Cowford Chophouse is downtown's most anticipated new restaurant

Construction to be finished by summer

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor

The century old Bostwick Building at the corner of Bay and Ocean Streets is under transformation, soon to open as the Cowford Chophouse.

There have been some major delays with the project, but it could be ready to open in a matter of months.
The work on the building which sits at the base of the Main Street Bridge started more than three years ago.

"Yeah I mean, it has been a labor of love," said owner Jaques Klempf.

Klempf, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, said keeping the historic integrity of the buiilding has been his greatest challenge. "The historic renovation has certainly been the biggest challenge. It's very detailed, very tedious work, but we are really on the downhill now.  We are almost done," said Klempf.

One example is the brick work. The original outside bricks are numbered and will eventually be put back in place around the new construction. The restaurant will accommodate 300 people, on two floors of tables, private dining rooms and a rooftop bar.

As for the food, Klempf said they've tasted their way through the research.

"We've traveled all over the country and gone to a lot of the great steakhouses and looked at some of the things they are doing; so that we could bring something to Jacksonville that's a little bit different, bring in some cuts of meat and different entrées that maybe Jacksonville has never experienced before," said Klempf.

People who work and live downtown who have watched the transformation are ready to get a taste of what Cowford Chophouse has to offer.  Howard Coker spends a lot of time downtown.

"It's new and novel. It's not a chain. It'll be a little different experience," said Coker. "The most exciting thing is when we ring in our first customer and when the construction stops. But I think it's just real satisfying to see where it was and to see what it's going to be," said Klempf.

Klempf hopes that construction will be finished by July. 



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