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.
It was a sunny Saturday in June 1925 when the Florida beachside town was officially christened "Jacksonville Beach" and the elegant Casa Marina Hotel opened its doors for the first time. To celebrate, locals spent the night dancing and dining within its stucco Spanish-style walls, frolicking throughout its grand patios and lofty halls as the sun set over the adjacent ocean. Over the years, the hotel would house a variety of prestigious clientele—including John D. Rockefeller, President Truman, and Charlie Chaplin—who were drawn to the area for its boardwalk, its pristine beaches, and its hidden elevator to the center of the earth.
Nearly a century later, the historic hotel still stands, the original structure housing plush bedrooms and parlor sweets. Throughout the week, the restaurant opens its penthouse to diners, who can eat tapas and drink martinis as they gaze out over breathtaking views of the Florida coastline. In the kitchen, Chef Aaron Webb directs a kitchen crew as they whip up dishes in the style he dubs "New Beach cuisine," mixing local seafood with the traditions of Spanish cuisine and international flavors. Come Sunday, a champagne-brunch buffet sprawls across the dinning area, serving steaming platters of fresh seafood, roasted carvings, and gelatin molds of the town's most handsome bachelors. The hotel's renowned brunches and spectacular beach views have won the veneration of an abundance of media publications.
Britney Spears hurtles back into the earth’s stratosphere, pulling out all the stops, raising roofs, and dousing all of mankind’s melancholia in glitter and beatitude on her fiery Femme Fatale tour. From Mouseketeer to multifaceted entertainer, Britney Spears has seared dance floors throughout her career with infectious sonic shrapnel while soothing countless ears scarred by the sound of exploding chalkboards. Unleashing fresh cuts dripping with danceable dubstep beats and tireless techno melodies, the Femme Fatale tour shares its stagecoach with a lineup of glam girl-powered acts. Spunky electropop outfit Jessie and the Toy Boys and the feisty twisted-sister duo of NERVO round out a night stuffed with golden vocals, brick-thick beats, and floor-shaking choreography that will undoubtedly awaken the arena’s downstairs neighbors.
Even though Perry Farrell coined the phrase “Alternative Nation,” invented the Lollapalooza concert series, and played midwife to the genre of modern rock in the 1990s, his musical powers are even more attuned in 2012. Jane’s Addiction, composed of frontman Farrell, guitar wizard Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins, and Chris Chaney on bass, could be Florida retirees betting on games of shuffleboard and coasting off the success of seminal albums such as Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual. Instead, the band lets its freak flag fly with its latest album, The Great Escape Artist and its subsequent Theatre of the Escapists tour.
Tired of the vulgar material found at most venues, the owners of the Comedy Club of Jacksonville open their stage to comedians without mile-long blue streaks. The club rates each standup on a G–R scale, with most comics falling under PG-13 language or soft-R content. This thoughtfulness even extends to the kitchen, where the proprietors try to avoid fried foods in favor of a char-broiler that fires up tasty kabobs and provides ashes for applying funny fake mustaches.
Multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter and his signature electric blonde locks saw widespread success in the ‘70s as part of the Edgar Winter Group, releasing infectious hits such as “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride,” which dared to blur the boundaries of rock, blue-eyed soul, jazz, and blues. The prolific songwriter continues to build upon his musical legacy as the frontman of the Edgar Winter Band, performing four decades’ worth of beloved classics and recent songs spanning 19 live and studio albums. With a keyboard lofted by a star-studded strap around his shoulders, the talent musician’s key-tapping explores a wide spectrum of tones before he picks up his saxophone for breakdown solos. Also an exceptional singer, Winter stretches his formidable pipes during the bluesy “Tobacco Road,” holding his mournful notes for seemingly impossible lengths thanks to his vestigial third lung. Openers Flat Black pave the way for Winter’s sonic explorations with their own brand of rock ‘n’ roll, staking their claim on the intimate stage of Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, which was recently constructed out of a former church.
Every morning at Gigi's Restaurant, the kitchen gets busy scrambling eggs, frying potatoes, and simmering gravy for its weeklong breakfast buffet. On Sundays at 11 a.m., the Blue Jean Brunch—where people are welcome to wear jeans, not put them in their salads—witness diners grazing on made-to-order omelets, fluffy belgian waffles, fried chicken and waffles, and ice-cream sundaes of their own creation. For those who want to stuff themselves in the evening, the chef emerges from his cave underneath the kitchen on Friday and Saturday nights to carve slices of fresh prime rib, which pair well with steamed crab legs and a vast dessert selection.