Marilyn Craig said she wants to open at 311 W. Ashley St. in February.
Seafood runs in the family for restaurateur Marilyn Craig.
Her grandfather was a commercial fisherman in Mayport, her great-grandfather was the first African American to own a seafood distribution company there and her brother is a commercial shrimper.
So when Craig decided to leave a job as a financial aid adviser and start a restaurant, it made sense to combine her joy of cooking with her family’s passion for seafood.
“Seafood is all I know,” she said. “I can’t get out there and fish the boat. So I’ll just do the other end of it and start a restaurant.”
Craig plans to open Greedy Spoon at 311 W. Ashley St. Downtown by early February. She expects to invest about $50,000 to open the restaurant.
Menu items include shrimp, crab and fish po’boys, shrimp rolls, shrimp salad, garlic crab trays, fried seafood dinners and a seafood platter. For nonseafood eaters, there will be chicken and fries.
Customers also can choose a fresh fish out of the cold storage case and it can be fried on the spot. There also will be grab-and-go options.
Prices range from $5.99 for a 6-inch fish po’boy to $32 for a garlic crab tray, which can feed several people.
She plans to open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. serving lunch and dinner. Greedy Spoon will offer dine-in, delivery, to-go and curbside pickup.
There are 24 seats inside.
The Jacksonville native said she will source the seafood from a distributor in Brunswick, Georgia; Safe Harbor Seafood owner Gerald Pack in Mayport; and her brother’s shrimp boat, which sails around Florida and the East Coast.
Craig, 49, her mother, son and two more employees will staff the restaurant.
She ran a similar restaurant several years ago in Virginia. She said she won a business grant competition and opened but was “just learning” how to run a business and made a few mistakes in choosing a location and negotiating a lease.
“I did it for a few years and loved it,” Craig said. “The food was awesome, I got rave reviews about the food.”
The West Ashley Street location is on the ground floor of the City Place condominiums near the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and First Baptist Church. It’s also down the street from redevelopment planned for the North Core. It’s next door to the former Grenville Kitchen space.
“I liked the idea of having customers above me already,” she said. “I didn’t see many seafood restaurants down here.”
As for the restaurant’s name, Craig’s friend suggested it. He used to run a food stand where every day the same man would walk by to ask when he would open his “greedy spoon.”
He was trying to say “greasy spoon,” but often mispronounced it.
She brought Greedy Spoon to her family and they all agreed it was the best name.
Craig said she knows running a restaurant is hard work. After holding corporate jobs throughout her life, she always returned to cooking.
“I figured if I’m doing something that is taking all of my time and I’m exhausted, but then at the end of the day, I’m still happy and I’m smiling because I love doing it, that’s what I need to do from here on out,” Craig said.