The passage of time does weird things to the mind. When I was a kid old people would tell me time speeds up as you age. My response was to look at them and think y’all are crazy. On our drive to Fernandina Beach, FL to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary I took a moment to reevaluate my stance. Ten years? It felt like just yesterday we celebrated our wedding day and I watched the most beautiful bride, my wife to be, walk down the aisle at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
I can be quite the romantic and as we crossed the inter-coastal water I held Becky’s hand, looked into her eyes, and asked, “What do you want for lunch?” We decided to see what we could discover downtown parked in the front of a realtor’s office. Strolling up Centre Street a sign for the Happy Tomato Courtyard Café & BBQ caught our eye and we decided to stop in for a sandwich. The restaurant is located down a short walkway at 7 South 3rd Street.
The Happy Tomato offers salads, sandwiches, and BBQ. Since we had dinner reservations later that evening I opted for something light, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with a side of chips and a beer. Becky ordered the chicken salad sandwich. The cashier told us to take a seat and that she would bring our lunches out shortly.
Two seating options are provided at the Happy Tomato. The first is a series of three small round tables inside the restaurant’s small building. The second is a lovely courtyard complete with black metal tables, chairs, and colorful umbrellas. We chose the latter option and sipped on our drinks while unwinding after a two and a half hour drive.
Our sandwiches arrived in simple plastic baskets lined with wax paper. I was greeted by an over-sized hamburger bun piled high with pulled pork. Two dill pickle chips sat next to the sandwich, and a small container of each of their three sauces were included on the side. The pork was moist with a slight smoke flavor. I would have enjoyed more smoked flavor and a bit of the bark, but it was still a good sandwich. The spicy lived up to its name and beads of sweat collected on my brow. Their sweet BBQ tasted like it was poured from a bottle, while the mustard variety was average.
Becky enjoyed her chicken salad and was happy to report it was not too mayonnaisey. Service was friendly and fast, and sitting in the courtyard made for a very enjoyable lunch. The Happy Tomato is open Mon – Sat 11:00 am – 5 pm. The restaurant can be found online at thehappytomatocafe.com, on Facebook, and telephoned at (904) 321-0707.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: