The newly opened Crazy Beans Coffee at the heart of JTA’s Regional Transportation Center is believed to be the first new restaurant to open in LaVilla in more than 15 years.
"It's real important to the community," Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney, whose district includes LaVilla, said Thursday of the cafe. "They haven't had anything like this in a long time."
Gaffney, who couldn't recall when a restaurant last opened in LaVilla, praised both Crazy Beans and JTA for bringing the cafe to the neighborhood.
"It shows vision. And I think this is the start of something special that's going to last for years to come," Gaffney noted, saying the venture could be a catalyst for drawing more restaurants or stores to LaVilla.
Noting many neighborhood residents are among the cafe's customers, he said, "anytime you get the community to support your venture, then it's usually going to be successful."
The transportation center opened in May 2020 at 100 LaVilla Center Drive downtown near the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
At 67,000 square feet, the $57-million regional hub was built to serve as JTA's new downtown bus transfer facility and administrative headquarters. The center also boasts direct connections to the Skyway and Intercity Bus Terminal, which serves Greyhound, Megabus and RedCoach lines.
Crazy Beans is on the ground level just around the corner from the customer waiting area inside the facility.
The cafe is owned by brothers Edgar and Herbert Bartley, whose business motto is "Crazy Beans is not just coffee, it’s a culture.”
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