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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Aug. 14, 200712:00 PM EST

Week-long food event to showcase restaurants, urban experience

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

One of the few things all people have in common is eating, whether it’s merely for sustenance or as a celebration of food, family and friends.

That idea has inspired Downtown Vision, Inc, to partner with 15 restaurants on the Northbank and Southbank to present the inaugural “Eat Up Downtown!” Aug. 20-26. Each of the eateries has developed a prix fixe bill of fare for the week-long event that will offer a three-course meal for $25 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Pamela Elms, DVI’s director of marketing, said the organization has been planning the event and getting restaurants on board for two months. She believes Downtown offers an experience as a dining destination that is found nowhere else in North Florida.

“We have so many new restaurants and this is the only area in Jacksonville where you can have dinner on the river and choose from such a wide selection of cuisine,” she said.

The variety of selections offered by the participating restaurants runs the gamut from haute cuisine to chicken wings and everything in between.

“We want consumers to be able to experience the wide range of food and the unique ambiance offered by each restaurant. We didn’t want to have any limits because everyone has a different palette and since the event lasts a week, we expect many people will take advantage of the offer at more than one venue and on more than one night. It’s all about celebrating Downtown,” said Elms.

Diners will be able to fill out comment cards that DVI will use to gauge their response to the event and enter them into a drawing for tickets to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and events at the Florida Theatre.

“We realize that since this is a first-time event for Jacksonville, we have a learning curve. We’re looking to grow the event in the future and it might be a catalyst to get even more restaurants Downtown to open for dinner. We’re also expecting some residual effects since it is an opportunity to discover all the things to do Downtown in addition to dining.

“There is so much to do Downtown. You can eat at one of the restaurants and then go to the Landing to hear a concert. The Museum of Contemporary Art (Jacksonville) is showing movies that week and the Florida Theatre has a Sunday matinee. People could come Downtown for dinner and then stay and take a walk along the river or go somewhere for a drink afterwards. We think it’s a great way for people to come here and discover many of the things Downtown has to offer,” said Elms.

Elms also said diners won’t have to pay for on-street parking at meters after 5 p.m. and the parking garage on Duval Street near the Main Library will be open free of charge each night during the event.

Eat Up Downtown!

participating restaurants:

Benny’s Steak and Seafood The Landing 301-1014
Bourbon Bayou The Landing 674-6715
Cafe Nola at MOCA 333 N. Laura St. 359-5785
Chew 117 W. Adams St. 355-3793
Hooters The Landing 356-5400
Juliette’s Bistro Omni Hotel 355-6664
Koja Sushi The Landing 350-9911
Plaza III Steakhouse Hyatt Hotel 598-0234
River City Brewing Co. 835 Museum Circle 398-2299
Simon’s Wine Bar 1004 Hendricks Ave. 396-8088
Tastings 1515 Prudential Dr. 346-0605
The Twisted Martini The Landing 353-8464
Trellises Hyatt Hotel 634-4540
Vito’s Italian Cafe The Landing 355-3002
The Wine Cellar 1314 Prudential Dr. 398-8989

For menus and more information, visit www.EatUpDowtown.com or call 451-3344. Reservations are suggested.

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