreshing lager-like characteristics.
  • I-10 IPA: Looking to step up the hops and alcohol percentage? The West Coast comes to Jax with this extremely hoppy, true India Pale Ale.
  • King Street Stout: Imperial stout brewed with two-row malted barley and a variety of roasted and caramel malts.
  • Easy on the Eyes: All of the hops and added alcohol content with a hint of citrus. Easy-drinking, session IPA with a bright citrus aroma from the Centennial and Citra dry-hopping.



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To-go beers

Yeah you read that right – to-go beers. On weekends you can grab a brew (or a few) and head to a concert at the arena, your tailgate or grab one on your way to the stadium. Just stop by the handy little to-go window and get what you need! The best part? They’re only $3! Add a koozie for just $1 and you’re set.







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There are only a few rooftop bars in Jacksonville so it was super exciting when Intuition decided to add one to the brewery! The rooftop bar is big enough for after-football-game crowds and is equipped with a large three-sided bar and plenty of TVs. Intuition hosts a lot of different events on the rooftop including watch games, yoga sessions and more! Stay up to date on all rooftop happenings, follow them on Facebook.






BLKSHP by Black Sheep

If you’ve ever been to Black Sheep in Riverside, you know why this is exciting. The food is phenomenal and at Intuition, you get a taste of Black Sheep, but on a casual, more affordable level. You can order food and eat it anywhere in the brewery with your favorite beer. Burgers, hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese and brisket are just a few of the delicious things they offer. Check out the full menu here.

Summer camps are a dime a dozen but there are none quite like the 5 & Dime Theatre Summer Camp in #DTJax. Hosted by the theatre company that recently put down roots in Downtown, it is a true hands on and well-rounded learning experience in all things theatre. The camp spans from age 5 all the way through tenth grade, each week dedicated to a specific age group so that content can be altered appropriately. Youngsters play theatre-related games and learn the basics while the older crowd works on honing their craft and building on what they already know. The third round (July 24 – July 28) is designated specifically to musical theatre, giving campers the opportunity to expand their love for musical theatre through musical song and dance numbers and solo work. Every age group puts on a performance on their final day to show off what they’ve learned.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.03.34 AMI had the opportunity to pay the 5-10 year old group a visit this week and while the games were wildly fun and thoroughly educational, the most impressive thing that I encountered were the instructors. There were 5 instructors for the class of 16 children which is a pretty incredible and rare ratio when it comes to summer camps. This made for a much more organized environment conducive to learning; the campers all receiving individual attention and instruction. And though the instructors have the patience of experienced elementary school teachers, they are all theatre students at well-respected universities – they’re the real deal.



Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 9.53.39 AMThough I was only there for a short time, the thing that I liked most about what I observed was that the instructors encouraged the campers to be brave and “perform” alone in front of the crowd, to cheer each other on, to respect each other and to be polite while others are on stage. The instructors also stressed theatre etiquette. Multiple times, they asked the campers, “What do we do when someone comes off stage, regardless of their performance?” and everyone yelled, “We clap!” and started clapping.


I got to ask the campers and instructors a few questions, here’s what they had to say:



Q: What has been your favorite part of summer camp so far?

A: Playing games

A: Making sock puppets and masks

A: Arts and crafts


Q: What is the coolest thing you’ve learned so far at summer camp?

A: Learning about theatre

A: Theatre etiquitte

A: The history of theatre


Q: Do you guys want to do summer camp again next year?

A: A loud, roaring “YES!”



Q: How long have you guys been acting?

MacKenzy: I have been acting since 4th grade, Alec has been acting since 6th grade and Avery and Nathaniel started in high school.

Emily: I’ve been acting since about 5th grade.


Q: What made you guys want to teach summer camp here at 5 & Dime rather than somewhere else?

MacKenzy: I think because we have learned so much from the Jacksonville community and this is our time to give back.


Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching summer camp?

MacKenzy: I just love seeing how excited they get to come back. When they leave with their parents, they’re like, “No we don’t wanna leave!” and that right there just makes everything doable and worth it.

Emily: Yeah, seeing how excited they get is definitely the best part.


Q: Name one thing that you like about Downtown:

MacKenzy: Everything is local and the arts and theatre seem to be appreciated here. That’s one of the best parts about being at the 5 & Dime is that it’s Downtown.

Emily: You don’t find a lot of chains here. Everything here is very much like locals just found a nook and started a business and you find that on every corner.


Q: If you could change anything about Downtown, what would it be?

MacKenzy: I wish it was a little cleaner.

Emily: Get rid of the one-way streets.


Find out more and sign up here!

Photos provided by TTV Architects Inc.

As much as we love to see new businesses move into #DTJax all the time, it’s nice to appreciate the ones that have been here awhile as well! In 2004, TTV Architects Inc. relocated to the entertainment district of Downtown and has been creating nationally renowned designs from their office ever since. We sat down with the youngest licensed architect in Jacksonville, William Hoang, to discuss the firm, what it’s like to be a young architect in Jacksonville and what it’s like to work Downtown.

Hoang explained to us his journey of landing at one the most progressive, full service architecture and design firms in Jacksonville. Originally from Texas, Hoang first interned at the firm as a summer intern when he was in high school trying to decide if architecture was right for him. When he decided it was, he continued onto architecture school at the University of Houston and then studied architecture and urbanism at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-La Villette in Paris prior to being nationally certified and licensed.

William Hoang

Unlike the higher education process most of us may be privy to, architecture is a different ball game. First, the aspiring architect must get into an accredited school and graduate with a Bachelor or Masters of Architecture. Then, the long internship process begins, which can take anywhere from a few years to almost a decade. Finally, the architect-to-be must pass seven national board exams to become licensed. As Hoang noted, it took him about nine years from architecture school to internship to passing the board exams, but he did it!

As far as working Downtown, Hoang said he and his coworkers enjoy the lifestyle of Downtown. Hoang knows firsthand what living in a vibrant and exciting city is like, having gone to school in Houston and then studying abroad in Paris. He says that Jacksonville is different, and especially Downtown, with so much potential and possibilities. Hoang himself is very committed to #DTJax, and will even be the President this summer of the Downtown Rotaract Club which is a young professional club connected to Rotary.

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Proposed UNF Interfaith Center design

TTV has grown to be a nationally-renowned and sought-after firm, contracting lots of work outside of Jacksonville and Florida, including a new, modern Courtroom in Louisville, Kentucky which achieved the GSA Design Excellence award. TTV still does display it’s loyalty and talent to Jacksonville with projects at Mayo Clinic and the recent bid to design the UNF Interfaith Center.

For a look at more of the portfolio of TTV Architects Inc., check out their website and Facebook page. To learn more about getting involved and making a difference in #DTJax like Will Hoang, come out to the next Downtown Rotaract Club meeting! Thank you to William Hoang and the whole TTV team for being so dedicated to #DTJax!

Jacksonville Magazine released their list of 50 Best Restaurants, and while the list spans all along the First Coast, we’re especially proud and lucky to have 12 of those amazing restaurants in #DTJax.  From Jacksonville Magazine:

“2015 saw an abundance of restaurant openings in Jacksonville, giving locals a wide array of new options.  Of course, many of the eateries listed among Jax Mag’s annual list of the top places to dine aren’t new. In fact, some have been around for decades. But that’s the thing about food – fads come and go (are kale chips still a thing?), but it’s hard to beat the tried-and-tasted. From Southern staples to hot bowls brimming with spicy pho, this might be the River City’s most delicious year yet. EAT UP.”

Put these restaurants at the top of your to do list while you’re Downtown – you won’t regret it! Whether you need a quick lunch, casual dinner, or an upscale dining experience, #DTJax has got you covered!

  1. bb’s : 1019 Hendricks Ave., San Marco. At the intersection of casual and upscale sits bb’s, an inviting bistro where the noise level is often high, especially during lunch as the dining room packs with business types.  The core menu of sandwiches, salads and pizzas is top-notch, but don’t miss specials here either.slider-rev2-image0
  2. Café Nola : 333 N. Laura St., Downtown. Chef Kathy Collins’ dishes are often as incentive as the art hanging in MOCA galleries (Nola is the museum’s in-house restaurant). The menu changes seasonally, but expect dishes with a wide range of influences, from vegan paella with smoked almonds to blackened rainbow trout with Mexican crema and crispy collards.
  3. Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails : 400 N. Hogan St., Downtown. A major renovation of the historic Seminole Club in 2014 has allowed the building housing Sweet Pete’s and Candy Apple Cafe to become a mini empire of all things delicious in #DTJax. It’s now a space that would make Willy Wonka proud, with striped walls, oversized furniture, multi-colored chandeliers and candy in nearly every corner.  Mother-daughter duo Liz and Jennifer Earnest, owners of Chef’s Garden Catering & Events, opened Candy Apple with an emphasis on grown-up versions of classic kids favorites.blg3
  4. Chart House : 1501 Riverplace Blvd., San Marco. This upscale seafood spot is known for selecting scenic locations upon which to build its restaurants, and the Jacksonville location is no different with its panoramic view of the St. Johns River and the Downtown skyline.
  5. Chomp Chomp : 106 E. Adams St., Downtown. With only a handful of tables, three bar stools and limited outdoor seating, Chomp Chomp tends to fill up fast. Here, the chefs put a spin on street fare and classic sandwiches with menu items including Korean chicken kebabs with brown rice and kimchi.   13265218                                       Credit: Bruce Lipsky/The Times-Union 
  6. Fionn MacCools : 2 Independent Dr., Jacksonville Landing. Don’t wait till St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy this Irish Pub.  MacCool’s black and blue surf and turf (blackened sirloin steak, crab and bleu cheese bread pudding and sauteed kale with a spicy remoulade sauce) paired with one of the pub’s more than 40 import, craft, domestic or local brews on tap. Every Wednesday a different whiskey is featured if top shelf spirits are more your thing.
  7. Indochine : 21 E. Adams St., Downtown. Whether it’s curry fried rice, peanut curry or short ribs in Massaman curry, the polished plates of Thai-fusion dishes at both Indochine locations are enough to knock anyone out of a dining rut. Part of the fun of dining here is customizing your order with Indochine’s spice rack, adding more heat and thrills to the typical dining experience.     Jacksonville-Restaurant-Reviews-1                                      Via: Jaxfoodcritic.com 
  8. Olio : 301 E. Bay St., Downtown. This is a popular standout for the Downtown lunch crowd. The shrimp po’ boy (with shrimp, andouille sausage and curry coleslaw) is an inspired take on a Southern classic and breakfast items (sriracha scrambled eggs, bacon and cheddar cheese in a tortilla) elevate the idea of breakfast burritos to a whole new level.
  9. River City Brewing Co. : 835 Museum Cir., San Marco.  Jacksonville residents are proud of the waterfront and nothing is better than dinner with a view. Fortunately, River City Brewing Co. offers some of the best river views in town. Add in half-pound burgers, pasta Alfredo and fresh Florida lobster tail and you’ve got a dining staple that pleases out-of-towners and traditionalists alike.
  10. Ruth’s Chris : 1201 Riverplace Blvd., San Marco.  If you’re craving a classic American dinner – perhaps a sizzling steak topped with butter and flanked by a baked potato then this is the luxurious choice. The upscale setting, err-on-the-side-of-fancy dress code and high-quality cuts of meat will make you forget you’re dining in one of the largest steak chains in the world.
  11. Super Food and Brew : 11 E Forsyth St., Downtown. In May 2015, Super Food food truck parked for good in a former Starbucks in #DTJax. Fresh is the focus here with items like ahi poke bowl, sushi burrito and pork belly stir fry are all made in-house without the use of freezers.11040584_1472663329715905_523688713778055176_n
  12. Village Bread Café : 2 Independent Dr., Jacksonville Landing. Those looking for a local spot to grab a quick bite on the way to work have an option in Village Bread Cafe, which has locations on Philips Highway, the Landing and Mandarin. With fresh-baked bread, options like Kenny’s kicker – an egg, ham, cheese, and veggie panini – and curbside service, who needs a fast-food drive-through?

So forget your packed lunch some time soon and check out these amazing eats in #DTJax!

For a full directory of all our delicious restaurants Downtown, visit dtjax.org.


by: Katherine Hardwick in Downtown Shout-outs, Marketing & Promotions No Comments  

Folio Weekly released their list of 100 Things To Do In Northeast Florida Before You Die, and while the list spans from Amelia Island down to St. Augustine, we’re especially proud of the 18 items found in #DTJax (bolded below). From Folio:

“Here’s the deal: ’Round-about this time of year, the holidayitis sets in, and we’d rather be doing just about anything else other than the Serious Journalism™ that usually occupies this space. We figured this week we’d do something fun instead. And so, without further ado, we present: 100 Things To Do In Northeast Florida Before You Die.”

Check out the top things to do Downtown – Oh, hello, First Wednesday Art Walk; fancy seeing you here – and in the urban core, because Riverside, Avondale, Murray Hill, Springfield and San Marco are the best neighbors a Downtown could ask for:

  1. Have your engagement photos taken at Treaty Oak Park. Everyone else does.Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.03.21 PM
  2. Good: Ride a water taxi to a Jags game at EverBank Field. Better: Go to a game where they actually win. (LOL/JK.) Best: Rock a Speedo at The Clevelander Deck, one of the two in-stadium pools paid for by tax dollars.13731979
  3. Your ears may curse you in the morning, but anyone interested in Jacksonville’s cultural underbelly should spend a Wednesday evening listening — and even joining in — at West Inn Cantina’s Jam Night. Of course, people in the know still call the joint Monty’s (3644 St. Johns Ave., Avondale).

by: admin in Downtown Shout-outs No Comments  

By Christina Graw, contributing writer

In a city as large and diverse as Jacksonville, it’s sometimes difficult to experience all the cool things this place has to offer. Downtown alone is home to dozens of bars and restaurants, thousands of event annually and some of the city’s most unique cultural sites. To help you explore Downtown destinations you might be missing out on, I’ve put together a “bucket list” of places to go and things to do outside of the common urban-core fun you’re used to.

Jaxsons Night Market

Jaxsons Night Market

Jaxsons Night Market
Completely impressed by my first visit, the market is an outdoor farmer’s market filled with food, arts and entertainment that takes place the third Thursday of every month at the Laura Street Trio lot. Learn more at its Facebook page. It’s also added boutiques in trucks such as Belle of the Boulevard. So, if you’re like me and love to shop, you can grab a beer and have at it!

La Cena
La Cena is a quaint Italian restaurant and bar. It’s small enough to be missed by visitors, but La Cena is sure to please with a relaxing atmosphere, stellar wine list and authentic Italian food.