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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Nov. 30, 202105:00 AM EST

V Pizza in San Marco is expanding, moving down street

The restaurant will relocate from its first location along Hendricks Avenue to the former Knights of Columbus building.

V Pizza is expanding in San Marco with the lease of the closed former Knights of Columbus building at 1509 Hendricks Ave.

CEO Ryan O’Toole said Nov. 22 that V Pizza will renovate the space, which he said is larger than the building it now leases across the street at 1406 Hendricks Ave.

He said V Pizza and its Sidecar Jax cocktail bar use about 7,000 square feet and the new location is more than 8,000 square feet.

V Pizza CEO Ryan O’Toole

O’Toole said it would take at least a year to remodel the space. 

“We are still very much in the infancy of this whole process,” he said.

Jacksonville-based V Pizza launched its concept at the original San Marco location in spring 2014, O’Toole said the lease expires within 24 months.

V Pizza intends to convert the KC hall structure into a larger restaurant and space for V Pizza and Sidecar.

V Pizza now leases space at Hendricks Avenue and Nira Street.

O’Toole said the company has been leasing the KC hall since about August as it prepares to remodel it.

“We see the future value and we have to renovate and retrofit the building to our standards,” he said.

O’Toole said there is a significant amount of work needed to bring the building up to date. 

“It will be another year, but we took the opportunity to grab the building.”

The KC hall “gives us the opportunity to expand in a larger space but also gives us the ability to have some adjacency with another business.”

He said the site is on the same side of Hendricks Avenue as Aardwolf Brewing Co. at 1461 Hendricks Ave., separated by Cedar Street.

“We get closer to a companion type of business,” O’Toole said.

“Nothing goes better with beer than maybe pizza. It seems there is a natural synergy there.”

The project is strategic.

The parking lot at the closed former Knights of Columbus building at 1509 Hendricks Ave.

“It gets us further embedded within the San Marco community, which has been great for us, and the opportunity to offer more.”

O’Toole said the community has been supportive of V as well as its V for Victory nonprofit that was created to provide support to families affected by cancer. 

V Pizza has grown to 10 locations, including one to open soon in North Carolina.

O’Toole said seven are company restaurants and three are owned by franchising partners.

The seven Florida locations are in San Marco, Mandarin, Jacksonville Beach, Palm Valley, Fleming Island, Fernandina Beach and Gainesville.

The other three comprise one in St. Simons Island, Georgia, and in Cary and, coming soon, Raleigh, North Carolina.

An eighth Florida site is in development. O’Toole said V Pizza would break ground soon.

St. Johns County issued permits Nov. 4 for V Pizza to build a restaurant at a cost of $2.36 million and a catering/prep building at $600,000 at 5700 and 5704 U.S. 1 N. in St. Augustine.

V Pizza said the first V in San Marco was formerly a paint store. Records show it was built in 1958.

“It was an older building and it was industrial … there was no need to try and manufacture the look,” says

It says the building was industrial Little Italy. “V Pizza/SideCar was born.”

“While the back looks like the front and the front looks like the back….our main goal was to have the focus on the ovens, ingredients, people, and nothing else.”

It said it attempted to use the same decision process with all of its locations.

V Pizza says its Neapolitan pizza is a type that originated in Naples, Italy, “made from simple, all-natural ingredients.” 

V Pizza and its Sidecar Jax cocktail bar use about 7,000 square feet and the new location is more than 8,000 square feet.

Its ovens reach 900 degrees to finish a pizza in up to 90 seconds, it says.

The menu includes pizza, shareables, salads, sandwiches, calzones, strombolis, wood-fire roasted chicken wings, takeout family meals and more.

V Pizza is leasing the KC hall site from the Turner family, which owns several San Marco properties.

Worth Turner, the founder of Hollingsworth Showroom, bought the former Knights of Columbus building April 23 for $875,000.

“It’s because our family has been doing business in this area since 1942,” said Turner on April 26. 

In a previous news release, Turner said he bought the property at 1509 Hendricks Ave. through WBT Property LLC. Duval County property records show it was built in 1963.

Colliers Senior Director Matthew Clark represented WBT and the seller, Columbus Social Club Inc. 

Turner said he planned to redevelop the building, which the Duval County Property Appraiser says was built in 1963. It comprises about 8,300 square feet.

Turner said upon buying the property that he preferred a single tenant that was a local business, including retail or restaurant use.

He said Nov. 23 he looked forward to working with V Pizza to beautify the property.

He also commended the charity.

“I’m proud of all they have brought to the community with V for Victory,” Turner said.

The Knights of Columbus property was the gathering hall for the Catholic fraternal benefit society.

 Steve Lloyd, president of the Columbus Social Club, said April 26 the economic realities of the COVID pandemic “drastically limited our ability to generate rental income from the hall from March 2020 forward.”

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