29 South is a restaurant we have driven past on numerous occasions while exploring the side streets of historic Fernandina Beach, Florida. Due to one thing or another Becky and I have not able to stop in for dinner until a recent trip to Amelia Island. With Mason and Miss Julia under the watchful eye of our dear friend Charlotte we headed out for date night.
The restaurant is located fittingly at 29 S. 3rd Street in an old two story building that in the past most likely served as a private residence. Dark gray clapboards surrounded the building. The porch railings were white while the doors and windows painted yellow provided a visual pop. A small kitchen garden is located at the rear of the building and we passed it several times while circling around searching for on street parking.
A short walk from our car over the weathered porch and through the front door took us into a minimalistic black and white interior with red accents. As it was a very pleasant north Florida evening and we decided to sit outside on the wraparound porch. Rectangular black metal tables dotted the porch and we took a place at one along the rail.
Our waitress appeared and gave us two menus while taking our drink order. She reappeared promptly and ran down the specials. 29 South whenever possible sources its ingredients from area farms and Becky was happy to see two from Hilliard, Florida listed on the menu. After weighing our options we ordered the Fried Green Shorts Stack as an appetizer and I selected the Pork Cheek Sliders as my entrée.
Four fried green tomatoes arrived on a rectangular white plate topped with red pepper jam and fresh greens. The tomatoes were golden brown and stuffed with goat cheese. The flavors were great while the textures were outstanding. The creaminess of the goat cheese played well with the firmness of the tomato, and the crispness of breading.
The pork cheek sliders arrived as we were finishing up the tomatoes. Two small square powdered buns full of pork cheek braised in Adobo sauce sat on opposites side of the rectangular white ceramic plate. Fresh salsa verde covered the two sliders while a mixed green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette occupied the center. The pork cheek was very tender and fell apart in my mouth. The salsa verde provided the right amount of heat. My only complaint was that I wished there was a third slider on the plate.
For dessert we shared the Chocolate Soufflé Disaster. It consisted of a fallen flourless chocolate cake served with a gigantic scoop of butter pecan ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. It could have served four and punctuated our meal with a huge chocolate fix.
Service at 29 South was flawless and the restaurant was immaculate. We enjoyed our meal on the porch and our brief visit from Mattie the one-eyed cat who roams on 3rd Street. 29 South is open for brunch on Sunday from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m., lunch on Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 – 2:30 p.m., and dinner on Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (904) 277-7919 or visiting their website. 29 South accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: