Neighborhood café celebrates major milestone, family business

Neighborhood café celebrates major milestone, family business
Laurie, Sebastian, Alex and Tony Jarvis

In May 1998, Tony Jarvis opened the Cool Moose Café with the goal to deliver friendly service, excellent food and coffee to the Riverside neighborhood, and to share his love for the Red Sox and iconic moose (the namesake) throughout the café by way of décor and collectibles.

Two decades later, the family-run business has a breakfast and lunch following that extends far beyond the Park and King Streets area.

Cooking food for others was a huge leap for Jarvis, who holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in physiology. Instead, he came to Jacksonville with the intention of partnering in a bagel shop, but on his own the business grew, taking inspiration from television cooking shows. Opening, re-investment, the Park and King streetscape project, and the economic downturn were all factors that challenged Jarvis during the first 10 years, but he appreciates the benefits of having a neighborhood gathering place.

“You form relationships with people. I didn’t want to work in a little box and not get to see people,” said Jarvis. “I like that you can make personal, deep connections with customers.”

The restaurant, located at 2708 Park St. since it first opened its doors, offers catering and is also a frequent venue for events, such as the JaxByJax Literary Festival and the annual Claws for a Cause, a benefit for Memorial Park Association.

Jarvis, originally from York, Maine, and his wife, Laurie, who grew up in Orange Park, will celebrate the café’s 20th anniversary all year, giving away something special each month to say “thank you” to their loyal customers.

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