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Brick Oven thanks customers with party during 10-year anniversary

By Kyla Woodard For Clay Today
Posted 6/15/23

FLEMING ISLAND – Brick Oven Pizzeria & Gastropub has been serving up meals to residents for a decade, and last Sunday was their day to say thank you.

“[We’ve] gone through 10 wonderful …

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Brick Oven thanks customers with party during 10-year anniversary


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Brick Oven Pizzeria & Gastropub has been serving up meals to residents for a decade, and last Sunday was their day to say thank you.

“[We’ve] gone through 10 wonderful years, thanks to many of our customers and our employees. And [we’re’] doing really well here,” said owner Dan DeHart.

The restaurant hosted its anniversary event to ring in the milestone. The party was filled with upbeat tunes, $6 select grub, and an all-day happy hour to celebrate their time on the island.

The event also featured face painting, a DJ, and many loyal customers ready to celebrate.

In addition to celebrating their accomplishments, the restaurant also passed on their good fortune to others.

The restaurant hosted a 50/50 raffle, with half of the proceeds going to the Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs and the other half going to a winning customer. Customers could pay $1 a ticket to enter into the raffle. The event raised $832 for the pantry.

Long-time supporters, the Clay County Cruzers, lent their cars to add to the celebration. Guests were able to walk around, take pictures, and gape next to unique vintage motors.

The restaurant partners with the local organization every year to commemorate the occasion and support each other in their endeavors.

Clay County Cruzers President, Mike Hourihane, said he appreciates the camaraderie.

“We would like to thank Cyndi and Dan for always, every year, allowing us to come here and partake with their event. We enjoy going to the Brick Oven, we love their food, and we’re all from the local community. So, it’s just nice to have something like this in the local area,” Hourihane said.

The establishment, originally NY Brick Oven Pizza, began as a little pizzeria at the then BP gas station near Orange Park South. However, owner Cyndi DeHart said the move to Fleming Island was indeed necessary. The DeHart’s said the lively nature of the island, being right across from the booming movie theater and being in between Eagle Harbor and Fleming Island Plantation, influenced their decision.

“It’s a lot bigger. It’s like five times bigger than our other restaurant. So, to make it better for the people that live in the community,” Cyndi DeHart said.

The original establishment was small for eight years, selling mainly pizza, wings and subs. A little hole in the wall to obtain a taste of New York-style Italian cuisine. However, the DeHart’s said the move to their current location opened the restaurant to better endeavors.

“We have [a] full restaurant, full bar [and] craft beer,” Cyndi DeHart said.

In 2013, the restaurant made its home in Fleming Island. And, after expanding the menu, space and drink options, the eatery has become more of a “home” to customers all over the island.

Wanda Prentice said she is a regular customer. She enjoys the food, people and the environment.

“Brick oven is a great establishment in the Fleming Island area. And everybody’s like family. Everybody knows everybody. It’s a kind of place you go back to, like an old-time Cheers,” Prentice said.

Customers Richard and Margaret Milligan, brought their 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 to the celebration, and as regulars, they raved over the restaurant’s food, citing the fried green beans and nachos as their favorite.

For the future, the restaurant has some changes in store. After recently renewing the lease, the DeHart’s said that they plan to retire their roles soon and continue the spirit of “family” by handing the reins over to their son and nephew.

The DeHart’s said that their son, Jimmy DeHart, was their main reason for starting the business, and they can’t wait for him to inherit it.

“This is not for us. This is for our son. His legacy,” Cyndi DeHart said.

As the current general manager, Jimmy DeHart said when he fully takes over, he hopes to continue the restaurant’s essence that began all those years ago.

“We like to be the local, friendly neighborhood where everybody can come and feel comfortable. And, have a nice enjoyable place where people can come and enjoy themselves. I just want to keep it that way,” Jimmy DeHart said.