Sbraga & Company, the newest restaurant from celebrated chef Kevin Sbraga, is officially open in Jacksonville, Florida. Located within a new riverfront urban park, Unity Plaza, the restaurant takes advantage of waterfront views and the communal spirit of the park in the historic Brooklyn neighborhood. The first official day of service was November 14.
A warm, sophisticated neighborhood restaurant and bar with interiors by Eimer Design, Sbraga & Company’s cuisine is a contemporary approach to the cultural influences of Northeast Florida. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven nights a week, along with weekend brunch.
This is the third restaurant for Chef Sbraga, chef-owner of Sbraga Dining and winner of Bravo's Top Chef: Season 7. Soon after taking home the title of Top Chef, Sbraga launched his modern American restaurant, Sbraga, in 2011, named one of Esquire's “Best New Restaurants” in 2012. His second restaurant, The Fat Ham, opened in 2013, serving small plates of Southern comfort food. At Sbraga & Company, Chef Sbraga oversees the menu, with Sbraga Dining’s Greg Garbacz running the kitchen as chef de cuisine.
With around half of the menu dedicated to heritage crops and grains, Chef Sbraga’s respect for the cultural influences of the region, the versatility of these ingredients, and his passion for progressive American culinary techniques are showcased.
“I have enjoyed building a menu with my team that celebrates the progression of the region's diverse cuisine through our raw bar and grill,” says Chef Sbraga. “We're eager to offer guests a return to the supper table, where they dine with us not only for the food but for our unparalleled hospitality and ambiance."
Inventive side dishes steal the show at Sbraga & Company. Spanish pickling methods in the Mushroom Escabeche with serrano chilies, yucca, carrots, and onions; Dirty Rice with Carolina gold rice, pork sausage, and mustard greens inspired by the traditions of the West African Gulla and Geechee; a nod to Native American culture with baby corn in the Hog & Hominy, alongside crispy pork, and cheese grits; interpretations of Southern classics like Fish Fry with shaved catfish, boiled shrimp, and crab fritter; the region’s fresh-off-the-dock, coastal seafood featured in Snapper Crudo with pickled strawberries, red onion, and jalapeño; and “Floribbean” (Floridian and Carribean) fruit in the Tropical with grapefruit curd and cardamom sugar all play a part in the region's story.
The raw bar features traditional ingredients in fresh combinations, as well as modern interpretation of a classic raw bar, such as Carrot Ceviche, served with orange honey habanero dressing, pumpkin seeds, and toasted rice. Daily house-made bread offerings include Southern staples like cornbread, angel biscuits, and beer bread.
Eimer Design, a Philadelphia-based firm also known for designing Sbraga and The Fat Ham, oversaw Sbraga & Company’s design. The aesthetic is refined, rustic, and familiar, celebrating the spirit of Southern hospitality. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide ample natural light. The space is versatile, with traditional dining in the main dining room, communal tables, a vibrant bar and lounge, enclosed private dining rooms, and al fresco dining options on a warm day or night. An exhibition kitchen encourages guests’ interaction and engagement with the chefs. Central to the space is a raw bar with additional seating. Wood floors create a warm and inviting backdrop for antique rugs and furnishings. Custom, nautical chandeliers with ropes woven around salvaged timbers, are a nod to the ocean-side setting of the city. Finishing touches include nostalgic accents like antique rugs, vintage photography of Jacksonville, and rolling pins and books, all personalizing the experience, lending warmth and a feeling of being home.
Guests can also sit and dine at Sbraga & Company’s lively bar, where cocktails incorporating house-made vermouth and shrubs and fresh, seasonal fruits and herbs are served; a selection of house-made punches and a modest, yet diverse menu of draught beers and wines by the glass, and a handpicked selection of wines by the bottle, complete the experience.
Meat, local seafood, and vegetables come off of the hearth of a 6-foot, wood fire grill.