Rediscovering a Beach Favorite – Mezza Restaurant and Bar

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With two small children, going out to dinner requires some serious location consideration. We love finding places to take our family that don’t involve plastic silverware and a tunnel slide, but still offer something special for the kids. And sometimes, we are looking for a place with great atmosphere and delicious food for a grown-ups night out. We’ve discovered Mezza Restaurant and Bar is the perfect place for both kid-friendly and kid free nights.

Mezza Restaurant and Bar is a neighborhood restaurant located in the Beaches Town Center in Neptune Beach. If you’ve been around Jacksonville for awhile, you may have known it as Mezza Luna, which has been a fixture of the beaches for more than 25 years. Owners, Niall and Nancy Falloon were partners in Mezza Luna before becoming sole owners in 2007. Last year, they changed the name to Mezza Restaurant and Bar to more accurately reflect the menu, which features contemporary American fare.

Owners Niall and Nancy Falloon have created a delightful neighborhood restaruant with Mezza
Owners Niall and Nancy Falloon have created a delightful neighborhood restaruant with Mezza

“With a few ownership changes over the years, we decided to make this place our own after all this time,” explained owner Nancy Falloon. And what they have created is a lovely neighborhood destination featuring three unique dining spaces, and a menu filled with mouth watering options such as homemade frites with black truffle dip, passion fruit glazed scallops and of course, their famous wood fired pizzas.

They taste even better than they look.
They taste even better than they look.

The lounge at Mezza Restaurant and Bar is where the wood fired oven is located, and every night from 5:00-6:30 pm they offer children 10 and under the opportunity to make their own pizzas. The kids are able to knead the dough, and even get lessons from the chef on how to toss it in the air, which leads to lots of laughter from the entire family. After putting on their own toppings, they get to see their pizza put right in to the oven. The lounge also features daily drink specials, and on Monday, select wines are half price, making Monday my new favorite night to go out to dinner.

This amazing pizza was created by a professional. The one my daughter made was bit more lopsided and covered in pepperoni. Both were delicious.
This amazing pizza was created by a professional. The one my daughter made was bit more lopsided and covered in pepperoni. Both were delicious.

If you are in the mood to dine al fresco, Mezza Restaurant and Bar offers a beautiful, covered patio which stays cool and shaded in the summer and has heaters and blankets in the winter. Being so close to the beach offers excellent people watching as well as fresh ocean air, and this patio is a great location for private events or large parties.

Yes, that is two glasses of wine. Don't judge, it was 1/2 price.
Yes, that is two glasses of wine. Don’t judge, it was half price.

For a date night or girls night, the main dining room inside is one of my favorite locations. The warm brick walls and beautiful decor are charming and inviting, and the layout creates an atmosphere of intimacy with just the right amount of privacy so you can still feel the energy of the restaurant. And while children are welcome on the patio and the lounge, they are encouraged not sit in the main dining room, so if you manage a night away from your own kids, you don’t have to hear your neighbors.

mezza-inside-2
Main dining room at Mezza – beautiful and not a Goldfish cracker to be found

As Jacksonville grows, we are fortunate to have so many delicious restaurant choices, and Mezza Restaurant and Bar is one of the best. All of the items on their menu are fresh and made from scratch, no frozen or pre-made items, and they source local ingredients when available including greens and Mayport shrimp. Owner, Nancy, makes the desserts herself including an Irish whiskey bread pudding and a weekly cheesecake special.

And if parking at the beach stresses you out, don’t worry, Mezza offers complimentary valet parking, which is handy if you are carrying two kids at the same time or if you are a bit shaky in the heels you finally decided to wear since you actually don’t have to carry the kids tonight.

Follow Mezza Restaurant and Bar (@mezzarestaurant) and JMB (@jaxmomsblog) on Monday night for an Instagram Takeover! Better yet, make reservations and join us!! 

Thank you Mezza Restaurant and Bar for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

 

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Jessica Stewart
Jessica is a North Carolina girl, who after living in New York City for eight years, is loving being back in the south since moving to Jacksonville in 2008. She is a stay at home mom to Linda Claire (3) and Liam (2). Prior to filling her days with parks and play doh, Jessica worked in event planning and marketing for financial and media companies, including This Old House. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she is a passionate Tarheel fan, and college basketball season is her favorite time of year. Jessica spends her free time on the tennis court, training for races with her running buddies, or drinking wine her husband, Trevor. Her favorite things include snuggling with her sweet dog at the end of the day, hearing her kids laugh together, and pink cupcakes with sprinkles.

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