Serving up sauce-slathered eats since 1980, Woody's has garnered praise from publications including the Ledger and continues to woo taste buds with succulent ribs, chicken, pork, and sides. Patrons can perform cheek-stretching calisthenics with the super sampler starter, a piled-high platter of pop-able bites including fried garlic mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, corn nuggets, and onion rings ($7.99), before moving on to a main event such as a full rack of Woody's signature baby back ribs, featuring pork that slips off the bone as sure as a cat slips off an ice sculpture of a larger cat ($14.99). Meat disciplinarians might consider the Sloppy Woody, pulled pork and Woody's secret sauce caught in a prison of formalist bread loaves ($6.99). Vegetarians are invited to pig out on the tossed salad ($2.69) or the country vegetables ($1.89).
Thirty years ago, a mother, a son, and his wife joined forces to create their own barbecue restaurant, starting with family-inspired, made-from-scratch recipes. They formula proved to be a success, and Woody’s Bar-B-Q now dishes the same quality eats from locations in six states. The restaurant’s defining secret sauce decorates baby back ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and roasted half-chickens at each location.
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.
Chef Pedro Ramirez can often be seen hovering over a crackling spit, tending to the pig that roasts over its flame in the open air. When the bounty is finished cooking, Ramirez whips it up into pork sandwiches and platters—a Ramirez Restaurant specialty for nearly two decades. A retired US Navy Chief, Ramirez now leads his kitchen staff as they craft fresh ingredients into authentic Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican dishes infused with homemade spices akin to the ones used by Ramirez's ancestors from Santo Domingo. In the dining room, designed in the style of a beach bungalow, Latin paintings hang over tables topped with homemade sangria and margaritas, and an outdoor patio supports the tropical atmosphere with flags and strands of lights as powerful as a billionth of a sun.
Shaughnessy's Sports Grill sates fans of sports and traditional pub fare with meaty burgers, sandwiches, and ribs to pair with frothy imported and domestic brews. Televisions broadcast local and national sporting events into the bar, where cheers spontaneously erupt after scores and successful fry-stealing missions. When the TVs turn off, neon signs behind the bar light up the action for weekly events that include Texas hold'em tournaments, mind-bending trivia contests, and live music on Friday nights. Light wood paneling accents the restaurant’s forest-green walls, which hold up dartboards and a kaleidoscopic array of sports jerseys donated by jaded fans and exiled mascots.
Maui Grill began the way that many great adventures begin: with a hot dog cart. After working as Wolfgang Puck's kitchen manager at Spago in Maui, Chef Don went rogue, and on Independence Day 2009, amid raging bursts of firework light, he opened his cart for business. One cart became two, and in 2012, became Maui Grill, an indoor Hawaiian eatery ripe for luau-style grub. Shrimp and seafood get gussied up with sweet Asian sauce and coconut, leaving plenty of room for garnishes of house-made mango and papaya salsa. After two-handing a burger or sandwich with pineapple slaw, patrons can question Chef Don about his time cooking in the Navy or ask a Hawaiian shaved ice if it's ever considered other depilatory methods.
U.S. veterans and grill owners Nick and Brad populate their eatery's all-American menu with behemoth burgers, scrumptious wraps, and savory seafood dishes. Troll a spoon around a bowl of Guinness chili, concocted from fresh ground beef, spices, and Guinness ($5.95), or dunk an appetite in the golden-brown deliciousness of the fish 'n' chips ($10.95). The Five-Alarm burger, a third-pound ground-beef patty, ignites mouths with flames of spicy chipotle mayo and hot peppers and melted american-cheese kindling ($7.95). Wraps such as the veggie ($6.95) or shrimp ($7.95) bind ingredients with a flour tortilla and the power vested in Nick and Brad by the state of Florida.