Jumpin’ Jax House of Food closes Downtown, looks for new space

Owner Howdy Russell wants to reopen “ASAP” in the central city or Gateway Jax area.

The Jumpin’ Jax House of Food at 20 W. Adams St. Downtown closed March 30.
The Jumpin’ Jax House of Food at 20 W. Adams St. Downtown closed March 30.
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After operating for four years, Jumpin’ Jax House of Food closed at 20 W. Adams St. Downtown at 2 p.m. March 30.

Owner Howland “Howdy” Russell said March 30 he intends to reopen in a few weeks in another Downtown location in the central city or the Gateway Jax area of the North Core.

“We’re looking through some opportunities with nothing signed yet,” he said by email.

Asked for an anticipated date, he said “ASAP.”

Jumpin’ Jax sells burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken, pizza, salads, wraps and sides.

Russell said a delayed payout of the COVID Employee Retention Credit disbursement spurred the decision,

“We submitted our paperwork and it was accepted by the IRS over 18 months ago,” Russell said.

He said he has worked with U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean’s office and the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service.

“They have confirmed that we are simply waiting on the IRS (to) send the checks,” he said.

Howland “Howdy” Russell said March 30 he closed the Downtown Jumpin’ Jax House of Food at 20 W. Adams St. and intends to reopen “ASAP” at another location.
Special to the Daily Record

He expects a more than six-figure disbursement.

“But, others could not wait and we agreed to leave the space,” he said.

He subleases the ground-floor Downtown space from Florida State College at Jacksonville.

He opened Downtown on Jan. 6, 2020.

FSCJ had operated the 20West Cafe training restaurant from April 2018 to June 2019, closing it because it wasn’t performing financially. 

It then subleased the restaurant space to Jumpin’ Jax House of Food

“Sales and general business at both locations has been very good and strong,” Russell said of the Downtown restaurant and the Butler Plaza location at 4887 Belfort Road. That opened in March 2023.

The entrance to Jumpin’ Jax House of Food along Adams St.

Russell said he is looking for about 2,700 square feet of space, less than the current Downtown restaurant of 5,200 square feet.

The current space has a large kitchen that was built for its initial use as a culinary training restaurant for FSCJ students.

Russell said the 10 employees will move to the new restaurant.

He said hours will be based on demand, but will be at least the hours now.

Those are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

The Downtown Jumpin' Jax House of Food in 2020 shortly after reopening after the coronavirus shutdown.

Russell opened the Belfort Road restaurant after closing larger neighborhood restaurants in Atlantic Beach and Mandarin in late 2021 and 2022 that served lunch and dinner on weekdays and weekends.

Russell called it a “pretty big strategic shift.”

“We are still feeling the effects of everything COVID from the past two years,” he said after opening along Belfort Road.



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