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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
We accidentally happened upon this place while just cruising around Northeast Florida. Palatka isn't exactly a destination although it sits on the mighty St. Johns River and has a large number of marinas.
We had hoped to eat at another restaurant but it was closed. As we left town on U.S. Highway 17 we noticed a somewhat faded sign mentioning a marina and Corky Bells. We were being tailgated (nearly always the case in Northeast Florida where some of the worst drivers in the U.S. are based) so I had to shoot by the little street. I told my wife it was probably stupid to turn around and go back because the place would probably be a dive. But I'm glad we checked out. It was very nice!
Corky Bells is an attractive restaurant and it sits right next to a marina (Crystal Cove) and it's right on the St. Johns with great views. There's also a nice motel next to the restaurant and a cut above your normal, small town motel.
It's well known for seafood and steaks but I think most regulars come here for the seafood. During our Saturday afternoon lunch, we didn't see anybody else with a steak on their plate and the place was about 80% full.
The menu listed all kinds of seafood and it was heavy on shrimp prepared in many different ways. Fresh grouper and flounder were also listed and you can get either stuffed.
I started off with a cup of clam chowder and while thin and with no big chunks of clams, it was steaming hot and tasty. My wife failed to order a starter.
I ordered a lunch special consisting of fried shrimp, fried oysters and two sides. I chose good old fashioned southern cheese grits and cole slaw. The shrimp and oysters were delectable and fried perfectly golden brown. The cheese grits were perfect, not too gooey with cheese. The cole slaw was good but a little sweet for my taste.
My wife ordered a grouper sandwich, cole slaw and French fries. She raved about her lunch. And it wasn't your usual "square" piece of fish. It was actually a grouper filet.
For lunch portions, it really filled us up and the whole tab came to just $24!
It's a little hard to describe how to get to this place. Heading north on U.S. Highway 17 as you leave Palatka, it's on your right. Follow the faded sign. They don't have a dedicated web site but this page will yield a little more info here.
It's a nice place with a pretty view and good food. Go there!