Hungry for some local food on your way to a show? Want a cool “locals only” spot to visit after the finale for dessert and conversation? Check out these local hot spots recommended by Thrasher-Horne Center staff members, and let us introduce you to the best our area has to offer! With Thrasher-Horne Center Food Finds, we plan to bring you a monthly spotlight that will turn your simple night at the theatre into a full-fledged event that you and your guests will remember for years to come!
If you’ve ever been to a show at the Florida Theatre downtown, then you’re probably aware of Casa Dora, the cozy, hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant a few storefronts down from the theatre. A bit of an institution, Casa Dora has been serving up no-frills, authentic Italian cuisine to hungry theatregoers in the urban core since 1976. Owner Sam Hassan and Store Manager Freddie are well known to downtown Jacksonville types, and now they’re working hard to extend that renown to Clay County. Pasta Market Italian Restaurant (FKA Sam’s Italian Kitchen) on Kingsley Avenue has brought Sam’s ethos of homemade Italian food with love and care to our Thrasher-Horne neighborhood, creating a space that is perfect for a pre-show dinner with friends.
One thing you’ll notice when you dine at Pasta Market is the extreme attention to detail in all the dishes. The staff, and most especially the owner, are fiercely dedicated to making sure you get exactly what you expect in your dining experience. Don’t be surprised if you receive an individual visit from the chef at your table, and perhaps even a personalized off-menu entree created especially for you. This is a wonderfully endearing touch, hearkening back to the days when restaurants relied less on cookie-cutter menus and more on catering to the guests they considered to be family. And at Sam’s restaurants, you will indeed feel like family.
Every item on the extensive menu is hand crafted from scratch, from the pastas to the desserts and even the sauces and salad dressings. The kitchen at Pasta Market is also used as a prep kitchen, providing sister restaurant Casa Dora with much of it’s signature flair. Check out just a small portion of their massive menu below.
So the next time you’re traveling to the theatre for a night of entertainment, take a couple extra hours to stop in at Pasta Market. You’ll be glad you did. Trust us.
1930 Kingsley Avenue
Orange Park, FL 32073
Mon, Wed, Fri 11a – 10p
Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun 3p – 10p