Chef Scott Schwartz announced more details Monday about El Jefe, a Tex-Mex restaurant he intends to open this fall in the West Jacksonville neighborhood of Murray Hill.
Schwartz, owner of the 29 South Restaurant in Fernandina Beach, said in a news release he will set up El Jefe at 947 Edgewood Ave. S.
Satilla Inc., owned by Schwartz’s partner Brad Walters, will lead the construction and Rob and Kassia Zinn of OAD, which is Office of Architecture and Design, will design the project.
Schwartz described El Jefe as an affordable and casual Tex-Mex concept “dedicated to celebrating the diverse cuisines of America’s southwestern borderlands.”
The menu will include classics like wood-grilled skirt steak fajitas, San Antonio puffy tacos, Texas-style chili con queso and traditional tamales, he said.
El Jefe also will have a full bar with a focus on traditional margaritas, tequila and mescal.
“Everything will be made from scratch, from the tortillas to the margaritas,” Schwartz said.
He sees historic Murray Hill as a neighborhood where merchants and residents care about its future and have set it up for success.
“It has sat in the shadows of Riverside and Avondale and is now ready to explode,” Schwartz said.
He said the atmosphere at El Jefe will be family-friendly and designed to reflect the rustic borderland Tex-Mex culture.
He said the venture is a way to step out his comfort zone with food “I truly love.”
He has been working on menu development with 29 South Chef de Cuisine Jose Salome.
The proposed 158-seat full-service restaurant is planned in about 4,000 square feet facing Edgewood Avenue in the former Curry Thomas Hardware building, according to documents and the landlord.
Property owner Glocal Lee LLC, which will remain the landlord, has applied for a zoning exception to serve alcohol outside; a waiver to reduce the required minimum distance between a liquor license location and a church or school; and an administrative deviation to reduce the number of required off-street parking spaces from 45 to 35 in a shared lot.
Schwartz and Walters also are among the group behind Bullbriar Restaurant LLC, which proposes to operate in the Marble Bank building Downtown after it is renovated.