Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'Charlie's Cafe' Outdoor Dining Opens In Hemming Park

Credit Peter Haden / WJCT
Charlie's Cafe opened in Hemming Park Monday.

Officials gathered in Jacksonville’s Hemming Park Monday for the unveiling of “Charlie’s Cafe,” a new lunchtime eatery named after longtime Jacksonville Congressman Charles Bennett. The cafe is a public-private partnership between the City and the nonprofit Friends of Hemming Park.

Tables for 64 diners and outdoor space heaters will be set up for lunchtime every weekday. Charlie’s will feature a rotating line-up of caterers, restaurants and food trucks until a permanent food vendor is chosen.

Friends of Hemming Park Director Vince Cavin said this is just phase one.

“Once you establish a food facility on site, that other things sort of flourish around that public space,” said Cavin. “We’re thinking about a reading room. We’re going to build another stage in the other part of the park. Maybe Shakespeare in the park could be there….speakers in the park, puppet shows for kids -- things like that.”

Cavin said his goal is to create a vibrant public space that attracts all types of people.

Peter Haden is an award-winning investigative reporter and photographer currently working with The Center for Investigative Reporting. His stories are featured in media outlets around the world including NPR, CNN en Español, ECTV Ukraine, USA Today, Qatar Gulf Times, and the Malaysia Star.