Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part IJuly 2, 2013 61 comments Print Article
Here’s a short list of Jacksonville’s "lesser known" restaurants that you should try.
If you've driven by Chopstick Charley's on Philips Highway, you made the very reasonable assumption that this place is not only closed, but it's been closed for a couple of decades. If you realized they were open for business, you probably decided, understandably, "Yeah, right. I'll never go there." If for some reason you decided that you will take the chance and walk into the windowless stand-alone building, and walk through the metal, prison-like front door, you probably questioned your ability to make sound life decisions. And still, you would not be comforted by the interior. The entire place is rundown. The ceilings are covered in plaster repairs. The furniture is old. The only light in the building comes from three florescent tubes that line the center of the ceiling, and a 21 inch television, on blast, next to the kitchen door.
Stay strong; you will be rewarded for your journey, and your risk will be well worth it. This place is not the McDonald's-esque/Chinese restaurants littered throughout our city. You know that menu you see in every Chinese restaurant with low-rez stock images – it doesn't exist in this place. Their menu doesn’t have any pictures; in fact, it's taped to the glass counter and must have been printed on a printer from 1987. Meals are under $7 and will easily feed two people.
The sweet and sour chicken comes with a sauce that is almost like a strawberry puree. It needs a little more sour but it's 100x better than the tin-tasting, red-dyed sugar sauce we get at the other places. Their beef in the beef low-mein actually taste like beef. The egg-roll is not a Sam's Club special, they make it in-house. It's filled with celery, shrimp, and Chinese spices (it's huge!).
If you're in the mood for what must be reminiscent of a Chinese mother's home cooked meals, this is the place to go. It is by far the best Chinese in town for the price. The owner is a lovely lady who, well, likes you. It feels like you are walking into your Chinese grandmother's house.
If you want your food take-out, then call it in. It can take up to 30 minutes to prepare a meal. What?! Yeah, I said 30 minutes. They're actually cooking back there.
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of their food. If you have some post it in the comments.
4424 Phillips Hwy
Jacksonville, FL 32207
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