I’ve dined at Downtown Jacksonville’s Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails many times since their official opening in late 2014 and I always have a great experience. With their festive dining room, fantastic menu and a whimsical, yet elegant atmosphere – it has quickly become a local favorite for foodies and families.
Here’s a look at what to expect when you visit the Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails –
You know its going to be a great atmosphere the minute you step foot on the front porch. With bright colors, festive chairs – it is a relaxing atmosphere with a sense of style.
Upon entering the dining room the teal, white and black colors make it a lively dining experience — with the open windows, you are in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. Keep an eye on the bar too – you make see mixologists lighting items on fire while creating cocktails. (More on the tasty cocktails in a bit…)
During a recent menu preview dinner, we sampled some of their newest dishes including pistachio crusted rack of lamb, mini duck confit crepes and even sauteed escargot.
For lunch, don’t miss trying dishes like the Croque Monsieur and my favorite salad on their menu – the baby arugula salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and pickled onions topped with a Pommery mustard vinaigrette.
Kids menu items include hot dogs, Angus burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese each served with choice of fries or fruit. Pro Tip: They serve breakfast all day!
Experience Sweet Pete’s
If you are a fan of CNBC’s The Profit, then you are probably familiar with Sweet Pete’s. Known for their delicious chocolate and candy treats, Sweet Pete’s shares a building with the Candy Apple Cafe — and it makes for some great shopping.
Don’t miss visiting the upstairs portion of the shop – tons of amazing candy and you can sign up for candy making classes too. They even have toddler storytime that involves sweet treats! Pro Tip: Don’t miss trying the chocolate covered potato chips – so good.
During my recent visit, I sampled the Pop Rockadopolis made with Tito’s Vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, cranberry and Pop Rocks. Yep, the bottom of the glass was filled with Pop Rocks and when the drink was poured – it was a mini Pop Rocks explosion. In addition to the great taste, it was a creative presentation too.
Other candy inspired drinks include the Rock Candy Old Fashioned with bourbon, Decanter bitters, simple syrup and Sweet Pete’s Black Cherry Swizzle rock candy. Great stuff! Pro Tip: Beer and wine are also available, along with non-candy cocktails.
Candy & Cocktails Night
The Candy Apple Cafe offers some great special events – from Porch Parties every Wednesday evening to Jazz dinners on the fourth Friday of the month and they pair up with Sweet Pete’s for candy making classes too.
The newest (and most popular) activity is the Candy & Cocktails night held one Friday a month. For $35 a person you’ll receive light snacks, an interactive candy demonstration and two signature cocktails from the bar. Reservations are required. During our candy demonstration, we learned how they make watermelon lollipops and even got to make our own!
Things to Know About the Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails
- Complimentary valet service is available weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Metered parking is available throughout Downtown. And bonus – metered street spots are free on the weekends and after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
- Reservations are accepted and strongly encouraged.
- If you’re traveling Downtown via the Skyway, the Hemming Park stop is just one block from the restaurant.
- Definitely save room for dessert – candy apples, banana trifle brulee and more.
Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails is definitely a place that locals and visitors need to experience. It’s so much more than just great food. It is fantastic service, food and a place that you’ll find yourself going back to over and over again. I’m proof!
Have you visited the Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails?
** I was an invited guest of the Candy Apple Cafe and Sweet Pete’s. Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own. **