The Gourmet Grouper was born out of a fruitful business partnership between veteran seafood-market owners John Shuler and Jason Arteaga, along with Christina Monas. The three set out to create a curated supermarket utterly unlike mega-groceries—one that could provide shoppers with a tailored selection of high-quality meats, seafood, and drinks from both distant climes and local markets. "We wanted to build a grocery store that we would like to shop at," John told the Beaches Leader. Along with his childhood friend and business partner, Jason, he procures gourmet goods from his network of local and worldwide farmers, fishers, and food artisans. The result is a smorgasbord of upscale groceries that tempt shoppers with fine cheeses, dry-aged Montana beef, Gulf stone crabs, and Louisiana crawfish. The goods are ideal for planning an elegant dinner party. Seasonal potatoes and vegetables can accompany lobster tails or Chilean sea-bass filets alongside craft beers and fine wines. The market even has artisanal snacking covered with gourmet pickles crafted by local picklesmith Tim Baker, who locks the fresh veggies' flavor into delicious stasis with careful brining and mild witchcraft.
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Substituting fat for more healthful probiotics, Yobe refreshes taste buds with guilt-free spoonfuls of all-natural self-serve yogurt. Made with organic milk, real fruit, and no artificial sweeteners, each ounce of yogurt packs just 25 calories, letting diet-conscious taste-testers engorge stomachs while tightening belts. The shops' soft-serve machines dish out 31 classic and exotic flavors such as açaí berry, passion fruit, lychee, and vanilla ($0.49/oz). After piling bowls high with toppings, such as fresh banana, kiwi, pineapple, or m&ms, cookie dough, or peanut-butter cups, tone-deaf taste buds find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
Grass Roots Natural Market in the Riverside section of the city is a brother-owned answer to finding natural, organic and fresh produce and naturally-sourced goods in Jacksonville. The 4,500 square foot space makes the most of every inch, with homemade takeaway food, craft beers, organic wines, freshly squeezed juices and more. Dedicated to local vendors, farms, dairies and companies for everything from meats to cheese to produce to milk, Grassroots Natural Market ensures customers have the optimal experience in healthy eating and natural and locally-sourced choices. With brick walls, exposed metal beams overhead, an open airy produce market, a smoothie bar and well-stocked shelves, Grassroots Natural Market is as much a pleasure to shop in as the products themselves are to eat. There’s even patio seating for takeaway food and a large selection of vegetarian, vegan and whole food options that make for a great quick lunch.
With its checkered tiled floor, glass counter and overhead chalkboard menu, Pinegrove Market & Deli is a local institution serving up deli food for over 40 years. This modest space is known primarily for their burgers, which are fresh-ground directly from the butcher, while steaks are dry-aged in-house for quality that rivals top steakhouses. Pinegrove also offers Cuban sandwiches, reubens, New York pastrami and a touch of Middle Eastern flavors, from tabbouleh to hummus. Portions often feed two or three, or make excellent leftovers for a next-day feast. With indoor and outdoor seating, the only thing that gives away their greatness is the amount of cars in the parking lot.