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Cemetery Gravestones

RIP to the OG - Restaurants that Closed

Pour one out for the places that have closed their doors. Here is the restaurant graveyard that I wish didn't have to exist, but alas we can't have beermosas and poutine on a rooftop while overlooking the St. Johns River. Gone are the days of rolling out of bed and into Deerwood Diner. 

Change is the only constant.

Lemon Street Brewing

Lemon Street Brewing, Sept. 2019 -Dec. 2023


When I headed for 2100 Dennis Street, I decided I should start all the brewery fun with a beer. I saw a bunch of offerings (unlike the limited Aardwolf selection). Oooo, a stout! I sometimes love me a good oatmeal stout like Breckenridge's, but that’s a heavy beer to start with. Plus if I didn’t like it then I would be consuming a lot of unnecessary calories. But it might be good!

Leave the Stout, Opt for Something Lighter

So I asked the friendly bartenter, a brunette with curly hair, for a sample. She kindly obliged, which was very sweet considering the chaos of thirsty yelpers that were packed around the bar. The women next to me grimaced saying I had the right idea as she was stuck with a full stout she didn’t love. Curly bartender brought me a sample, and it was DELICOUS. But also, very strong. I should ease into the night with a lighter drink. I ordered an IPA and snapped a pic with my phone. I got a notification my iphone was at 10%. This was a travesty! A Yelp nightmare! Good thing I brought my Nikon. It might be my saving grace.


For the brewery tour and we shuffled into the backroom to look at the factory like display of working brewing equipment. Carlos, the tour guide/brewmaster, gave us lots of information about Lemon Street's goals and priorities as well as the brewing process. He told us how the brewery is committed to making a lager that tastes great and not just doing wild craft beers.

Hoppy Real Estate

He told us about the brew masters there who work hard to get the chemistry process just right. He mentioned the water filtration being a key to good beer. It took me back to my Starbucks barista days when the triple filtered water was part of our everyday coffee brag. Yes, yes, this is the business of good beverages and I love it!

I asked him if they would make an oatmeal stout. I think he said there were oats in the stout they currently have. He mentioned that that keep some beers for longer than 2 weeks and pointed out the importance of beer tank real estate. Space is important! So is selling the beer they make! Carlos gave an excellent tour, though I told him add some jokes to make it like Cigar City’s tour. We returned to the main room and were directed to grab a table because the night’s presentations were about to start!

Appetite of Lions

I returned to my table, and the night quickly progressed. Next thing I knew I was in line to sample tacos from The Mitt, while Lion King’s intro was playing in the background with a loud NAHHHHSAVVVENNHYAAAAAHHH. Alicia was feeling the music. I was in my happy place. (Maybe I would enjoy every drop of the stout I’d purchased).

Armed with Mexican food and napkins, we returned to our table to play some trivia. In our rush to socialize, eat, snap pics and drink, we forgot to give our team a name. Now that I think about it, IPA LOT woulda been a good one. Oh well, next time. We weren’t winning anyway. Who knew that they baptized babies in beer one time? Who knew that George Washington had a brewery in Mount Vernon! I was learning with every sip!

The live musician paused for a bit and Yelp Community Manager Carly took the stage. The brewmaster talked about how we would first sample Experiment 626, a pale ale with a bunch of hops thrown on top. It was bright and drinkable. I enjoyed it. The thing was, I was starting to miss that stouty taste of the first beer I tried. I thought about ordering another beer. But before I knew it, it was time for nachos. I got some queso, guac, and super spicy salsa. It was all yummy. I wanted more! And I decided to get some more beer. I asked for the Berry Tart, but alas the keg is tapped now.

You have to PAY for the beer, here?

I went to order another beer. The curly bartender got me the glass I ordered and asked if I wanted to start a tab. Awkward moment here. I had missed the beginning intro where they explain the drink policy. I told the bartender, no, I didn’t want to start a tab. (Why would I want to pay?!). And she proceed to explain that the first beer was free and after that, it costs. This information would have been helpful before ordering. We had plenty of samples ahead and I truly didn’t need that much beer. I had to drive home! It was a Monday night. (I was missing the Bachelor premiere for this event!).

Then, I remembered I forgot to bring cash for tipping (a yelp event must!) so this was the perfect opportunity for me to pay and add on some gratitude dollars. So, I said sure and paid for my beer. After all, it was delicious and the bar was hosting this delightful event.

Let them Eat Cake

Some yelpers celebrated a jovial birthday.  I wanted to try the next beer samples, so I finally had to abandon my stout in favor of safely driving home. Luckily, Alicia helped me by refilling one of her sample glasses with part of the stout. (Now that’s a beer you can chew on!).

With all the beer carbonation and sips sinking in, our bellies started growling and we eyed the taco station.


We started discussing how hopeful we were that our fellow yelpers would share the alluring chocolate-covered birthday cake sitting at the table across from us. I took a few minutes to talk to Carlos about how much I was enjoying the craft beers. I asked how he planned to compete with Jax brewers. He said he didn’t plan to, but that it was a community he was excited to participate in. What a good spirit! He said he likes Aadwolf’s offerings. I said I liked the location but wasn’t nuts about sours. I recommended he try Bottlenose and have the Lemon Street beers on tap at Kickbacks. It was a beery fun talk.

Then the moment finally came – Birthday cake! And I got a yummy vanilla slice. What a perfect way to finish this tasting! The Yelp crew gathered in the grassy area to take a picture in front of the butterfly art. Multiple silly poses ensued.

Black Sheep
Sorrento Italian

Sorrento Italian Restaurant

  • 6943 St Augustine Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32217

Garlic, freshly baked bread, oregano, and piles of cheese. These are the keys to my heart. Italian food just happens to be synonymous with romance in my book. So when Emily told me to come to check out her family’s restaurant, Sorrento, I was chomping at the bit to get out and sample some new marinara-drenched fare.

With all the quarantine solitude, I was craving some time out of the house and in unfamiliar surroundings. I’ve worn out my saucepans making Monday night home-made spaghetti. I wanted to venture out and get cozy in a booth I had never sat in before.

A free Friday night rolled around, and my husband and I put date night on the calendar. I knew just the place I wanted to go! I donned a summer dress, he put on a crisp button-down and we headed into our evening plans.

About 15 minutes from our home and right down St. Augustine Road, was the ivy-covered spot with a black awning and the welcoming Sorrento sign.

COVID-clad in her mask and safety gloves, Emily, the fabulous hostess on duty, greeted us with a smize when we walked in. (Smize, circa Top Model, is when you smile with your eyes. It is especially effective when your face is covered by a mask). She escorted us through the little halls to a cozy blue booth to spend our evening in.

The layout of the restaurant has a great intimate feel. It’s the kinda place with flattering ambient lighting where you want to impress your date (even if it’s your husband) with good manners and proper etiquette. It’s the kinda place where you could bring the whole family to toast for Dad’s birthday, then eat way too much pasta. I definitely got special occasion vibes there.

Would You Like to Start with an Appetizer?

Beer & Blue Booths

In honor of a special night out, we ordered a celebratory appetizer. We’ve had our share of calamari so we browsed the menu for something different. Now we considered the roasted peppers which sounded savory but decided to go a teeny bit fancier and order the stuffed mushrooms.

I was envisioning the battered mushrooms that you dipped in horseradish sauce that was served at Houlihan’s (I worked there some years back and ate far too many stuffed shrooms). Instead, these had Italian flavors. Large mushroom buckets were filled with steaming cheese. I think there was mozzarella and parmesan in there. These healthy-ish exotic cheese shroom boats were quite yummy.

They’re On a Roll

Emily really hooked me on the idea of visiting the restaurant by bringing me a sample of their dinner rolls with garlic butter. Their homemade dinner rolls were soft and fresh from the oven, ruining your appetite by eating too many kinda flavors.

Our dinner included these tasty rolls. Sorry Oprah, but I WON’T be skipping out on the bread tonite. I dunked each piece in the butter and spice tip dipping plate which came with it. Then we had their house salads complete with red onions, tomatoes, fresh greens, and a creamy house-made Italian dressing. We barely had room for our entrees!


The Pastas & The Cheeses

For my entree, I chose the Cannelloni, a dish I’d never tried before. A bit of a risk, but it combined so many things I liked! Three kinds of cheese, spinach, chicken, and veal were all stuffed into a big tube of pasta. To me, it was like a burrito of Italian cheese bliss. I choose the pink sauce, so the large pasta pillows were swimming in a tasty pool of olive oil and creamy tomato sauce. It was quite decadent and I ended up saving half for another delicious meal to spice up my weekend.

My husband chose the Tortellini Alla Panna with white sauce. He’s a fettucini alfredo fan so I wasn’t too surprised at his pick. The restaurant serves pretty large portions, and he was kind enough to offer me a bite of his dinner. I ended up having two! Cheese-filled pasta circles. Yum, just yum!

Tortellini Alla Panna

We finished off our meal with some rich cheesecake with a berry drizzle. It was a bit of a struggle to get our cheesy food coma bodies out of the booth at the end of the meal. I promised myself I’d take the dogs on an extra-long walk when I got home.

Another successful date night in Jacksonville. Let’s hope a celebratory event comes up soon, so we have an excuse to hit up this special occasion spot for another evening on the town.

Deerwood Diner

Deerwood Diner

Black Sheep


Chicago Pizza

Five Points Tavern

Five Points Tavern

The Pier Cantina and Bar

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