Spices Caribbean Restaurant in Arlington is a Jamaican eatery, serving up authentic island food full of flavorful spices and seasonings. Local favorites include curry shrimp with beans and rice or the eatery’s ever-popular cornbread and plantains. Vegetarian options are limited, the most one could get are a mix of the sides of okra, plantains, rice, and mixed vegetables. Rotating chalkboard specials bring other occasional meatless delights. Simple wood grain tables make for exceedingly casual dining, while reggae music lends a beachy vibe to Spices. Long a mom and pop secret for rich, spicy island fare, the word is largely out on Spices; waits can stretch past the front door during peak hours.
"Welcome to Moe's!” is the common refrain heard at this national chain. It’s pronounced loudly to every customer through the door, including the Moe’s Southwest Grill in Jacksonville’s East Arlington neighborhood. Home to the Homewrecker Burrito and the Art Vandalay Jr., a miniature version of the whopping vegetarian version found elsewhere on the menu. Outsized burritos, tacos and quesadillas are served with a bit of Southwestern flair, offered with a customer’s choice of protein, from all-natural chicken and sirloin beef to pulled pork and tofu. Beans, rice and accompanying vegetables round out the burritos, and each order comes with chips and salsa. The yellow, gold and red ambience, large ordering counter area and seating space comprise the bulk of the festive restaurant’s décor, along with an eclectic Moe’s playlist that plays overhead.
Dick’s quickly silences grumbling bellies with a menu of tasty grilled edibles and a tongue-tingling variety of spicy twists. Fried pickles ($4.29), buffalo shrimp ($7.49), or wings in 365 available flavors ($8.99/10) engage mouths as guests wait for the main attraction—half-pound burgers, whose meatslabs are hand-pressed and grilled to order over the heat of omnipresent flame decals. Bacon, swiss, and lettuce enrobe the Squealin' Cheeser burger ($7.59), whereas sautéed mushrooms sit proudly atop the Shroomer burger ($7.59) and a trio of cheddar, american, and jack adorn the Three Cheeser ($7.59). All burgers come with a choice of steak fries or waffle fries and can be sharpened with any of Dick’s 365 sauce blends ($0.59 additional). Before strolling over to the nearby beach to squash sandcastles, diners can clog their molars with chunks of deep-fried Oreos ($3.99), a chocolate tribute to the hamburger and a smooth ending to a spicy ride.
Hamburger Mary flipped her first burger in 1972 in San Francisco’s SOMA district. From her humble origins as the lovably eccentric icon for a late-night beer-and-burger joint, she has now crisscrossed the nation with her brand of family dining, which welcomes all open-minded people and focuses on members of the LGBT community. With cleverly mismatched dinnerware, diners dig into a menu rooted in Angus-beef burgers such as the Buffy the Burger Slayer or the 1-pound Proud Mary. Bold colors splash the walls, and colorful collages and artwork frame a fun, quirky space to encourage diners to get out of their comfort zone and finally attempt to bench-press their family members.
Burrito Gallery, hidden away in the center of downtown Jacksonville, is a unique and casual hot spot for Mexican favorites like burritos, tacos and quesadillas. Far from the usual carne asada or ground beef, customers can swing for something much more unique, like ginger teriyaki tofu tacos, which are grilled to perfection inside flour tortillas and topped with slaw. Other dishes, like Paul’s Extreme Nachos, play on the eatery’s fun side – though beer, wine and full liquor bar certainly help. The small restaurant is simplistically styled, with red tiled floors, light oak tables and local art featured across the walls. A Day of the Dead-themed mural shows off colorfully-painted skulls, while music plays loud enough for eaters on the back patio to hear.
Hightide Burrito Co.’s menu bathes eyes in wave after savory wave of fresh, delicious recipes from Central Mexicoland. Start with chips and guacamole ($3.40) or bottomless chips and salsa ($4.99), then nibble at cheese quesadillas ($6.50) with pico de gallo and mushrooms. Lupe's famous Baja fish tacos include panko-breaded fish, shredded cabbage, lime, and a tangy white sauce placed expertly into two soft and fresh homemade tortillas ($7.50). The house special is the Hightide burrito, served with your choice of panko-breaded or grilled fish ($7.50). Sweeten your esophagus's attitude with an apple chimichanga: stewed apples stuffed inside a crispy tortilla drizzled with cinnamon, caramel, and whipped cream ($5.99).