Cousins Maine Lobster, European Street, Blue Orchid and Pie95: Jacksonville restaurant openings and closings in April

In April, notable restaurant closings continued, including Cousins Maine Lobster in Neptune Beach (at least temporarily) and European Street Cafe’s Southside restaurant. Elsewhere, new restaurant openings included Aloha Waffle Bar at River City Marketplace, Purple Roots Filipino Fare + Panaderia on the Southside and Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine in Riverside. More promising, though, are several new projects in San Marco, Mandarin, Brooklyn and more.

Here’s a recap of  Jacksonville-area restaurant news in April. For weekly updates, subscribe to our free Dining Notes newsletter, delivered to your inbox each Wednesday at 11 a.m. Coming soon: More than 25 restaurants are in the works for Jacksonville in 2022.

Here’s a list. Olio, Willard’s, E Street: In 2022, some longtime favorite Jacksonville restaurants have closed. Here’s a list.

The HUB Brooklyn

A new restaurant, a popular coffeehouse and an artisan bakery —  Alder & Oak, Southern Grounds & Co. and Blueberry Bakery — are planned for The HUB Brooklyn, a new mixed-use development under construction at 400 Riverside Ave. near downtown Jacksonville. Alder & Oak will be a Mediterranean concept featuring seasonal ingredients and coastal Florida seafood. Southern Grounds & Co. offers a chef-driven menu, gourmet coffee and baked goods. Blueberry Bakery is a boutique artisan bakery. |

Gemma Fish + Oyster

The husband-and-wife team from Ember & Iron plan to open Gemma Fish + Oyster, an upscale casual oyster bar and restaurant at East San Marco, the Publix-anchored shopping center under construction at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue in San Marco.

The couple hope to open Gemma in February or March next year. | 

Foxtail Coffee Co. 

Foxtail Coffee Co. plans to open coffeehouses in Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beach — their first in Northeast Florida. Franchise owner Ty Claggett said that they hope to open the first in Sawgrass Village shopping center in June. The second at East San Marco at Atlantic Boulevard and Hendricks Avenue likely will open by the end of the year. |

European Street Cafe

After 23 years, European Street Cafe closed its restaurant at 5500 Beach Blvd. on the city’s Southside. The restaurant chain, which has three other restaurants in Riverside, San Marco and Jackonville Beach, is known for its deli-style sandwiches, German-influenced entrees, soups, salads and sausages as well as desserts. |

Aloha Waffle Bar

Offering Hawaiian-style bubble waffles, Kona coffee and espresso as well as a variety of hand-crafted drinks, Aloha Waffle Bar opened April 24 at River City Marketplace at 725 Skymarks Drive. Bubble waffles are popular Hawaiian street food made in a special pan resembling an egg carton that produces the bubbles in the batter. |

Mr. Potato Spread 

Lakita and Aaron Spann, co-founders and owners of Mr.

Potato Spread, announced on April 4 that they plan to open their first stand-alone restaurant this year, at 840 Nautica Drive, Suite 117 at River City Marketplace. The restaurant specializes in gourmet stuffed potatoes, fries and tater tots. In addition to a food truck, the couple operates Mr. Potato Spread storefronts at Regency Square Mall and Orange Park Mall. |  

Bitty’s & Beau’s Coffee

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, a family-founded, multi-state coffeehouse dedicated to employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announced in April its plans to open its first Jacksonville restaurant in historic San Marco later this year. The coffeehouse will be at 1965 San Marco Blvd., the former site of Beach Diner, which closed permanently after being gutted by fire on Nov.

2, 2019. |

Cousins Maine Lobster

Cousins Maine Lobster, 630-14 Atlantic Blvd., in Neptune Beach abruptly closed after slightly more than three years in business The restaurant announced the closure April 21 and described it both as permanent and “until further notice.” The local franchise owner and corporate officials couldn’t be reached for comment. |

Pie95 Pizza

After five years on the road as a food truck, Pie95 opened on March 14  at 1510 King St. in Riverside. The restaurant specializes in wood-fired pizza made to order with fresh ingredients. It also serves meatballs, salads, wine and beer. |

Parlor Doughnuts

Parlor Doughnuts expects to open its first Northeast Florida location in May at 585 Florida 13, Suite 101 in Fruit Cove, which is in northwestern St.

Johns County. Known for its layered, craft doughnuts and coffee, the 3-year-old Evansville, Ind.-based craft doughnut and coffee concept will take over the former Twisted Compass Brewing Co. coffee shop. The owners of the Twisted Compass announced the change in a social media post in late March. |

Purple Roots Filipino Fare + Panaderia

After opening in late March, Purple Roots Filipino Fare + Panaderia continued to be booked out for weeks at its new restaurant at 4549 Southside Blvd. in Tinseltown Plaza. The family-owned and operated restaurant promises authentic Filipino cuisine from tried-and-true family recipes as well as an opportunity to explore the rich culture and warm hospitality of the island archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. |  

Vevetas Rum Bar + Tapas

Jacksonville Chef Richard Robinson of Pink Salt Restaurant + Wine Bar announced April 7 that he plans to open a new concept — Vevetas Rum Bar + Tapas. Adjacent to Pink Salt at 1430 San Marco Blvd. in San Marco, Vevetas will offer Caribbean tapas plus a large selection of rum and rum-based cocktails. |

Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders

Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders plans to open its second Jacksonville-area restaurant in mid-May at 10560 Old St.

Augustine Road in Mandarin, the franchise owner said on April 13. The first debuted in October at Jacksonville Beach. Both are among a half-dozen planned for Duval County, franchise owner Michael Phillips said. |

Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine

Much anticipated Blue Orchid Thai Cuisine opened its second Jacksonville restaurant on March 31 at 1551 Riverside Ave. next to Memorial Park in historic Riverside.

It joins the original restaurant at 13475 Atlantic Blvd. in Harbour Village. Blue Orchid is known for freshly sourced, authentic ingredients and the preparation of traditional Thai dishes. |

Empanada Llama

Empanada Llama, known for its Peruvian infused, freshly made from scratch savory and sweet empanadas, closed permanently on April 8 after about three years in business at 9965 San Jose Blvd. in Merchant’s Walk shopping center in Mandarin. The owner said on Facebook she needed to focus full-time on her family. 


Pieology Pizzeria closed one of its two pizzerias in Northeast Florida in early April. The build-your-own-pizza concept closed at the St. Johns Town Center, where it had operated since July 2016 at 4624 Town Crossing Drive, Unit 9. On April 5, Pieology was listed as permanently closed on its Facebook page but no reason was given. |

Times-Union writer Gary T.

Mills contributed to this report