Pensacola, Florida
Monday August 20th 2018

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Cover Story: New Kids on The Block

Unique new restaurants open this fall
By Sean Boone

It’s sometimes tough to find good, local food around town—and even harder for the local restaurants just starting out to find you. For this year’s Fall Eat Guide, we thought we’d give credit where credit is due. We’ve highlighted seven “New Kids” that have either recently opened in the Pensacola market or are expected to do soon.

Each unique restaurant has a different story, but all share an optimistic vision of Pensacola and will be welcomed additions to our local dining and entertainment scene. Based on their owners’ commitments to quality and service, we believe that they will take root in this community and quickly develop loyal followings.

Here at the IN we love local businesses. After all, we are one. So, check out these new spots, visit their Web sites and spread the word.

Vic and Ike’s
104 S. Palafox Place
912-8569
vic-and-ikes.com

When Nick Fawal decided on opening a restaurant in Pensacola, he had two things on his mind: fine dining and affordability.

“I have an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old at the house and there aren’t many fine dining places that I can take them,” he says. “I wanted to create a place that people could find good food without shooting their bank account.”

Fawal, a Birmingham native, has been in the restaurant business for more than 25 years in various areas of the Southeast. After helping open two restaurants in Orange Beach, he decided to branch out on his own and decided downtown Pensacola was the perfect fit.

“I originally looked at Daphne and Fairhope…then Mobile and didn’t like the way it was going,” he says. “The beginning of the year I started looking in Pensacola and came across this location. I soon found out it was going to be open and with some negotiation, here I am.

Vic and Ike’s is described by as an American bistro; incorporating Asian, Mediterranean and Italian flare into a large menu of soups, salads, sandwiches and seafood. He also notes the commitment to locally-grown and health conscious selections. The restaurant has a relaxed dining and bar setting inside and several covered tables outside overlooking Palafox Place.

“For our menu this fall, we will bring in more seasonal items from our local farmers such as zucchini and acorn squash. We also would like to bring back duck and will probably go with a peach risotto and a pork loin.”

The full menu and updates on specials and events can be found online at vic-and-ikes.com.

The Leisure Club

126 S. Palafox Place
912-4229
tlcdowntown.com

Early this year, Denise Berry and Kimberly Brill came up with a plan to bring a different kind of eatery to downtown. The two business partners in the Reel Centric LLC, a video advertising solutions company and Flash development firm, knew they wanted to open up a coffee shop in their downstairs vacant space, but also wanted to add a quality food and wine selection in a unique environment that people enjoyed spending time in—seven days a week.

“We wanted to do something where people come in and say, “this is the Leisure Club…a relaxed place,’” says Berry. “Our interior is based on a 60s feel.”

The coffee comes from Intelligentsia, a company from Chicago that provides direct trade with bean farmers. Berry says that by using Intelligentsia, they not only get quality, fresh coffee but different blends from different parts of the world depending on the season.

Food menu items such as gourmet paninis are made in-house with gourmet cheeses and Boar’s Head meats. The pastries aren’t prepared at Leisure Club, but are made by local chefs
“Everything is made from scratch…it’s very small, but what we’re trying to do is focus on certain items,” says Berry. “On the wine side, we’re continuing to expand our selection.

“People get to taste a lot of different wines here. Eventually we will have four tiers with 10 selections in each. Education is also a big part of our brand…we want to make it fun for people to come in and learn about wine and our coffee.”

Wine is currently offered by the glass, bottle or bottomless (where you can switch). Local and regional poets and musicians are scheduled on a weekly basis. For more information on Leisure Club events and menu items, check out their Facebook page, facebook.com/theleisureclub.

Savanna Blue Neighborhood Grill
4238 Fairfield Dr.
453-2980
savannablue.net

Savanna Blue Neighborhood Grill and Wowoblue Karaoke & Comedy Club is now open in Pensacola. The grill serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Menu items run the gamut from standard sports bar fare like mozzarella sticks and nachos to down-home dinner entrees like chicken-fried steak and gravy, to wings, to seafood platters filled with clams, shrimp and catfish.

Savanna Blue also features two-for-one wells and domestics all day every day, as well as additional daily food and drink specials. Check out comedy on Wednesdays, live entertainment on Fridays, karaoke on Saturdays, and more. For additional events and details, visit their website, savannablue.net.

Jackalope’s Saloon
E.Cervantes St.
434-0050

It’s small. It’s quaint. And it’s just right…for Tex-Mex and beer.

Jackalope’s co-owner Leer Baker says the idea behind the business was to create a neighborhood restaurant that fit his and his wife’s love for Southwestern food.

“We lived out in Austin, Texas for a while and kind of enjoyed that kind of flavor,” he says. “The menu is all Tex-Mex stuff. We’ve recently added a few new things like the Garbage Bowl (beans, cheese, your choice of beef or chicken and topped with fresh veggies, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips)…that’s what we try for. Everything is generally spicy and jalapeno-based.”

Baker says he strikes for a low-key element with limited seating and a small bar for locals to enjoy. He and wife Windi had always wanted to open a restaurant and stumbled upon a great location in the Pensacola Heights neighborhood when they moved back to the area.

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