It wasn’t until I started traveling that I really found a passion for food. I had always loved to cook, but trying new foods as I traveled created an addiction to finding the best of the best restaurants wherever I went. Whether they were small mom and pop places that did one dish really well or a high-end restaurant with a chef obsessed with fusion. I wasn’t biased, I just wanted to make my palette happy.
So when I moved from the rural midwest where such restaurants were nonexistent to the bustling city of Jacksonville, I was ecstatic about all of the new restaurants waiting to be explored. Naturally, I joined a few community pages and one of the first things I wanted to know was: where can I get the best burger in Jacksonville? Then I waited. And the post blew up with comment after comment featuring a single word “Poes.”
Of course, I was intrigued. It turns out everyone was referring to “Poe’s Tavern” on Atlantic Blvd, just blocks from Neptune Beach. You guys. It doesn’t get more interesting or delicious than Poe’s. Named in honor of talented and troubled author Edgar Allan Poe, Poe’s Tavern first opened on Sullivan’s Island near Charleston, South Carolina in 2003, and expanded to north Florida in the summer of 2011. This gastropub features over 50 beers including craft and regional selections, but what they’re best known for are their gourmet burgers. They’re ground in-house and if you’re smart (take it from a local, be smart) you order them with a side of the best hand-cut french fries you’ll ever have.
On my first visit, I ordered the Gold Bug Plus with Sweet Pepper Goat Cheese and haven’t looked back since. It’s a delicious half pound burger topped with sweet pepper goat cheese, fried onions, tomato and pickles served on a brioche bun. It’s become my go-to every time I visit, and we visit often, but that doesn’t stop me from sneaking bites of food from visiting relatives as they’re initiated into Poe’s on their first visit to town. A few other favorites include the Annabel Lee featuring a Charleston Style Crab Cake with a fresh veggie remoulade sauce and the Hop Frog, a burger topped with Mig’s BBQ sauce, Applewood Bacon and Monterey Jack cheese.
Lastly, the ambiance at Poe’s can’t be beat. Aside from its delicious burgers, what really makes Poe’s unique is that it’s more than simply named after the poet. The restaurant is completely outfitted in artwork of Edgar Allen Poe including murals, portraits, quotes and framed artwork. Perhaps the funniest homage resides in the bathrooms. Poe’s poems cover the walls in a version of wallpaper and while you “go” you’re entertained with readings of his work. As awesome as it looks inside, we love to eat outside on their well shaded and gorgeously landscaped patio where we can soak up the Florida sunshine yet remain cooled by their misting fans. Warning, Poe’s is popular and they don’t take reservations, so make it an early dinner or be prepared to wait – especially on the weekends.
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