The combined creativity and out-of-the-box inspiration that is One Spark The World’s Crowd-funding Festival spreads to its Food Village presented by San Marco Dining District as it expands its culinary vision from last year to appeal and accommodate an even larger crowd.
The San Marco Dining District (which includes Bistro Aix, BB’s, Taverna, The Grotto and Matthews) is sponsoring the Food Village, and each restaurant will have a presence.
“Beer and wine will be served this year as well,” says Patty Myers, manager and marketing director for Bistro Aix. “Intuition Ale will have special One Spark brews available,” she says. In addition, Bold Bean coffee will introduce a One Spark coffee.
“We’re thrilled that One Spark asked us to be a part of this event,” says Ann Riley, owner of Bistro Aix.
The Food Village presented by San Marco Dining District is expanding to two blocks of Laura Street this year between Adams Street and Bay Street, One Spark event manager Brent Fine says – including 14 vendors in the village, and another four in the One Spark after Dark in the Jacksonville Chamber parking lot.
Fine says they are ready for the predicted over 150,000 visitors that are expected to attend One Spark this year.
“Last year we did not know what to expect from One Spark,” he says. “This year we are better able to forecast event numbers.”
And having good food is a crucial part of a creative festival because “food brings people together,” says Fine, a University of North Florida graduate who also believes that One Spark is doing something amazing for the city. “Everything from vegan and vegetarian to upscale food will be available.”
“Having so much good food not only enhances the event but also adds local flavor, and shares another aspect of our town’s creativity,” says Riley.
Planning what to serve, how to serve, and all of the other logistical aspects ensure that the Food Village will be a success and also fuels the fire of excitement for the food vendors. “I can’t wait to see people’s faces when they eat the food,” says Myers. “I can’t imagine not being a part of it.”
Up in Smoke
Viva La Muncheech! Fans of the Up in Smoke BBQ food truck will recognize its favorite menu item – The Muncheech. It’s a pulled pork sandwich with gourmet mac and cheese on top.
Up In Smoke BBQ participated in last year’s inaugural One Spark and are happy to be back. “We heard about it last year and were very proactive about being a part of it. It was such an amazing event for us and it brought us so many new connections,” says Jennifer Kline, co-owner of Up in Smoke BBQ with Tom Wilbers. “But it was overwhelming because more people came than anticipated. We didn’t have enough food and that never happens to us and it will never happen again.”
“Food trucks bring the community together,” Kline says. “It’s a new and hip thing for Jacksonville and we have both traditional and hip items (hence the muncheech) on the menu.”
Up in Smoke BBQ has been on the Jacksonville circuit for almost two years. “Tom has owned Cajun restaurants and grew up in the business,” says Jennifer. They specialize in pork and brisket, and the barbecue sauce they use is an 80-year-old recipe that belonged to Tom’s grandmother.
“For One Spark last year, we parked our truck on Laura Street, near the property that my grandmother used to own,” says Tom. It’s an interesting twist that Up in Smoke BBQ, part of a new wave of food in the area, has roots that go back 80 years.
Be on the lookout for a special One Spark taco from the Corner Taco food truck this year. “One Spark did a fantastic job last year and I’m very impressed with the professionalism of the event,” says Chris Dickerson of Corner Taco. “Last year it was hard to get food vendors involved, and this year they had to turn people away,” he says.
Menu plans are still in the works for the festival, but Dickerson says that everything they serve is based on what is fresh and available. “We’ll have great food that we can serve quickly.” He says that “Jacksonville is going through a renaissance period,” and believes the delicious, well-prepared, fresh, local food at One Spark is indicative of that renaissance.
Corner Taco has been around for a little more than two years. Started by Dickerson, a Jacksonville native who realized his passion was in the food industry, the food truck has proved very popular. Corner Taco just opened a “brick and mortar” on Post Street in Five Points. “Corner Taco is funded by passion, hard work and friendship,” Dickerson says.
2014 One Spark Food Vendors:
Cely’s Famous Food, INC
Up In Smoke BBQ
Snowie Queen LLC
Baby’s Badass Burgers Food Truck
Super Food Truck
One Spark After Dark (OSAD):
Blue Pacific Grill and Taco Bar
The Happy Grilled Cheese
The Funkadelic Food Truck
What’s on tap?
Intuition Ale Works will be pouring two exclusive beers for One Spark this year. The One Spark Kölsch is a smooth German-style ale with mild hops and a crisp finish. The One Spark Alt is an amber malty brew inspired by Altbiers brewed in Dusseldorf, Germany. Bold Bean Roasters is brewing the One Spark Blend, a mix of Honduras Marcala and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, which is sweet and malty with a chocolate overtone and notes of hazelnut, citrus and jasmine.