Grinders American Diner on Atlantic Blvd in Arlington serves up hearty-sized breakfasts and lunches, including classics like meatloaf smothered in brown gravy and country fried steak. The unassuming little diner offers plenty of counter seating and simple wood grain tables, complete with black leather chairs. A chalkboard above the counter clues patrons in to the soup of the day, daily specials and a rotating sandwich option. Drop by often enough and you’ll start to hone in on favorites like the tuna melt, fried green tomatoes or build-your-own omelets. And while you’re there, be on the lookout for old timers squatting over a coffee and the morning paper, fast talking businessmen grabbing a bite before work and a sizeable lunch crowd that runs the gamut from regulars to hurried first-timers.
In the kitchen of Aroy Thai Fusion, chefs prepare basil stir-fry, pad kee mao, and a wide range of Thai-influenced dishes. The Bangkok fusion menu joins flavors from disparate regions to create entrees such as baked lemongrass-lime tilapia or thai barbecue roast pork. In the dining room, guests can settle into booths below hanging lights or slide onto dark wooden chairs at a full bar before sipping beer or house wine.
Secret Garden Café made its national debut in 2011 on the Food Network channel when it appeared on Restaurant: Impossible, where Robert Irvine and his team overhauled the menu and gave the restaurant a spruce-up. Since then, patrons have embraced the eclectic breakfast and lunch offerings by this Southside café. Early morning options include the Hot Mess (three eggs scrambled with bacon, sausage and ham on a bed of café potatoes, with shredded cheese and diced tomatoes) and lunches like the fried bologna sandwich or black bean burger. Inside, simple tile floors, wood tables, chairs and benches provide ample seating, and colorful sea foam green walls, pottery and garden art give off the note of a tucked away orchard. Warm sconce lighting gives Secret Garden Café a warmhearted vibe.
Blue Bamboo sits on Jacksonville’s south side, spinning hip Asian flavors with Southern comfort food inside their fresh, inviting space. Considered one of the best restaurants in town, you’ll find dishes like red curry shrimp & grits, honey-seared ahi tuna and peppercorn beef filet on offer at Blue Bamboo, which also holds cooking classes and does the occasional catering gig. Known for their dim sum Sundays and exotic cocktails like Thai-garitas and hand-muddled mojitos, the cream colored walls, white linen tables and red hanging paper lanterns give the place a comfortable feel. Don’t leave without trying the dragon whiskers (fried zucchini).
North Beach Bistro is more than a restaurant?it's a legacy. The upscale eatery was the vision of renowned chef Tony Pels, who trained with culinary giants such as Wolfgang Puck and Michel Richard, and chef David Seavey, whom Pels mentored for 15 years at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Pels passed away only two months before the restaurant's opening in June of 2008, leaving executive chef Seavey to carry on his tradition of culinary creativity and generosity.
Spurred on by this responsibility, Seavey combines the freshest ingredients with a genuine love for his fellow Floridians. The Jacksonville native crafts hearty and flavorful surf 'n' turf entrees such as the bistro bouillabaisse with Mayport shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, calamari, and fresh fish or chargrilled Black Angus ribeye with sauteed mushrooms and port wine sauce. Reddish-gold fixtures in the bar emanate light that's as warm and welcoming as the chef himself. DJs and live music keep the space vibrant, and the dining room's wood floors and spot-lit art give it an air of sophistication. Weekly trivia nights arm guests with knowledge that makes an ideal conversation starter or helps pass the time while stuck in an elevator with Ken Jennings.