When the sale of Maple Street Biscuit Company to breakfast behemoth Cracker Barrel was announced last month, we couldn’t help but feel a little sad.
To be clear, we’re certainly happy for the chain’s owners, who got a well-deserved payday for their hard work in building their brand. It’s just unfortunate to lose another local favorite to a national corporation.
The news came around four years after fellow local breakfast chain Metro Diner sold 100% of its intellectual property to ConSul Hospitality Group.
Obviously, there is nothing wrong with national chains; Jax has plenty of them. But when a local restaurant manages to spin off successfully into multiple locations, it’s hard not to root for them to stay local and to retain that “Jacksonville charm.”
In light of that, here are five examples of locally-owned restaurant chains that – at least for now – have continued to be owned and operated in Jacksonville.
Popular local Italian chain Al’s Pizza was founded in 1988 by Al Mansur, a New York-area transplant who came to Jax to start his own business.
Since launching over thirty years ago, Al’s has expanded to six area locations – plus one in St. Augustine. A seventh location in Mandarin closed around a year ago.
Mansur is also the mind behind Flying Iguana Taqueria & Tequila Bar in Neptune Beach and, most recently, Coop 303 Southern Bistro in Atlantic Beach. Coop 303 took over what was originally the first-ever Al’s location.
With over thirty years in Jax and an owner who is invested in the local community, Al’s is a fairly safe bet for remaining locally-owned.