Rue Saint-Marc: Chef Q & A

Rue Saint-Marc is the newest restaurant to open in San Marco. It’s the seventh restaurant in the M-Hospitality Group (Matthews, Medure, and 4 M-Shack locations). An M-Hospitality all-star team was assembled to run Rue Saint-Marc, so I sat down with beverage director Gabby Saul and executive chef Scott Alters to get the inside scoop.

Gabby Saul, who was the head bartender at Medure, will take the role of beverage director. Her accolades include the Judge’s Choice award at First Coast Magazine’s 2015 Toast of the Coast cocktail competition and the People’s Choice award the following year. Gabby focuses on seasonality and making everything from scratch—from syrups to bitters to cordials to foams to hand-carved ice cubes.

Her fiancé, Scott Alters, will lead the culinary program. Scott first refined his culinary skills at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. He trained in French cuisine at La Toque in Napa Valley, and has held many different positions in the M-Hospitality group.

Peter Piper Cocktail: 162 Kaffir lime vodka, ancho reyes, cucumber juice, ginger beer, pickled fresno chili peppers

Then, to literally put the cherry on top, they’ve recruited the pastry queen: Rebecca Reed from Matthew’s. Rebecca is one of the most passionate chefs that I’ve ever met, and it shines through in her infectious smile, and anything she creates is extraordinary. I’m talking croissants, fresh baked bread, macarons, creme brûlée, brownies, and an oatmeal cream pie with lavender golden raisin that will make you forget about the Little Debbie version. I’ve eaten four of them already.

Strawberry Macaroon and Chocolate Ganache Cookie

Scott Alters: Rue Saint-Marc is modeled after a Parisian cafe. We loved the idea of showcasing Gabby’s creative style of cocktail, all of her homemade ingredients with the technique that we use in the kitchen. That is why we went with that L shaped bar that runs into the kitchen, to show a seamlessness between the two. Technique, great ingredients, perfecting the craft.

Gabby Saul: We’ve got every end of it: food, the cocktails, and the pastries. You’ve got three people who are dedicated to what they do, this isn’t a pastime for us, it’s our career.

jack: One awesome thing about Rue Saint-Marc is the open kitchen and open bar. You get to watch everything, cocktails being made, shaken, and poured. You can talk to the chef as he prepares your food. It’s all about interaction and energy.

Scott: You can sit at the bar and talk not only to the bartender but to the chef and have them explain what they’re doing or pour you a little taste of something.

Bavette Steak: Spring onions with Bordelaise sauce

Gabby: There’s lots of places that do breakfast, there’s lots of places that do brunch, but no one here. Unless it’s brunch on Saturday or Sunday, you can’t go to one breakfast place and get an alcoholic beverage on a weekday. We have a full bar at all times. We’ve been in the hospitality business for a long time, and we always work brunch if we’re at a place that serves it. I think it’s really cool since the service industry and the hospitality industry want to go to brunch, too, but they’re usually working. They can come to brunch everyday if they want, except for Sunday. We’re closed on Sunday.

jack: You can get a cocktail for breakfast?

Gabby: Yes.

jack: Anything else you want people to know about Rue Saint-Marc?

Scott: We are absolutely in love with the concept of true hospitality. We spent the first two days of training just discussing hospitality with the staff. Getting them to share their input on what hospitality means to them. We came up with with a list of standards of hospitality. This was about bringing something to the San Marco community and the city of Jacksonville, something where you can get in and eat and drink delicious food and cocktails, but also feel that sincere generosity. It should be the cornerstone of hospitality.

Gabby: We’ve got that lounge area—we want people to feel like they can come in and hang out with their computer and wifi, grab a cool pastry, grab some coffee, sit here, and enjoy.

Scott: Coffee, cocktail, whatever you’re in the mood for.

Gabby: I want the neighborhood to know that if they want to come and hang out and be here, we will be open for them. If I have the crowd and they’re loving it, we’ll stay open.

More info about Rue Saint-Marc can be found on their website and their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Check out for Nate Mayo on Instagram @natedoesfood for his scoop on hot eats and special events on the First Coast

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