Inside Giuliano's Italian Restaurant, George Gjergj and Leonard Gjergji's family recipes guide them as they stuff shells with ricotta cheese, sauté shrimp in homemade marinara sauce, and drizzle merlot reduction onto char-grilled filet mignon. Specialty pizzas marry ingredients such as grilled chicken and pesto or sliced steak and sautéed onions. A bottomless lunch buffet brims with slices of pizza like the description of a third grader’s dream job, and calzones slice open to reveal ricotta and ham.
Fusing the atmosphere of a cool live blues club and a casual beachside restaurant, Blues Rock Inn invites diners to unwind over ping-pong and drinks or enjoy a tasty seafood supper before a concert. After ordering cocktails from a full bar, diners drink in ocean views and peruse a menu brimming with crispy fried fare such as a white fish po boy sandwich ($6.95) or a platter of chicken wings tossed in a selection of six sauces ranging from mild to fuego, which arrives hot enough to melt the hands off of a family of ice sculptures on a dinner outing ($6.95). Crab cakes bulge with golden-brown lump crabmeat and house-recipe honey mustard ($11.95), and a philly cheesesteak stuffs its bready cheeks with a sizzling stack of grilled peppers, onions, and steak covered in melted provolone ($7.95). The Blues burger slathers smoky bacon with rich, zesty barbecue sauce painstakingly milked from a depressed guitar ($6.95). Entertainment options rotate nightly; Monday sessions invite patrons to take to the stage to wield an open mic, and ping-pong nights draw competitive paddlers to swat feather-light orbs back and forth. A large nightclub, separated from the dining area, hosts blues bands and dancers, and pianists and guitarists tickle keys or strings at an easy-going restaurant bar.
Mom-and-pop team Vicki and Sanford Gray furnishes hungry twosomes and foursomes with all-beef hot dogs, sausages, and burgers at a storefront evoking a beach-style hut, located just a few blocks from the Atlantic. The lunch menu calls forth comestibles including 16 hot-dog variations, which range from the chicago dog to the texas dog topped with chili, onions, and jalapeños. Sausages such as kielbasa expand the hut's encased meat offerings, and non-encased fare such as the north carolina burger silences belly yodels with heaps of chili, cheese, slaw, and onions. Sides cook in trans-fat-free oil to a golden-brown crispness previously thought attainable only by kissing the sun, and fries come dusted in choice of flavoring including bay seasoning or ranch.
A lively, friendly atmosphere underscores the Irish flavor at Fionn MacCool's, which is located just 100 feet from the beach. Topping an expansive menu of domestic and Emerald Isle–inspired delights is pub grub such as the savory ha'penny boxty ($9.99), a potato-pancake pillow stuffed with comforts of tender corned beef, buttered cabbage, and mustard-cream sauce. Sit atop the comfy pub furnishings, some of which are imported from Ireland, and corral your appetite into a conveniently placed pen with the shepherd's pie ($9.99 pub-grub menu, $10.95 entree), a hodgepodge of precious minced sirloin beef with baked veggies (carrots, onions, celery, and peas), crust, and tangy gravy. Alternatively, fully digest the pleasing, percussive potato-sausage rhythms of the bangers and mash ($9.99 pub-grub menu, $10.95 entree).
Engine 15 Brewing Co.'s beginnings go back a long time—to the year 1988, when college freshman Luch Scremin took a stab at brewing his own beer. Bereft of the Internet, he spied a brewing kit in an old issue of Popular Mechanics. His first creations weren't noteworthy, but that’s beside the point. After attending the Siebel Institute, he got a job in the airline industry, which afforded the opportunity to travel the world and sample its many exceptional beers. Both matured and inspired by the experience, Luch met some business partners in 2008, and Engine 15 Brewing Co. soon followed.
Today, the craft brewery's creations reflect the values symbolized by Luch's 1962 Ford Fire Engine—time-tested know-how, determination, and camaraderie. At Engine 15's brewpub, taps spew forth original drafts such as the (904) Weissguy, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen whose cloudy body contains notes of clove, orange, and coriander. These stalwart drafts, plus seasonal creations such as the sweet-potato brown ale, grace the brewpub menu on a rotating basis, with current offerings scrawled on a blackboard or across the foreheads of dedicated waiters. Along with drawing drinks from Engine 15's freshest kegs, bartenders also pour beers from other well-respected craft breweries, such as Left Hand, Dogfish Head, and Southern Tier.
Not one to forget his roots, Luch also teaches other hopeful beer barons through hands-on Brew Your Own tutorials. With his guidance, guests brew four 22-ounce-bottle cases of styles such as raspberry wheat and oak-aged imperial stout.
The aroma of expertly grilled meats and seafood fills the smoke-friendly Monkey's Uncle Tavern, opened by Carter Guillen in 1985 after spending two decades working in bars and restaurants. Barkeeps dispense draft beers, wines, and cocktails from behind a rectangular bar, a shape that, according to The Florida Times-Union, "forces eye contact among patrons, which tends to make people act more neighborly — sitting there, you feel you know what 'Cheers' might have been like."
Along with culinary treats, Carter crams the tavern's interior with a plentitude of games, including pool tables and dartboards, or rounds of team trivia and bar bingo. In between bouts, a dance floor and award-winning karaoke summon grooves and croons from music fans and ambitious robins. Servers flit platters of fresh shrimp and buffalo wings to up to 70 guests inhaling fresh air on the outdoor patio, while an adjacent liquor store, Monkey's Uncle Liquors, stocks domestic and imported booze, beer, and wine for at-home libations.