By Chef Kenny Gilbert

I love Jacksonville. My mom's side of the family has roots here; I met the love of my life Anna, my wife and business partner; and life is just easy. It's easy to get around; there are lots of opportunities here; and it's a friendly southern town.

Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Turner [flick]

Chef Kenny Gilbert's Jacksonville Guide


Photograph courtesy of Three Layers Coffee Shop

Photograph courtesy of Three Layers Coffee Shop

COFFEE | Three Layers Coffee Shop

My wife turned me on to this hidden gem. Homemade pastries, great coffee, and friendly staff. I love the sofas and homey feel.

1602 Walnut Street, Jacksonville, FL 32206
T: 904.355.9791 |

BREAKFAST | Famous Amos

I rarely go out to eat breakfast even though it's my favorite meal. But honestly I would frequent Famous Amos in Southside. My go-to meal is two eggs over medium, griddle country ham, toast with butter, and cheese grits.

3911 University Boulevard West, Jacksonville, FL 32217
T: 904.731.2322 |


HOUSEWARES | Williams-Sonoma at the Town Center

I enjoy walking around here and I love all of the gadgets, china and miscellaneous items in the store.

St. John's Town Center,  4663 River City Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246
T: 904.998.4304 | Website


VIETNAMESE | Bowl of Pho

This is my favorite lunch spot is Bowl of Pho. I love getting the Bowl of Pho special with extra tripe and tendon. The fresh herbs, bean sprouts and jalapêno is probably my favorite part about it. It's a flavor salad and bowl of soup all in one.

9902 Old Baymeadows Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256
T: 904.646.4455



Photograph courtesy of Grape and Grain Exchange & The Parlour

Photograph courtesy of Grape and Grain Exchange & The Parlour

Grape and Grain Exchange

It is awesome. The bartenders are super knowledgeable and you always leave feeling like you learned something.

2000 San Marco Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32207
T: 904.396.4455 |

Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

First class service and amazing cocktails. Johnny and his team are tops and whenever I come here he always asks what I would like to enjoy. I normally respond, 'Something with Gin.' Then a beautiful combination is created. I crave the Buffalo Chicken Livers, Shaved Celery and Blue Cheese.

4972 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246
T: 904.998.9744 |

The Bar at Restaurant Medure

The team here has created amazing cocktails. They are well balanced and delicious. My favorite from a few years ago was a Poblano Margarita. Whenever I think about margaritas, I think about this one and then I want to go see my friends Dave, Marshall, Shauna and the rest of the team. Really family more than friends. It is such a great place.

818 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
T: 904.543.3797 |

Downtown Jacksonville | Photo Credit:  Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville | Photo Credit:  Ryan Ketterman for Visit Jacksonville


I would love to see more ethnic restaurants open in Jacksonville. We have tons of transplants from all over and the foods that are all present in major metropolitan cities should be here as well. Here are some of my favorites.

KOREAN | Sam Won Garden

I love all of the kimchi and the galbi on the Hibachi grill. Along with a cold bottle of Hite or OB beer and I'm all set.

4345 University Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32216
T: 904.737.3650

Photograph courtesy of BurgerFi

Photograph courtesy of BurgerFi

INDIAN | India's Restaurant

Order the goat curry, lamb vindaloo, garlic naan bread, vegetable biryani with some Kingfisher Beer.

9802 Baymeadows Road, Suite 8, Jacksonville, FL 32256
T: 904.620.0777 |

NEW AMERICAN | Restaurant Medure

David and his team have been doing an amazing job for years. I love his food.

818 A1A North, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
T: 904.543.3797 |


When I'm craving a burger, I tend to go to come here. It's fast, the burgers have a good sear, and they are flavorful. The beer is always cold.

108 Riverside Avenue, Suite 501, Jacksonville, FL 32202 | T: 904.355.3066
4890 Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246 | T: 904.998.9060

ROAD TRIP | Amelia Island

BURGERS | Tasty's

So far my all time favorite Burger.

710 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 | T: 904.321.0409


Chef Kenny Gilbert

Kenny Gilbert is the executive chef and owner of Gilbert's Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach. Born and raised in suburban Cleveland, Kenny became known to television audiences when he competed on Top Chef's Season 7. He ended up in Florida to work with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company as an apprentice in the garde manger kitchen of their Amelia Island property. Kenny soon worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine. Over the years he has worked in different parts of Florida, eventually coming back to the Jacksonville area. In addition to his restaurant, he has a spice line called Chef Kenny’s Spice Blends. The product line includes Jerk Spice, Raging Cajun and Cinnamon Coffee Rub.

He is slated to open a second restaurant in the spring of 2016. "We are working on opening a place in Jacksonville on Riverside. Super excited! We are getting closer to opening next to GUK as well. Concept will be released soon."

"Gilbert's Underground Kitchen never fails to please for deep south cooking. Kenny Gilbert, of Top Chef fame, opened his southern kitchen and has earned rave reviews. On Friday and Saturday, he breaks out the smokers for lunch and makes some of the best 'que in Florida. Also great for dinner." - Chef Scotty Schwartz

510 S 8th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 T: 904.310.6374 |
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Photograph courtesy of Gilbert's Underground Kitchen

Photograph courtesy of Gilbert's Underground Kitchen