My husband and I have tried many restaurants in Fernandina and Jacksonville. We have enjoyed many great experiences and learned from the worst. Here is a list of some great places to dine and others to avoid.
Home style and Country Cooking:
Barbara Jeans: Located on A1A across the bridge into Fernandina. There you will find dishes like roast beef and gravy with a choice of veggies that include sweet corn nuggets, butter squash and green beans among others. They serve jalapeno bread and a verity of others to start your meal. You can also dine outside on the deck where you have the beauty of a flower garden which smells lovely.
Spankys: is located right behind Barbara Jeans and have a warm rustic yet casual atmosphere. They have a comfortable sitting room apart from the tables that has a fireplace and TV. There is a bar and tables. The outside deck overlooks a pond where there are live gators. They serve great fish sandwiches and gator tail! They also have some of the best home style cooking.
Murrays: is located on A1A next to Winn Dixie in Yulee before Fernandina. They have a country atmosphere with upstairs and downstairs dining. Their fried mushrooms and fried green tomatoes are a hit with the locals. They start you off with freshly baked rolls and cinnamon or regular butter. They have picnic benches outside for smokers.
Down Under: is located up under the bridge going into Fernandina. It has a verity of great seafood dishes which include lobster bisque. There is a deck where you can sometimes see dolphins swimming and playing nearby.
The Surf: is located on Fletcher off of Saddler Road in Fernandina. So if you are headed towards the beaches of Fernandina, check it out. They serve $5.99 lobster every Sunday. There is a deck or if you prefer, you can eat inside. Its right across the street from the ocean, so we love to sit on the deck where we could see it better.
The Great Khan : is located on the Island and has four separate buffets. One for salads and fruits. Another has sushi (raw and cooked). Finally, the last two has hot dish favorites including a zucchini and shrimp dish to die for. The prices are reasonable at about $6.99 for lunch and $9.99 for dinner if you wish to have Alaskan Crab legs to your meal. Its all you can eat for the buffet and a menu with other choices as well.
The Dragon Garden : is located on 103rd street in Jacksonville. I have taken my daughter there when she was in a highchair, now she is 21 and taking son there as well. It features a double sided buffet with some of my favorites, Spicy garlic crawfish and had the best hot mustard around if you like it with your egg rolls. Their beef and broccoli is fantastic. I love sauces and unlike The Great Khan, Dragon Garden offers a lot more sauce in their hot dish choices. However, The great Khan has whasobi which I also love.
Whiteys Fish Camp: can be found by Boat or Road. It is located on Hwy 220 in Clay County. You can also get to it by the St. Johns river off Doctors Inlet. They have always been great for Seafood, yet about three years ago, they had a reopening and invited everyone to come. Everything was free to those who came. One only had to pay for their drinks. They featured their sliced roast beef, shrimp and steaks. On weekends, they have live bands and a seafood buffet. You can actually rent boats their on the site and hang out for the band and drinks after fishing. My husband and I have done this and had a great time.
Clark’s Fish Camp: is located on San Jose Blvd. In Mandarin which is off of Hwy 295. They have a great atmosphere and great fresh seafood. They will also make pitchers of your favorite mix drinks and bring it to your table.
Wings and Things:
Fast boys Wings: are located at various places around Jacksonville. One is in Oceanway on Hwy 17 (Main Street) and I know of another at Jax, Beach on the Southside of Jacksonville. Both include the biggest wings around with a choice of many flavors. You can also mix and match. They usually provide a place to smoke. The one in Oceanway has tables. Our favorite mix is Spicy Cajun and Ranch. They have a variety of great sandwiches and salads. Even their house salad include items of a chef salad and is one of my favorites. They have specials on beer and wings during football and racing season.
Box seats : which is located on Blanding Blvd in Jacksonville has an outside and inside full bar. There are also tables to sit at if you prefer and many TV’s everywhere. They have plenty of dart boards and hold tournaments several times a week. Its a great sportsbar with great food. There Buffalo Shrimp basket is great with that beer. I am not too keen on their wings. Actually, that depends on who’s cooking. They do hold wrestling matched out front on the deck and sometimes hold promotions by radio stations and such in which they award great prizes. My husband won a trip for the two of us to Wild Adventures . Raffle tickets are free and given out as you enter.
The Happy Tomato: located in the heart of downtown Fernandina off Centra Street is one of the best places we have found for baby back ribs. They have an outside smoker and slow cook them to perfection. They make their own homemade bar-b-que sauce which is off the charts in finger licking good. I could wait around there until I got hungry again, just to get more of them memorable babyback. They seem to melt in your mouth.
Hooters: is great if you are single or don’t have a jealous bone in your body. (Laughing) Their bombshell beauty’s serve great tasting wings and things in their itty bitty shorts and short hooter tops. I really think guys prefer to go there with their Buddy’s and its a great place for the boss to take his crew. The prices are a bit high, but the view can make most forget after a few beers!
Sneakers: is also located on San Jose. It is a great sportsbar which has been visited by many athletes and sports fans alike. They serve fantastic burgers and fries among other items.
The big Burrito: located on the Island in Fernandina beach on 14th street off of Sadler Road which is off of A1A towards the beach. It is the home of the famous 6 inch burrito. You have a choice of different burritos and they make their own sauces from mild to super hot. Very casual dining, but enough to fill up a hungry man.
La Napoleon: on Kingsley Road across from Orange park Hospital in Orange park is family owned and have some of the best home made Mexican dishes around. They also serve beer and mixed drinks, Margaritas is a specialty there.
Chili’s: in Yulee, Florida off of A1A towards Fernandina is one of my favorites. Of course, you can find locations all over Jacksonville. even off Highway Road near the airport. They have great appetizers that feature a mixture of samples from their menu. Their southwest egg rolls are popular, as well as their wings over Buffalo. You can make your own fajitas as they bring you all the ingredients. They have some of the best sauces around for dipping, and their burgers are huge.
The Budweiser Restaurant: located at the Jacksonville airport serve fried calamari and have some of the best omelets around. They are high priced, yet if you are at the airport anyway, its a great place to eat or impress your visitors.
Applebees is not on my list as a favorite. In fact, I worked at one in Jacksonville on 103rd and didn’t work there long after I seen the manager stick her finger in the mashed potatoes of someones food. (She wasn’t even wearing gloves)! Most if not all of their food comes frozen and prebagged to portions.
Another infamous place would be Dicks Wings. At least the one on A1A was quite a joke. My husband and I ordered at the same time and mine came out first. I actually laughed out loud when I seen how small the wings were. I thought it to be a joke. By the time I finished eating them, my husbands food was out and cold. He sent it back and they put it in a microwave and brought it back. That is no way to run a business. They should have started over. My husband refused the microwaved reheated food understandably and we left. They never even offered to take it off the check. Of course we didn’t pay for his. Thats one place we will never go back too again.
To sum it up, there are many great places to go and all the good places I have mentioned had excellent service, well even the not so hot had good service. Remember, Its not the waitresses fault if the food isn’t great. They just work there. Now if the service sucks, thats a different matter.