Business Briefs


            A new Italian fast-casual restaurant located in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district will hold its grand opening this weekend.

Dina – The Real Italian Piadina, specializes in the piadina – a grilled sandwich made from thin, handmade Italian flatbread and filled with a variety of local and imported meats, cheeses and fresh vegetables.

“In Italy, there’s a piadina shop on every corner,” General Manager Rebekak Scroggins said, “so the owners are looking forward to introducing the concept here in St. Augustine.”

For the grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 10, Scroggins said, the restaurant will offer free piadinas from 3 to 6 p.m. The owners will also be on hand to greet patrons at the restaurant located at 100 St. George St. across from the Columbia Restaurant.

“We take pride in the quality of our ingredients and source as much of our vegetables from sustainable growers in North Florida,” said Stefano Braganti, co-owner of Dina along with friends Andrea Maccario, Hezi Mena and Luca Bonfante. “We import our cured meats and cheeses from the best Italian producers and hand-select our smoked fish from right here in St. Augustine.”

Some of Dina’s signature piadinas include the Maialina (mozzarella, mortadella, eggplant and truffle oil) and the Dina (Stracchino cheese, prosciutto, fresh arugula, and balsamic glaze). The restaurant also features homemade desserts such as tiramisu and coffee semifreddo and a selection of Italian wine, beer and sodas.

 “Our mission here at Dina is RO5, which stands for the ‘Rule of Five,’” Braganti said.

“Everything we serve in our restaurant is made with five ingredients or less.We believe that what you eat doesn’t need to have more ingredients than the fingers on your hand. Simple is better!”

Dina is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and is located at 100 St. George St., Suite J, on the corner of Hypolita Street. For more information, call (904) 826-3535 or visit 

St. Johns County couple donates conservation easement to North Florida Land Trust

A St. Johns County couple donated a conservation easement to the North Florida Land Trust on their property along Mill Creek near Lake Beluthahatchee in the northern part of the county.

Charles and Mary Farr donated the easement on Horse Creek Farm of 44 acres to the conservation organization to ensure the land they own and love will never be developed.

“St. Johns County is one of the fastest growing counties in Northeast Florida, so it is wonderful that Mr. and Mrs. Farr have decided to donate an easement on Horse Creek Farm,” NFLT Executive Director Jim McCarthy, noting that donated easements can generate a 5o percent or 100 percent tax deduction to the donor, with a 15-year carry forward. “It will keep its natural beauty forever.”

The Farrs purchased the land in 1994 and originally used it as a farm for their horses. In 1996, they built a home on the property, which also features a barn, workshop, riding area and a small dock used for recreational purposes.

The donation of the conservation easement means the Farrs continue to own the land and will allow them to stay on the property and continue to enjoy all the land offers.

 “The tax benefits were also a significant factor in considering the easement,” the Farrs said.  

Memorial Hospital opens Mandarin ER

Memorial Hospital is now serving patients at its newest emergency room location in Mandarin.

Located at 10910 San Jose Blvd., the Memorial Emergency Center – Mandarin is a full-service 10-bed, 11,000 square-foot facility officially staffed by board-certified physicians and clinical staff trained to treat both adults and children. The facilities include on-site advanced lab, imaging and telemedicine services.

“This facility demonstrates Memorial’s commitment to the community to expand access to care in an area with a growing need for ER services,” President and CEO Jim O’Loughlin said. “By bringing a full-service emergency room to this area, we are able to offer patients quick access to care with shorter wait times in a compassionate and caring setting.”

The facility is Memorial Hospital’s third free-standing ER and fourth ER location.  In 2012, Memorial opened the first free-standing emergency room in the region, the Memorial Emergency Center – Julington Creek, followed by a second free-standing ER (Atlantic) In 2014.

 “When it comes to emergency care, every second counts,” said ER Medical Director Dr. Fred Jenkins.  “By having an emergency room in this neighborhood, patients can have peace of mind that they will be treated quickly in an ER that can handle just about any emergency, including heart attacks, chest pain and respiratory distress.”

North Avenue Capital provides $4.5M USDA loan for Treetops Resort

Commercial lender North Avenue Capital has provided a $4.5 million loan for Northern Michigan’s Treetops Resort. Managing Partner Alex Louis led NAC’s origination and underwriting activities for the loan, which was funded through the USDA Rural Development Business & Industry program.

“NAC is pleased to play a central role in funding Treetops Resort’s Lodge and Inn renovation,” Louis said. “The capital improvements made with this loan will elevate Treetop’s facilities to be in line with the extraordinary recreational experiences and excellent service already found at Treetops Resort.”

The 2,100-acre retreat featuring 81 holes of championship golf, including Threetops, North America’s #1 Par 3 course, and 23 ski slopes.

“Strong financing partners are scarce in this industry and economic climate,” General Manager Barry Owens said. “NAC has shown their commitment to small businesses in Northern Michigan and specifically Gaylord, and is assisting our team to make Treetops Resort one of the premiere destinations in the country.”