The Newest Businesses Opening Along Murray Hill’s Commercial District

From 2013-2016, Edgewood saw many new businesses open as both local and nationwide economic conditions improved. That small business growth is still strong today. Here is a look at the newest businesses presently under construction in Murray Hill.

Jeux De Jax / The Annex

Veteran King Street entrepreneur Regina Heffington is in the process of moving The Annex from King Street to the Theatre Block along Edgewood Avenue. The Annex is a casual craft beer and wine bar that also offers a lunch, dinner and late night breakfast menu.

Adjacent to The Annex will be the Jeux De Jax Comedy & Arts Café. The name Jeux De Jax is roughly translated in French as ‘Games of Jax’. The French name is a nod to one of the great cultural centers of the world, but also as an appreciation for Jacksonville’s French roots. The thematic concept revolves around historical gathering places/coffee shops during the Renaissance, which became the center of cultural discourse bringing a wide range of imaginative and creative people together in one space to exchange ideas.

Like King Street’s version of The Annex, Jeux De Jax will offer patrons a full range of board games, card games and table games. In addition to a slew of interactive games, Jeux De Jax will serve as a performance venue for poets, writers, painters, comedians, improve troupes and musicians.

La Cena

Italian fine dining restaurant La Cena is in the process of relocating from downtown into a new, 60-seat space at 911 Edgewood Avenue. The new location will feature two dining rooms and a glassed-in wine cellar integrated into the dining space.

Proprietor Jerry Moran originally opened the La Pasta Fresca restaurant in Orange Park in 1983. In 2001, he opened La Cena in the historic Elks Building downtown- first operating as a bakery and panini shop, then reorganizing a year later to a fine-dining, dinner-only format.

The French Pantry

After a career that included working for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, Tim and Barbara Felver opened a small bakery in a former tv repair shop called the French Pantry off Powers Ave in 1995. In the beginning, nearby high school students would stop by on the way home from school and ask the Felvers to make them a sandwich. Word quickly spread about the fantastic, yet relatively inexpensive collection of sandwiches, bruschetta, warm French breads and delectable deserts found at this small 46-seat bakery. Soon, customers began lining the block often waiting over an hour for the chance to eat lunch.

In 2015, John Valentino purchased the French Pantry from the Felvers and will begin construction of a second location to be housed in the former Edgewood Bakery building at the corner of Edgewood and Post. Valentino owns five Mellow Mushroom franchises locally, along with a controlling interest in Uptown Kitchen and Bar and Burrito Gallery- which has recently expanded with multiple locations. Not only will the new Murray Hill location offer more seating, it will also offer dinner service. The opening of French Pantry in late 2017 will bring instant foot traffic to Edgewood Avenue from locals and tourists alike.

Pinky Toes Day Spa

Melissa Barton is in the process of opening Pinky Toes Day Spa adjacent to Mockshop Music Exchange. The new space will offer nail, wax and reflexology services.