Enduring Favorites, Infusing Hospitality into Every Bite
By Laura Riggs
One of the hottest new restaurants in Jacksonville isn’t easy to find, parking is a challenge, and you may get stuck waiting for the dreaded San Marco train. Unless you actively seek out the opportunity to dine on unique flavors steeped in history, Bar Molino may never make it on your Resy list. Tucked away behind High Tide Burrito on Hendricks Avenue, this new concept is treating Jacksonville to old world Spanish tapas served with Southern hospitality. Although the restaurant opened in September, it is quickly becoming a staple in an expanding array of distinctive dining experiences that San Marco has to offer.
Having more than 50 years of combined experience, the owners understand how taxing that level of hospitality can be on the body, mind, and spirit. “By paying above average wages, offering health care at no cost, and encouraging time away for respite and travel, we hope to reciprocate that same level of generous care to our entire team,” Rogers explains. The group also makes sourcing ingredients locally a top priority. The restaurant procures as much of their produce from nearby farms as possible, and all meat must be humanely raised. “Not only is this more ethical, but it also enhances the quality of each dish,” says Head Chef Dustin Wigglesworth as he shares the recipe for Tortilla Española—a staple served in bodegas across Spain.
Bar Molino is the latest project from the newly formed Maple Lane Group, led by four partners (Alfred Young, Kurt Rogers, Vadim Akimenko, and Rob Roccapriore) from diverse backgrounds with a common mission to change the hospitality industry. By definition, hospitality is the “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests.” More simply, the practice of hospitality is the care of a stranger. This is a core belief practiced by the entire Bar Molino team, unmistakably felt by anyone who enters their establishment. Whether you are visiting for dinner, enjoying happy hour, grabbing a bottle of Rioja from the wine shop on your way home, or picking up items from the Swinerie—their charcuterie shop next door—the team aims to provide the utmost care so that guests leave happy.