Desert Rider Sandwich Shop

217 North Hogan Street

(Courtesy of Yelp)

A cousin of former mayor and current city council member Tommy Hazouri, Larry Hazouri opened his first Desert Rider Sandwich Shop in 1969 on East Forsyth Street. Two years later, he opened a second location on West Bay Street.

“My old sign out in front had a palm tree and a camel, kind of a Middle Eastern type. Pita bread was kind of a novelty then. There wasn’t a lot of pita bread being sold downtown in 1971,” Hazouri stated in a 2003 Jax Daily Record interview.

Later that decade, a third location opened on Hogan Street. Today, the Hogan Street location is the only Desert Rider Sandwich Shop still in operation. A hole in the wall with a vintage counter and bar stools, the downtown sandwich shop is best known for its breakfast bowls, namesake riders, homemade soups, dressings, and special made “Desert Rider sauce.”

Hala’s Mideast Eatery And Market

4323 University Boulevard South

The story of Hala’s Mideast Eatery and Market began with the establishment of Hala Cafe & Bakery by Zohair Mardini in 1975. Hala would be taken to the next level when brothers Fahed and Asad Owais joined the business, expanding operations to include five locations and a wholesale division. Today, Hala Cafe & Bakery lives on in its original University Boulevard location as Hala’s Mideast Eatery and Market, remaining a popular place for its shawarma platters, falafel and other Mediterranean entrees. It sells its own pita bread and other Middle Eastern wares in the adjacent market.

Joseph’s Pizza

7316 Main St North (Original location)

Serving pizza, classic Italian dishes, grinding its own sausages and featuring an in-store bakery that bakes bread daily, Joseph’s Pizza is Jacksonville’s oldest pizzeria. Established in 1956, the restaurant was purchased by Joseph Batah, after his arrival in town from California. Making fresh bread and dough daily, Joseph’s greatest thrill was watching the smiling faces of people enjoying the flavor of his hard work. According to Joseph, “Cooking is something special when it’s in your soul. Otherwise, there’s an ingredient missing.” Remaining in the family and now women owned, Joseph’s Pizza uses the same recipes from the 1950s, at its original Panama Park location and another in Atlantic Beach.

Pinegrove Market and Deli

1511 Pinegrove Avenue

(Courtesy of Pinegrove Market and Deli)

One of Jacksonville’s last old fashioned independent butchers, Pinegrove Market and Deli is a full-service meat counter and sandwich shop in Avondale. Once a grocery store on State Street operated by Joseph Bajalia, the local institution moved the store to its current, larger location on Pinegrove Avenue in June 1969. The family began to focus only on selling meats and sandwiches, and Pinegrove became an award winning neighborhood icon thanks to its quality meats and dishes like homemade tabouli and hand-ground burgers.