Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Freeport, FL is a very casual, family restaurant. This family-owned and operated eatery has been at the same location since the mid-1950s and is being run by the third generation of the family.
Years before the restaurant opened, the site was a fish camp run by Nick and his wife, Miss Hattie. They sold bait and beer and rented boats for $1 a day. In 1963, the restaurant opened and sold raw oysters, fried shrimp, hamburgers and cold beer. Back then oysters sold for 55 cents/dozen, fried shrimp dinners were $1.55, hamburgers cost 30 cents and beer was 25 cents.The seafood was caught by local fishermen. Soon customers started coming in, parents and children, then children with their children and so on. Customers are still coming as the place was very crowded on the weeknight we dined there.
Singleton’s Seafood Shack in Jacksonville, FL, on Fort George Island was featured on the Food Network show Diner, Drives ins and Dives in 2010 and of those three choices, it fits the “dive” restaurant category best. It was opened in 1969 by Capt. Ray and Ann Singleton who fed locals and shrimpers in a small shack that has grown addition after addition and now leads out on to the St Johns River.
Singleton’s is in MayPort Village, a small fishing settlement, and we traveled there on the St. Johns River (car) Ferry (shown above) thanks to Grenville’s FL cousin.
Some folks have referred to Singleton’s as a rustic old fish camp. But as it's name states, it's a great example of a Florida seafood shack where fresh caught fish is sold and served. When you enter, there’s a fish market where you can buy fish to go. You can also dine in the indoor dining room or outside on either a covered area or now.
There are low ceilings, wooden floors, bare wood tables and wood benches. Don’t expect plates, food is served on Styrofoam with plastic utensils and beverages come in plastic cups. While burgers and BBQ are on the menu, what matters most here is the freshly caught and prepared seafood. (After all, it’s in the name and also sold out front.)
The seafood shack's decor is old nautical with lots of newspaper clippings. The late Capt. Singleton built over 130 wooden boat models. In the back of the restaurant, there's a museum with some. Reportedly, he never sold them, but many were donated to local charity auctions. (There's no charge to look at the models and marvel at their craftsmanship.)
Brett’s Waterway Cafe in Fernandina Beach, FL has a great location on the water and the seafood here was good, although pricier and served on plates with metal utensils as well (vastly different than Singleton's)From our inside seating we had a great view overlooking the Fernandina Harbor and marina on the Amelia River.
After dinner, it was a short walk to the dock for a sunset cruise. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to threatening clouds which turned into a brief storm.
Grenville's fresh catch...He didn't really reel this shark in, but posed with a "prop" near the dock.
Grenville's fresh catch...
Update — We're back n NH as our road trip ended last week. It was full of wonderful adventures visiting new places and seeing family and friends. There's a couple more posts before this trip ends online. Thanks for traveling along.