Simply Sara's: Small Town Dining in Jacksonville

April 10, 2016 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article shares their "small town" experience at Simply Sara's in Ortega.

Image from Bill K.

Pulling up at Simply Sara’s I almost felt like I’d left Jacksonville and was transported to a small town somewhere. Everything about the place, from the location- off the beaten path; to the decorations; to the bright and clean interior; to the smiling faces waiting to serve you, gives you a sense of comfort and home.

For the surrounding community in Ortega, Simply Sara’s has become another home. Sara and her husband knew half the restaurant by name. I’m not sure how this place ended up in Ortega because it does belong in a small town somewhere. If you grew up dining in a place where everyone knew each other and families dined together on home cooked food at a fair price, then you’ll feel right at home.

Address: 2902 Corinthian Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32210
Phone: 904-387-1000
Simply Sara’s Menu:

Tuesday thru Thursday until 9 pm. (Lunch 11-3 / Dinner 4-9)
Friday and Saturday until 10 pm. (Lunch 11-3 / Dinner 4-10)
Sara’s also offers breakfast on Saturday mornings but doesn’t list hours.

Every day, Sara or her husband shop the farmers market for their daily produce. You’ll never see a Sysco truck dropping off processed foods. Even their sandwich meats are made fresh. They bake turkey breast and ham, hand pull chicken salad and make their tuna and egg salad from scratch. They truly have a commitment to fresh home cooked unprocessed foods. When you taste Sara’s cooking, you can tell. Each night of the week Sara’s has a different menu. Tuesdays are chicken and dumplings day. Wednesdays are fried chicken night. Fridays are seafood days. We happened to be at Sara’s on a Tuesday.

We kicked things off with some eggplant fries($8.49) served with homemade chipotle ranch dressing. These were nice and firm with just enough crunch to them. It was nice to have an appetizer you don’t see everywhere else. We’d order them again. We also had some pimento cheese and crackers($7.99). I’m not sure this needs any analysis other than to point out that this is another appetizer you don’t often find at other restaurants. Simply Sara’s gains points with us for that. The last appetizer we tried was the fried pickles($7.99). Those were decent.

Eggplant Fries

Fried Pickles

Next, we had Simply Sara’s 80/20 Black Angus burger with house made chips. The burger was pretty good and housemade chips are always a plus. Next, we tried the pizza. Sara’s makes the sauce in-house from oven roasted tomatoes. Since they only have pizza on Tuesdays, they get their dough from a local pizza company. We enjoyed the pizza. You could taste the difference in the sauce versus the more processed versions. The dough was decent. For a place that only makes pizza one day per week, it was pretty darn good. As a side, we tried the collard greens. These were cooked perfectly. They weren’t mushy like you sometimes find when they’re overcooked or too bitter.

The absolute star of the Tuesday dinner menu at Simply Sara’s is the chicken and dumplings. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! If there’s a better chicken and dumplings in town, I’ve never found it. Frankly, I’m not sure I’ve ever had better chicken and dumplings. Rich, delicious, and full of memories of family around the dinner table. If you’ve ever had a big family dinner where everyone stuffed themselves full of chicken and dumplings one bite of this will transport you to that place. If this is a dish you love, it’s worth a drive to Ortega from the other side of town.

For dessert, we tried Sara’s cookies. While tastes may vary, we absolutly loved them. I loved them so much I bought four dozen to take home. Yes, I said four dozen. They were that good. Sara offers lots of different varieties. We particularly loved her homemade gingersnap, oatmeal snap, and chocolate mint varieties. I’m fairly sure I’ll be driving from the beach to Ortega to grab cookies from Simply Sara’s next holiday season. As far as service goes, our waitress took good care of us and made sure we had everything we needed.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Chicken and Dumplings

If you love family and home cooking you really owe it to yourself to make the trip out to Simply Sara’s. Sara and her family are the kind of people you want to root for. They’re the kind of people we need in our community, and their restaurant is the kind of restaurant that often gets run out by all of the chains with their huge marketing budgets. They’re the kind of folks that send someone from the restaurant out to deliver food when their elderly customers aren’t feeling up to leaving the house to get food. Yes, they do that. When you’re having a bad day and just need to be around good folks, head over to Simply Sara’s for a home cooked meal at a great price. We know that we will.

Jax Restaurant Reviews searches out and reviews the most unique and interesting restaurants in and around Jacksonville, FL.