Ida Claire, South of Ordinary — the much-anticipated restaurant with a funny name and an Airstream trailer dining area — is bringing its first Florida restaurant to Jacksonville on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Billed as “an intriguing, Southern-inspired destination for relaxing suppers, slow weekend brunching or a meeting hub for business lunches and happy hour,” the restaurant offering a twist on Southern favorites is set to open at the former Mimi’s Cafe in St. Johns Town Center.
Mimi’s, one of the Town Center’s original destination restaurants, closed earlier this year after a 14-year run. In 2005, it joined the Cheesecake Factory, Maggiano’s Little Italy, P.F. Chang’s, Ted’s Montana Grill and others. All except Ted’s were the first and only locations of their respective chains in the Jacksonville area.
Texas-based Ida Claire bought the 7,500-square-foot restaurant for $2.7 million and is in the middle of a $1.8 million renovation of the space, according to a city building permit.
One of the unique features of the restaurant will be a 15-seat Airstream trailer for private dining or lounge seating on the outdoor patio.
But the real star promises to be Ida Claire’s menu.
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Ida Claire is known for fine Southern fare as well as specialty cocktails.
“We love Jacksonville’s mix of diverse people as well as palates,” said Steve Shlemon, chief executive officer of Whiskey Cake Holdings, which includes Ida Claire. “Our laid-back style and fun twist on Southern favorites will be a nice addition to an already growing and vibrant restaurant scene.”
And that includes weekend brunch, described by Shelmon as “a big part of the Ida Claire experience.”
The Jacksonville restaurant will feature the same menu as the original Ida Claire in Addison, Texas — including chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, the Five Napkin sloppy Joe sandwich and Nashville hot chicken.
Other favorites include pimento cheese dip with sweet potato chips; crawfish corn beignets; Nashville cauliflower, which is lightly smoked, fried crisp and served with house pickles and buttermilk dressing; wood grilled redfish; and a Low Country breakfast comprised of bone-in ham steak, eggs, biscuits and black pepper gravy, skillet potatoes and seasonal fruit.
The pending opening of the restaurant follows two years of explosive growth in the Town Center area, including the openings of more than 20 restaurants at neighboring The Strand at Town Center and Town Center Promenade, including Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Chuy’s, Firebird’s, Fogo de Chao and other newcomers to the Jacksonville market.