JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- Former Homestead Restaurant chef Bo Johns announced he plans to be revive the Jacksonville Beach institution at a new location this summer, according to a report by our news partner, The Florida Times-Union.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and I was never able to get that building back because it went from different hands to different hands,” Johns said of the Homestead, a 1940s-era log cabin-style restaurant at 1712 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach, which is now Taco Lu Mexican restaurant.
Alpha Paynter built the pine log building as her home in 1934 before operating a boarding house and home for orphans. It was converted into a restaurant in 1947 and Paynter sold the building in 1962.
The Homestead Restaurant has gone through several owners including Carmen Macri and then his son Steve Macri who owned the establishment for 25 years.
The Homestead Restaurant was known for its copper-top bar where an upside-down margarita barber chair once stood. The menu boasted Southern classics such as fried chicken, okra, creamed peas and collard greens.
Johns, who worked at the Homestead Restaurant for 17 years, purchased a nearly 5,800-square-foot, two-level property at 904 Sixth Ave. S. in Jacksonville Beach with business partner, Hal Batoon.
“[The Homestead] was a great atmosphere and I’d like to bring some of that back,” Johns said.
The property was home to Parsons Seafood Restaurant, which closed last August following a more than 50-year run.
When Johns announced the news on the Jacksonville Beaches History Facebook page earlier this week, the post received more than 600 shares and over 100 comments.
“I loved it and it made me smile to see that,” he said of the social media buzz. “I’ve been hearing it for the past 20 years though so it wasn’t a big surprise.”
Johns said the menu will be identical to when former owner Steve Macri operated the restaurant.
“It will be the exact same menu,” he said, citing fried chicken, grouper fingers and blackened steak fingers as a few of the featured items.
The restaurant will boast at least 150 seats, Johns said, including an outdoor patio.
“We’re in the embryo stage of construction,” he said. “It looks good in there now and I’ve met with a general contractor who thinks he can knock it out in a couple of months.”
Johns is hoping to have the Homestead Restaurant up and running by June.
“If all goes well, it would be great to do that,” he said. “The whole community wants it too. They miss it.”