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Jun 30, 2008 02:03 PM

Thanksgiving at Fernandina/Amelia Island

We're thinking of spending Thanksgiving weekend at Fernandina Beach but are afraid that all the restaurants will be closed for Thanksgiving dinner. I know we could go to the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton, but that's a bit steep for our pocketbooks. Does anyone know if any of the restaurants in Fernandina Beach proper are open for Thanksgiving dinner?

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  1. Check the Florida House Inn & the Beech Street Grill I know Joe's Second St. Bistro is open, but I don't recommend it!

    1. Bess -- I've organized family reunions for T-Day three years now at Fernandina Beach since we've got folks coming from the Carolina's as well as FL, and ran into a major problem with most restaurants being closed that day.

      Four years ago we went to the Florida House Inn and it was great, but last year the owners changed their menu for the day and the price got very high -- $60 for a buffet that didn't look worth that price. So we ended up going casual at Barbara Jeans, which was fine and very fairly priced; we sat outside on the back porch and enjoyed some wonderful crab cakes in addition to the usual turkey and trimmings.

      Another year we went to the Verandah Restaurant at the Amelia Island Plantation (not right in town, but only a 15 minute drive or so), which was excellent. There was a special menu with a couple choices for appetizer and entree, including turkey, and dessert was included. I think the cost was in the 30s for all three courses. Everyone loved their meals.

      Another year we went to a restaurant that closed.

      I've lived in Florida for 30 years and I know of no other town that shuts down most their restaurants on Thanksgiving -- but Fernandina is a fun place on the Friday after, when the merchants downtown host their annual Pajama Shopping Day where everyone is invited to wear pajamas and funny hats and slippers and if you dress up, you get 15% in most the shops. There is usually music along the streets, food and drink at each merchant (like cookies, juice, coffee, etc.) and it's pretty entertaining just to watch folks stroll by in various jammy wear!

      Let me know if I can help further....Barbara

      5 Replies
      1. re: bcodom

        Thanks so much for your help. The local chamber of commerce gave me a list of possible restaurants that might be open, but it's pretty long. (See below.) If anybody knows anything about any of these places (except maybe Shoney's), I'd be interested to hear. I appreciate your good advice.

        Barbara Jean’s
        Beech Street
        Beef O’Brady’s
        Bright Mornings
        Café’ Karibo
        Golf Club of A.I.
        Green Turtle
        Lulu’s Bar & Grill
        Frisky Mermaid
        29 South
        The Surf

        1. re: BESSINFLA

          Barbara Jean's is definitely open -- see my previous comment.

          Beech Street Grill is highly recommended. They were open last year for Thanksgiving but the special menu was high and we felt the prices were more reasonable at the Verandah. However, next time we all meet at Amelia for the holiday, we're going to try Beech Street since it's always on the "tops" lists for the area.

          Brett's on the Waterfront was closed the last couple years and I wouldn't recommend it if it were to open this year. Touristy; not that special.

          Pompeo's is Italian -- was not open the last couple years.

          O'Kane's is an Irish pub downtown and isn't bad for a reuben at lunch, but again, was not open last year for T-Day.

          Frisky Mermaid is the restaurant at Florida House Inn -- open for T-Day but pricey. Check for their regular menu -- a Turkey Club for $9.95. Their Thanksgiving buffet last year was $60 -- we passed and went to the Verandah.

          The Surf is highly recommended, a casual spot on the beach; I don't remember if I called them for T-Day last year.

          Woody's is barbecue -- closed last year for T-Day. Sonny's Barbecue looked open until you got close -- they were open for a private party only last T-Day.

          The last item on your list is the Verandah at the Plantation -- very nice -- see my previous comments.

          I'm afraid I can't comment on the rest, other than, surely you're not interested in Shoney's for T-Day : )


          Unless a whole bunch of restaurants are changing their minds and opening for the first time in years, the Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce is being a little optimistic. But then, that's their job I guess!

          If your group can spend high $20s/low 30s for dinner, I'd recommend Beech Street or the Verandah. If you're more budget minded, my recommendation is Barbara Jean's. I hope this helped a little...Barbara

          1. re: BESSINFLA

            29 South is excellent--old fashioned food with a twist, all very fresh and largely locally sourced. It's a bit small, so if they're open, make a reservation well in advance. We thought Beech Street was so-so, but I would imagine they'd do a very nice T'giving dinner; service was good, and the place is pretty big. Bonitos is Japanese/fusion, with a sushi bar in front and a dark, clubby dining room in back. If they're open, I can't see them doing a traditional turkey dinner... on the other hand, their sushi is excellent. Beef O'Brady's is a sports pub--no way would I have T'giving dinner there, if they even serve one. You know Shoney's, right? Like Denny's... wouldn't be my choice.
            Good luck!

            1. re: Miss E

              Thanks so much for what sounds like some good advice. I'll check into Beech Street Grill, Verandah, 29 South and a few others.

              That list from the chamber of commerce was a little strange, wasn't it?

              1. re: BESSINFLA

                >>That list from the chamber of commerce was a little strange, wasn't it?

                I think they gave you a list of *all* restaurants for you to call yourself -- a task I've done and done again, so I'm glad to save someone a little time!! Please post a report in November for future trips....Barbara