With unique and clever dishes and an eclectic tasting menu, Jack & Diane’s is a welcoming family-run restaurant in downtown Fernandina Beach.
Few restaurant owners and chefs have the enthusiasm of Lisa Jones, head of the family-run Jack & Diane’s on Centre Street. The restaurant’s five-page menu reflects Jones’ love for cooking, traveling, and family. Named for her grandparents’ favorite love song, Jack & Diane’s features many of her grandmother’s personal recipes. On a recent afternoon, my friend Terry and I decided to stop into the restaurant for lunch, and to take a look at their gallery of photos, paintings, and posters.
Celebrating their fourth year in business, Jack & Diane’s has expanded their menu to include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and catering, including unique and clever dishes such as crepes, bowls of stew, and appetizers with worldly influences. We let our server, Jim, offer some suggestions and we started off our meal with Bruschetta, and a dish called Stella, artichokes stuffed with tomato, onion, basil, red pepper, blue cheese, and balsamic glaze. The Bruschetta had a lovely tomato pesto topping sprinkled with goat cheese. Terry and I each had a glass of Sir Perry Pear Cider and Kopparberg Strawberry Cider. What a nice treat! Just barely sweet and sparkling, they were wonderfully thirst-quenching on a warm day.
Jack & Diane’s tasting menu allows diners to experience several different dishes at a low price. We wanted to try everything because it looked so good, but decided to order Bow Thai Salad, Black Bean Cake Salad, Jacques Special Crepe, plus Shrimp & Grits. Wow. The Bow Thai Salad was a bed of greens tossed with Thai peanut chicken, mango salsa, feta cheese, onions, and trail mix with crema dressing. The chicken was very tender, the greens fresh, and I loved the crunchy nuts and fruits of the trail mix—a creative combination of color and flavors. Our Black Bean Cake Salad was a spicy homemade black bean cake sitting atop a bed of greens, with tomatoes, onions, trail mix, and croutons, with a creamy cilantro dressing. It made a hearty vegetarian entrée.
I love that Jack & Diane’s makes crepes! Our Jacques Special Crepe would be a wonderful offering for any time of the day. It is filled with a luscious blend of cheeses, and topped with smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes, onion, and tapenade. And the Shrimp & Grits was Terry’s favorite, featuring coarse, stone-ground grits topped with tender shrimp and stewed in a sweet tomato base with onions and peppers. While we nibbled on our entrees, we sampled some of Jack & Diane’s microbrew beer varieties. I was amazed at the selection of interesting beer at Jack & Diane’s! We tried I.C. Light Mango Beer, Tangerine Wheat Beer, Monte Python Holy Ale, and Hebrew Messiah Nut Brown Ale. All were very tasty, indeed, but I think my favorite was the Monte Python, which was very delicate for ale, and perfect for someone like me who doesn’t drink beer very often.
Lisa then brought us a bowl of bread pudding with whipped cream, which featured apples and berries in a delicious, warm custard. A yummy dessert that was just sweet enough. Jones joked that several of her customers order this bread pudding for breakfast, and I could certainly see why.
Jack & Diane’s is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they are available for special events and catering for all occasions. The restaurant also features a gift shop and artwork by local artists and family members.