Local Folks: Sam and Kiley Efron

Local Folks: Sam and Kiley Efron
Sam and Kiley Efron in Jamaica, June 2022

Sam and Kiley Efron are the owners of San Marco’s multi-award-winning Italian restaurant, Taverna. Sam serves as executive chef, and Kiley as wine director. But these local folks aren’t only business owners and residents of the area; they are fervent fans.

Sam is a native of Jacksonville, a Mandarin High School graduate. He met Kiley Wynne, a California girl, in 2007 while they both were working in the restaurant industry of San Francisco. Soon afterwards, he brought her to the East Coast to visit his hometown. They were getting serious in their relationship, and they knew they wanted to open a restaurant together. They sensed that they could build something of their own here. “It’s a city of opportunity,” Kiley said of Jacksonville.

Kiley grew up in a historic area of San Francisco Bay. When she saw San Marco for the first time, she felt an immediate connection. If they were going to live in Jacksonville, Kiley told Sam, she knew it had to be in San Marco because it felt like home to her. They moved soon after, married in 2008, and opened Taverna in 2009.

Of the 15 years that Sam and Kiley have lived in Jacksonville, 13 of them have been spent in various homes throughout the greater San Marco area. Last year, after selling their Lakewood home on San Jose Boulevard West, they bought their current house in Point La Vista, a San Marco neighborhood next to Granada Boulevard. The extended process of remodeling was much too large a task to take on while running a restaurant, so they hired contractors to paint walls, replace countertops, and refurbish bathrooms. New furnishings were purchased as well. “From start to finish,” Kiley said of the project.

In addition to being a restaurateur, Kiley is a yoga instructor who leads a weekly class at Power Yoga San Marco South. She also offers private yoga instruction along with breath work and meditation. These are practices that have helped Kiley deal with stress and anxiety for over two decades.

The Efrons outside their Point La Vista home, November 2021
The Efrons outside their Point La Vista home, November 2021

At home, Sam and Kiley are Dad and Mom to 10-year-old Dillon and 7-year-old Brody. With two young boys, there are activities “every single day” the couple said simultaneously.

As a family, the Efrons most enjoy swimming. They have a pool at their home and enjoy the local shore too. Atlantic Beach and Ponte Vedra are two of their top picks. They also like to travel. “We love the beach. So, we typically tend to take beach vacations,” Kiley said. Hilton Head is an annual favorite.

“We live in a really great neighborhood that has a lot of young families, so we do things here as well,” Kiley said. Those activities include biking together. “Well, right now it’s a little hot for that though,” she admitted. As a yearly ritual, Sam and his buddies charter a boat out of St. Augustine and go deep sea fishing. “I like to golf, too, when I get the chance,” he said.

“We love Jacksonville. We love San Marco. We love our neighbors. It’s a great place to raise a family and own a business,” Sam said.

“It’s always where we’ve felt the most comfortable. So many of our milestones have happened in this neighborhood. It’s been the backdrop of our lives. It’s where we want to stay,” Kiley added.

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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