Hello everyone! An update before we jump into this: I’m in the middle of a job change. I decided a work from wherever type job would be best for me and the amount of traveling we do. It wasn’t an easy decision as I enjoyed the job I was currently at, but miserable having to deal with the constant feeling of the weight of the world on my shoulders. So I’m taking a month off to gather myself and just travel some. I’ll be back to work in July, but as I said it’ll be a work from wherever so expect a lot of content!
“All of my problems seem to drift away when I eat seafood”
Alright, so my mother recently moved to Florida which means I’ll be exploring a lot of the state in the next month. She’s based near Fernandina Beach and we LOVED it. It felt like a mini St. Augustine. We only spent a short weekend there, but I’ll be heading back next week for more adventures and be able to give you my full thoughts on the area. For now, let’s settle in on what is in my opinion the best restaurant/bar in the area.
The Sand Dollar
Originally built in 1954 before being redone in 1988, the Sandollar has been a staple on Fort George Island for decades. Its current owner has been been serving the area for 15 years and let me tell you, it’s worth every single penny. Fresh seafood, from scratch margaritas, and a view of the river brings about one of the coolest atmospheres in the Jax area. The staff are hard working and kind as can be. Shout out to our server Britney for juggling us and the most demanding table known to mankind.
Starting off, let’s point out that I never miss out on a good drink. If someone tells me there are fresh berry margaritas, I want to be signed the hell up. These babies were blackberry margs, made by manager Cindy. Let me tell you, they were so good even Alex got one. He’s not huge on alcoholic drinks but he attempted to steal mine after I offered him a taste. However, if you prefer your margs on the heavy alcohol side, I’d recommend the grapefruit mango ones. Y’all, I was seeing sound and hearing colors.
We started out with their Fish Bites appetizer and I don’t think I’ve ever had fish that tasted SO good. The bites melt in the mouth and I was sad when we finished them. I don’t know what the sauce they served with them was but it was flavorful with a small kick at the end. It really brought out the flavor of the fish, which of course was fresh. I would make a meal out of these. I really would.
Topping off our margaritas, we chatted with the staff and just took in the environment. The entire place had the feeling of a fisher’s house with nets and fishing poles hung up on the ceiling, but then down in the dining room area there were red tufted chairs that looked like velvet and seemed super comfortable. It was an interesting mix of décor that actually flowed together really well.
I ordered their Grouper Portofino. It came smothered in their portofino sauce with mushrooms, scallops, artichoke, and shrimp with a side of a loaded baked potato and hush puppies. Now, I’m not supposed to be eating hush puppies, the gluten tears up my stomach, but I COULD NOT HELP IT. They were delicious! The whole dish was fantastic, but I do think the portofino sauce overtook the flavor of the Grouper. Overall, 9/10 would order again.
Alex ordered their Crab Stuffed Shrimp. It came with the same portofino sauce but I had major food envy. The crab was fresh and delicious and I’m SUPER picky about crab meat after living in the Delmarva area for so long. Alex was slightly disappointed there wasn’t more shrimp in the dish, but the amount of crab meat made up for it. I also know what I’ll be ordering when I go back. 10/10 will be ordering again.
With ordering our dessert, we ended up with the aforementioned killer grapefruit mango margaritas. Take it slow, do not race through these. Trust me.
Moving along, we all ended up ordering the Milky Way Chocolate cake. Y’all, I don’t even have words to describe how amazing this multi layered cake was. Again, not supposed to have and once again, I could not help myself. I decided it was fine if I suffered from the gluten for this beauty.
Overall, the Sandollar is a 10 out of 10 for atmosphere, food, drinks, and general experience. Do not go in expecting a quick meal. First of all, you need to get in early for a good table or head to the first come first serve bar. When we got there, we were lucky enough to find a table at the bar because it was an hour wait otherwise. Take your time, enjoy the company, and if you want, the live music. Oh yeah, they have live music set up on the weekends and karaoke on Wednesday nights. Wednesdays and Thursdays also have $16 1 lbs. crab legs. We watched servings of these go by and I assure you, they’ll be worth it. You also have Prime Rib night on Tuesdays starting at 5 pm. My sister partook in this $15.95 deal when she was there last time. Said it was an amazing meal, which is a lot from her considering she’s in culinary school.
Take in the sights and sounds around you after your meal and just enjoy the Sandollar. If you do go, tell them Holly’s daughter sent you. As usual, travel safe and travel often.