New cafe addresses food desert in Northwest Jacksonville

Rockin' Waffle Cafe comes to Moncrief with plan to help youths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood is getting some new food options as Rockin' Waffle Cafe steps in to help address a neighborhood food desert.

People living in Northwest Jacksonville near Moncrief Road and Myrtle Avenue have a new much-needed option for food.  

"If you go several miles either forward of Moncrief and Myrtle or in the opposite direction you only have one or two restaurants that are options for the community, and so when we came here we wanted to make sure that we provided something that wasn't only convenient that was (also) healthy, new and exciting that the community would want to come to," said Shanna Carter, CEO and founder of Rockin' Waffle Cafe.  

Rockin Waffle Cafe doesn't only put a twist to the traditional waffle, it also celebrates African-American music history. 

The dishes on the menu are all named after African-Americans who have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

"I'm very excited. I usually take my boys to Waffle House, but it's not even that close. And this is right down the street, so we will definitely be coming back," said Jabri McKinney, a Northwest Jacksonville resident. 

"It's really good. There's more on the menu, more to choose from, so you know it's really great," said Kenneth Nicholson, a Northwest Jacksonville resident. 

From feeding to educating and entertaining, this cafe has more than one benefit for the local community, but it has a special benefit for the youth.

The cafe serves as a culinary apprenticeship intern cafe, where the youths run the entire cafe under the supervision of a chef. 

“We are taking traditional youth impact and Stop the Violence to the next level by allowing our apprentices to get out of the box through high-level business skills and entrepreneurship while obtaining culinary certifications and a weekly stipend. Whether they go to college or into a career, we are setting them up to achieve greatness. Rockin Waffle Café is 'where great music, delicious food and social impact make a beautiful sound,'" said Carter. "Every dollar that you spend here, it goes back into our youth. It goes back into preventing a higher youth recidivism rate. We're giving them positive opportunities, training and certifications."

The cafe is different in that it offers business education and connects the food classroom with community business professionals through dining and catering experiences. 

The cafe will also be an entrepreneurial incubator for all the culinary needs of the youth.

The cafe is hoping to decrease food deserts and give young people opportunities one meal at a time. 

Rockin' Waffle Cafe is at 3416 Moncrief Road, Suite 104, in the heart of Northwest Jacksonville. 

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