Leaving the suburbs for Downtown: Midtown Deli & Café

Photos by Max Marbut - Chefs John Man, Joy Kosolkamolmas and co-owner DJ Keenan at Midtown Deli & Café on Forsyth Street.
Photos by Max Marbut - Chefs John Man, Joy Kosolkamolmas and co-owner DJ Keenan at Midtown Deli & Café on Forsyth Street.
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Following the example of EverBank and Baptist Health by moving Downtown, Midtown Deli & Cafe has relocated to the Jacksonville Bank Building in the former Southlight Gallery along Forsyth Street.

The restaurant opened on the Southside near Butler Boulevard and Philips Highway almost three years ago when the company’s partners discovered opportunities in North Florida and decided to leave Hawaii.

Moving the restaurant Downtown was another chance to take advantage of an opportunity, said co-owner DJ Keenan.

“We wanted to be in on the ground floor of Downtown’s redevelopment,” he said.

Midtown opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. Monday-Friday. With beer and wine on the menu, that’s an opportunity for a daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m.

“We’re still trying to figure out how we can fit in with our Downtown customers. A lot of people are telling us they like being able to stop in after they get off work and pick up something to take home for dinner,” Keenan said.

The restaurant’s menu has added quite a few new selections to the neighborhood’s choices.

Breakfast includes the traditional bacon, eggs and grits, plus French toast and eggs Benedict. Breakfast wraps are served with salsa and Midtown prepares six styles of omelets with ingredients such as pesto, cilantro, hummus and avocado.

The lunch menu features salads including Cobb and Greek, wraps, deli sandwiches and paninis.

“Jacksonville is a very interesting place. We’re seeing what people like to eat,” said John Man, one of the chefs at Midtown.

Keenan said everything on the menu has proved to be popular with patrons. Items might be a daily special one day and then later added to the menu if there’s enough positive response. The ginger teriyaki chicken sandwich with Hawaiian-style pickled carrots and cilantro is a former special that has become one of Midtown’s signature selections.

The restaurant also has a coffee and tea bar and Keenan said he’s expecting to install an espresso machine this week. Other plans include extended hours for First Wednesday Art Walk each month.

Midtown will deliver to an office with a $20 minimum order and Keenan said he’s working to develop the catering side of the business.

View the menu at midtowndelijacksonville.com.

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