All photos by Taylor Smiley
This is 20West Cafe, operated by staff and students in the Culinary and Hospitality programs at FSCJ. The restaurant has brought opportunity and forward-thinking to downtown Jacksonville, giving those nearby a healthier dining option as opposed to the usual variety of restaurants available.
20West Cafe is located on West Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville in the historic Lerner Building, which was bought by the school from former NFL player Eugene Profit. The school opened the restaurant in March of 2018 and has had success in the venture since. In addition to the restaurant, the school has recently opened living facilities for students to be close in proximity to the school, while providing an urban downtown feel to the dorms. The dorms are located on the second to sixth floors of the building, while the Cafe is on ground level.
20West serves as more than your general go-to good eats spot. Their mission lies not only within their passion for good food, but in helping revamp the revitalization efforts for downtown Jacksonville, which affect our city immensely. While working in the restaurant, students are also offered the opportunity to complete their internships with the school at 20West. Kelby Rothenberg, who is a part of their Hospitality program, is beginning her internship this upcoming Spring. She accredits her boss, Rick MacDonald, for giving her the opportunity to learn valuable skills and management through the restaurant and is eager to learn more about the business through her internship. She is one of many smiling faces that will greet you upon entry.
While most of the revenue for the company is brought in through private dining and catering events held in-house and amongst participating businesses, the restaurant is open five days a week for breakfast and lunch, with intriguing specials that change weekly. The Head Chef, Brett Cromer, is a graduate of FSCJ’s Culinary Management Program, and his imminent goal is to bring his vision to life within the restaurant, providing customers with healthy and creative options.