Wine ~ Spirits ~ Food
“Matching Wine with People for Over 40 Years”
The force behind Royal Palm and Riverside Liquors, David Joudi recently relocated his Riverside operation from its Five Points location to 6,700 square feet of space at 1251 King Street. The new location is significantly larger, and the additional space has allowed Joudi the opportunity to begin offering food, as is done at Royal Palm Village Wine & Tapas, which he opened in Atlantic Beach in 2011.
Beyond the cheese plate and charcuterie that has become a mainstay at many local spots, the yet-to-be-named food operation at Riverside Liquors is in the process of rolling out a complete menu of tapas and small plates, which are served in the dining area immediately behind the retail store. In addition, there is a full bar in a separate area.
As for the food, some items created during the initial phase of development have earned a place on the menu, some may be reworked or replaced altogether as the concept comes together.
Deviled Eggs, the darlings of many starter menus, gain richness from house-made bacon and scallions, and are punctured with crispy shards of chicken skins.
Nothing is deep-fried here, so don’t expect the typical Southern style Chicken-n-Waffle. Instead, a soft mound of braised pulled dark meat chicken is piled on a waffle and moistened with a sweet chili syrup. It’s an understated version of the neoclassic dish.
Another offering that transcends its Southern roots is the Shrimp and Grits, creamy and cheesy, with a slightly acidic note from the barbecue shrimp jus.
Simply elegant Beef Carpaccio, thinly sliced from Florida grown Seminole Beef strip steak, is topped with a salt cured egg yolk. The yolk, a buttery, salty delight, and the richness of the beef contrast pleasantly with the peppery arugula and a light drizzle of chili oil. House made whole wheat focaccia points are presented with the dish, but in the casual atmosphere, we readily succumb to our primal instincts to eat with our bare hands. The paper thin leaves of bright red meat melt in the mouth.
Soups, salads, a New York strip steak and a trio of dessert options round out the menu during our visit.
Wine is available for purchase by the bottle in the retail store, and can be enjoyed with your meal for a $10 corkage fee. Several by the glass options are available through the bar, but the list varies. Craft brews are also on tap.
Riverside Liquors enjoys a storied reputation as one of Jacksonville’s premier wine shops. Original owners Cas and his son Bob Merendino operated from 1966 – 1985 as Riverside Lounge, with a jazz club tucked away inside the store. The younger Merendino became an agent of change in Jacksonville’s wine culture, convincing distributors to provide fine wines, and enlightening patrons to the beauty of wine. Many local private cellars owe a debt of gratitude to Bob, who wrote articles on wine for the local newspaper, and hosted local radio and television shows on the subject. In 1992, the store was sold to the Kincaid family, but Bob remained. In December of 2001, after more than twenty years in the wholesale wine and spirits industry and as one of Riverside’s many salesmen and sales managers, David Joudi purchased the store. He continues Bob’s legacy of educating and delighting customers with its great selection of fine wines and more.
Riverside Liquors, 1251 King Street, 356-4517.
Mon.–Wed. 10–9; Thurs.–Sat. 10–10.
Article written by Nancy White
Get the Chef’s recipe for Beef Carpaccio here: Cinda’s Cellar Online
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