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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
We tried to dine at this restaurant one Saturday around noon but there was no place to park. But a late winter try on a Sunday around 2pm proved successful. We got the last parking hole at the restaurant itself although there is a lot next door that is used primary by beachgoers. The restaurant sits right on the edge of the beach offering great views of the Atlantic and diving seabirds.
There's a lot of history to this place although it doesn't look like much from the outside. It looks more like a small hotel than restaurant and in fact, that's what it used to be in the 40s and 50s. Now its an interesting bar and eatery with inside, porch and outside seating. If you have the option, dine out in the open air, kick off your shoes, and tickle the sand with your tootsies!
This is a very casual place favored by families with kids, thanks largely to their huge sandbox and swing set right next to the outdoor seating. It's also popular with folks who like to nurse cocktails and we noticed quite a few well-to-do older couples doing just that.
The lunch menu listed a number of good sounding choices but my wife and I both went with the special that afternoon -- the fried grouper basket with cole slaw and fries. For a starter, we picked out a southern favorite -- deep fried dill pickles.
It was a sunny and perfect Sunday to sit out in the sun and we were partially shaded by an umbrella at the table. The pickles were good but not quite as good as we've had at other places. The batter was pretty salty. They were very greasy (no problem there, they always are!) and the serving portion was absolutely huge. We ate about half. They were served with some sort of a ranch dressing.
The fried grouper baskets were impressive. Each came with a big filet of grouper, some so-so fries and very good cole slaw. Since we used to own a boat on the Gulf coast and caught grouper all the time, I can tell you that this was actually grouper. Many restaurants say what they are serving is grouper when it's actually a cheaper and inferior substitute. The portion of the fish was big, almost like you get in pubs in London. I'd say each filet was probably 7 or 8 ounces. It was cooked perfectly and delicious. The price tag, as I recall, about nine bucks.
While this is a very pleasant experience, prices looked a little on the high side for dinner. Their seafood platter went for something like $25 when most other seafood joints serve up the same thing for $16-$18.
There's a path right behind the restaurant that leads directly to the beach. Lots of people headed out that way after enjoying their meals.
While this place certainly isn't a perfect ten, we had a very nice experience and really enjoyed the fresh air, food, and view of the ocean.
You'll find Sliders Seafood Grill at 1998 South Fletcher Avenue in Fernandina Beach. They're just past the rotary or roundabout (traffic circle). Be careful after leaving the rotary and pulling into the little lot to park. We damned near got rear ended. Drivers are dedicated tailgaters in this part of Florida.
They have a somewhat uninspiring web site here.