The Bread & Board Coming To Five Points

December 12, 2016

Portland bistro owners expanding into Jacksonville, choosing to locate in Five Points over Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC. Owners hope to be catalyst for sparking redevelopment opportunities along often overlooked Oak Street.

What led you to Jacksonville, and how did you settle on the former Richards sandwich shop tucked away behind the main strip on Five Points?

We had been considering a move out of Portland for about a year prior to signing our lease, and had looked seriously at both Jacksonville and Asheville, NC, which we really love and where we have a few friends in the industry. The scene there is pretty explosive but also very community based and similar to PDX in many aspects. And our friends and family in Greenville, SC did their best to recruit us.

I grew up in Orange Park (OPHS class of 1990), and during my years at FSU, my parents relocated to the river in Mandarin where they have been for twenty years, and we had settled 9 or 10 streets from them ourselves. After a few visits to both cities over the course of that year, the family pull grew stronger-- and not surprisingly having been cooking on the West Coast since 1997 (and in our industry never around for birthdays, holiday, graduations etc). For the most part, it just seemed the right time and thing to do at our ages-- and having had some decent successes and wanting to set out some new challenges for ourselves.

And as cliche as it seems, once you reconcile what you want, what you need seems to fall in to place. With the help of some friends here in JAX, players in the real estate market and commercial leasing, we just started getting bombarded with potential locations from St. Augustine to the Northside and pretty much everywhere they could see us "transplants" fitting in with the concept we were developing. Lisa Thomas, a high school friend and long time JAX resident (and fellow entrepreneur and marketing specialist at ASHCO Commercial Developers) sent us listing after listing (and not all hers). She was key in making introductions to proper owners-- ultimately leading us to meeting Steve Williams, at Harbinger Signs, who is our new landlord.

He had recently purchased the Richard's Sandwich Shop property, and with much excitement put out a kind-of social media cattle call, like "who needs to be in this space?"  At that point, he had already, like Lisa, taken to sending us the down and dirty on the neighborhoods, and always with excitement and a "can you imagine how cool this neighborhood can be?" attitude. He toured us, and filled us in on history of the neighborhoods, and the many folks who like him, saw the City stepping up as a food town and as a regional business and vacation destination. He showed us how JAX had grown well beyond my high school and college year's experiences. The excitement really swayed us-- and so we answered his cattle call, with "Us!"

We come from a very dense PDX, with Urban Growth Boundaries and phenomenal pedestrian friendly systems, and biking, and things that have kept people shopping and eating in the boroughs like 5 Points and San Marco and Murray Hill. The fact that we were behind Park Street was AWESOME for us, because we felt we could help "activate" that street, and Richard's had already made an impressive 30 year run at the location. We looked at those things when shopping our options. And we were a stand alone building which has allowed us to get a little more creative with our design. Our store backs directly up to Alewife and the new Hoptinger and now Crane Ramen which all have entrances next to our building (and it's our goal is to have some common alley gathering spaces while also maintaining our own individual outdoor or rooftop dining spaces).

Eventually, all four establishments pictured here hope to share a common area behind each building that seamlessly connects businesses located on both Park and Oak Streets.

And like Portland, we are confident that when the storefronts are filled on the main drags in key or up-and-coming areas here in JAX, any commercial space within a stones throw becomes valuable. To be a key destination location, restaurants or retail, you need density (and of course, the systems to support that).

Tell us a little about the menu. What can future customers expect to see when they walk through the doors?

Elaborating a little more on one of the above questions (or answers), the menu will be approachable and easy to understand and navigate. We'll have both printed versions and hanging menu boards a la chalkboard-style (but well designed), and will feature two columns of our sandwiches and boards, a hearty entree salad section, a few rotating specialty entrees and hot vegetable sides, and of course daily soups and breads. Jonathan is a great baker and will create an always changing "sweets" section, limited and smaller portions (killer brownies, custards, puff pastries etc).

Kale salad and turkey sandwich from BOXED Bistro & Catering. Image Credit: Yelp user Adriana D

Our 7' salad case, set between the two order stations, holds up to 15 unique sides and side salads that can be ordered on their own, as a sampler platter with bread (3-5 choices), or as a $1-$2 upgrade to the field green salad or house rosemary potato chips that is served automatically with the sandwiches (boards do not include sides). We have been developing these sides for years in our Portland deli, but intend on continuing to create and get inspired by the local produce, specialty meats and cheeses, Florida seasonality and whim; the later part we bring to the kitchen everyday. We encourage our cooks to research, get excited about new ingredients and techniques, and play around with new ideas-- the stuff that runs through our heads right before bed!

Brioche fresh from the ovens of BOXED Bistro & Catering. Image Credit: BOXED.

The food is based on our love for regional American foods, but also our international travels, nearly twenty years cooking with ingredients in the PacNW, and of course our joint Southern roots.  An amazing Italian-style Cured Meat Sandwich or Board will sit comfortably next to Southern Fried Chicken with "Blue-Pimiento" and Rocket Greens, and a Javanese Salmon Bahn Mi. We do source unique spices and ingredients, and from a cooking standpoint, we add a lot of technique to the dishes. But that's only mentioned or pointed out when it makes sense to do so on the menu. Anyone comfortable in a local pub, steakhouse, the farmers market or Thai restaurant will feel comfortable navigating the menu. It's just a "fancy" sandwich shop after all.

Thanksgiving dinner on a sandwich, with gravy for dipping from BOXED Bistro & Catering. Image Credit: Yelp user Ryan B

Our portions are historically, and ridiculously, generous which makes the Boards, with a side or two, a hearty meal for two guests.

At least three times a year, the menu line-up rotates and a new 10 sandwiches roll out. Favorites ALWAYS return!

Our daily specials are geared to the folks who won't always want a sandwich meal, and might range from crispy Korean-style Lemongrass Baby Back Ribs (one of our specialties) to Apple Wood Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf & Whipped Potatoes, to Sage Gnocchi with Roasted Yams.

We will feature 10-15 domestic wines by the bottle and glass, of all varietals and styles, as well as craft draft and bottled beer to compliment the foods. House infused teas and coolers, Stumptown Coffee, and assorted natural sodas will round out the beverages.

Next: A Look At The Forward-Thinking Architectural Renderings Of The Bread & Board

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