Chef Kenny Gilbert Expands to Jax Beach
Jacksonville Beach welcomes two new concepts from Chef Kenny Gilbert - Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen & Bar and Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp. The two restaurant concepts focus on modernized yet traditional Southern fare, and a third space within the building, Seachasers Lounge, hosts live entertainment four nights a week. Chef Kenny Gilbert also operates Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach and Gilbert’s Social in Jacksonville proper. Gilbert partnered with Jim Franks, owner of the space, on the two beachfront concepts.
Located upstairs in the oceanfront space, the menu at Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen & Bar has an emphasis on seafood and BBQ. Starters include Ceviche with Florida lobster, local shrimp and blue crab; Pimento Cheese Stuffed Cannelloni with pomodoro sauce, assorted cheeses, and basil; Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends with sweet tomato molasses BBQ sauce and pickled pineapple; and Cornbread & Biscuits with pickled red grapes, muscadine pepper jam, and salted butter.
The bar program at Southern Kitchen is heavy on moonshine, whiskey and bourbon, with hand crafted cocktails such as The Seachaser with Stillhouse spiced cherry moonshine, Florida citrus, white cranberry juice, fresh ginger, basil, and ginger beer; the Hey Y’all with Ole Smoky Strawberry moonshine, strawberry puree, lemon juice, and prosecco; and the Truth Serum with Woodford Reserve, muddled brown sugar and lime, peach shrub, and club soda.
Occupying the downstairs space, Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp features all that its name says - hot chicken, fish, and shrimp. Meats on the menu, all served with a sweet bun, house dill pickles, and datil pepper remoulade, include Smoked Boneless Chicken Thighs, 24 Hour Brined Birds, Catfish Fillet, Local Wild Shrimp, and as a vegetarian option, Fried Southern Vegetables & Tofu. The menu also features desserts like the Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake as well as the Bourbon Pecan Pie. As far as beverages go, Gilbert’s Hot Chicken features the same cocktail menu from Southern Kitchen.
The interior of both Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen & Bar and Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp are designed with equal parts Southern and beachfront influences. The space is filled with reclaimed wood including a 200-year old grand stairwell separating the two concepts, upstairs and downstairs. The space has large windows with Atlantic Ocean views and offers guests both indoor and outdoor seating options.
Chef Kenny Gilbert is best known for his appearance on “Top Chef” season seven, where he was voted Fan Favorite. In March 2015, Kenny opened Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen in Fernandina Beach, FL with his wife Anna, serving seasonal deep southern cuisine, and in October 2016, the pair opened their second Jacksonville restaurant, Gilbert’s Social, serving internationally-influenced Southern fare.