Though not traditionally considered a first-date food, a romantic pit-barbecue lunch or dinner functions as a relationship barometer, marking a milestone in your relationship's level of security and sauce. Take your saucy sweetie to Dave's Brick Pit BBQ for the restaurant's titular barbecue, made authentically in a brick pit over hickory and oak wood. Try a pulled-pork sandwich with house-made slaw, or a traditional cheeseburger with sweet-potato fries. Once the sun is hanging low and all the day's duels are done, start dinner off with appetizers such as fried pickles, fried corn nuggets, or fried mushrooms. Dinners come on plate-shaped pedestals, served with two sides and two pieces of garlic bread for sopping up loose sauce. Endulge in a tumbling-off-the-bone baby-back-rib dinner or brick-pit pork. Balance the scales with a tossed salad, then give up the battle altogether and indulge in a gooey dessert. A variety of libations are also available to cleanse barbecue-saturated palates; draft beer comes by the pitcher, or get fancy with a margarita or Jim Beam and coke.
Substituting fat for more healthful probiotics, Yobe refreshes taste buds with guilt-free spoonfuls of all-natural self-serve yogurt. Made with organic milk, real fruit, and no artificial sweeteners, each ounce of yogurt packs just 25 calories, letting diet-conscious taste-testers engorge stomachs while tightening belts. The shops' soft-serve machines dish out 31 classic and exotic flavors such as açaí berry, passion fruit, lychee, and vanilla ($0.49/oz). After piling bowls high with toppings, such as fresh banana, kiwi, pineapple, or m&ms, cookie dough, or peanut-butter cups, tone-deaf taste buds find themselves serenading incisors with John Fogerty lyrics.
Enthralled with the art of pizza-making, a trio of college students opened the first Mellow Mushroom 37 years ago in a former liquor establishment. Popularity bred new locations, doling out stone-baked pizzas sprinkled with unusual ingredients such as broccoli, pineapple, pesto chicken, caramelized onions, provolone cheese, and banana peppers. Chefs express their subconscious hoarding problems by stuffing a host of ingredients inside of calzones and hoagies, whose hearty compositions may be offset by crisp salads. Mellow Mushroom remains open late for night owls and offers catering services to help keep company meetings and divorce parties stress-free.
Hurricane Grill & Wings showcases its library of more than 30 sauces in dishes that blend American, Mexican, and tropical influences. Their sauces' level of spiciness mimics hurricane intensity ratings, from the honey or mango barbecue options occupying Category 1 to the Ridiculously Hot Hurricane sauce in Category 5. In between sit flavors of ancho chili and lime, Jamaican jerk, chipotle raspberry, and spicy sweet chili. Baskets of jumbo or boneless wings come tossed in guests’ sauces of choice, as do grilled chicken or mahi-mahi sandwiches.
Elsewhere on the menu are tropically themed selections such as firecracker shrimp tacos, Southwest-style churrasco steak, and Monterey jack–filled quesadillas. The to-go menu can accommodate large gatherings, such as sports-watching parties or jury-duty reunions. Meanwhile, the full bar features island cocktails and bottle and tap beers from a variety of microbreweries to help subdue roaring mouth fires.
Mojo's owner and proprietor, Todd Lineberry, grew up in North Carolina, right in the epicenter of one of the most thriving barbecue regions in the country. Todd grew to appreciate the distinctive tastes and flavors of different barbecue traditions, which is why he fuses flavors from the major barbecue regions—North Carolina, Memphis, Kansas City, Texas, and the tour bus for the Charlie Daniels Band—into the dishes served at Mojo. Using authentic cooking techniques and housemade sauces, chefs stuff the menu with dishes such as pulled-pork shoulder, pit-smoked chicken, and chopped-brisket sandwiches. To complement these regional barbecued delicacies, they also prepare housemade Southern sides such as collard greens and creamy coleslaw.
Each Mojo Jacksonville-area location has an identity as distinct as the dishes it serves. Live blues music permeates the airwaves and nearby ocean waves at Mojo Kitchen, BBQ Pit, and Blues Bar, while Mojo no. 4 stocks more than 175 whiskies such as Jameson, The Macallan, Wild Turkey, and Jack Daniels. Each location also caters for parties and events of all types.