Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part II

Five more "hole in the wall restaurants" you should try.

Published August 19, 2013 in Hole in the Wall - MetroJacksonville.com

Image by Nancy White of nourishthebeast.com

Little Saigon

It's exciting, and unexpected, to see Jacksonville become such a haven for incredible Vietnamese cuisine. There are more than 20 Vietnamese restaurants open for business and more are coming.

One of my favorite places to order Vietnamese is not from the cult followed Bowl of Pho on Baymeadows road. Nope, this jewel is in Orange Park and the food comes without the bit of snobbery, albeit well-deserved, that seems to accent Bowl of Pho meals.

Little Saigon's intimate location has no more than seven tables. The Pho broth is deep, earthy and well-flavored. They don't skimp on the protein and it's never dried out from overcooking.

You'll leave satisfied and happy with Little Saigon.

1975 Wells Rd
Orange Park, FL 32073
(904) 375-0061

Tue - Sat 11 am - 9 pm

Yelp Profile
Urban Spoon Profile

Island Tropics

Before visiting Island Tropics I had visited about half a dozen Jamaican restaurants and I always left those restaurants feeling ripped off and disappointed. How else was I going to feel when the food I was eating was reminiscent of something from the frozen section of Sam's Club, with "100% Real Jamaican Flavors!"

I chalked it up to the thought that the restauranteurs of Jamaican eateries were similar to many of the owners of American Chinese restaurants, where quality and authenticity take a back seat to fast food like ensembles.

The owners at Island Tropics have taken a decidedly different approach. They care a lot about their food and  about their customer's satisfaction. They do a great job helping newbies figure out what to eat. They don't mind providing samples.

Their stews are made fresh daily. The Jerk Chicken is incredible, slow cooked. Plus, like many of Jacksonville's famed hole in the wall restaurants, you pay very little for a whole lot of quality food.

On their menu you will find: fish soup and stew, ox tails, ackee and codfish, red snapper, curry chicken, stew beef, mac and cheese...this is a link to their menu. For vegetarians/vegans they have plenty of entree meal options, not just side items you have to turn into a meal.

2527 N Main St
Jacksonville, FL 32206
(904) 355-9050

Mon-Sat 10 am - 9 pm
Sun 10 am - 2 pm

Yelp Profile
Urban Spoon Profile

Arden's Kafe & Katering

As a male with no southern roots there are very few opportunities to indulge in southern comfort foods. Every once in awhile my brother-in-law will whip up a dish of cornbread oyster stuffing or sweet potato casserole. This invariably sends me into a few month journey to figure out how to make southern foods. I have made Mac & Cheese unsuccessfully 8 times or so. There's just something special about the mushiness of southern fare that I hope to master.

Arden's is as Southern as they come. Take a trip on a Sunday afternoon and you'll see about half of our city's Southern Baptists partaking in the buffet of collard greens, fried chicken, fried chops, ham, fried fish, cheesy grits, black-eye-peas...etc.

Arden's meals are made with fresh ingredients and from scratch. The opinions on Arden's will vary. Some are going to love it here for others it will be a "meh." For me, I'm in the middle but I definitely will go back and I definitely think it's worth trying.

Plus, Arden has a pretty cool story of going from prison inmate to restauranteur.

4555 St Johns Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32210
(904) 240-1404

Mon-Fri 10 am - 3 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Sun 10 am - 5 pm

Yelp Profile
Urban Spoon Profile

Photo courtesy of forum member peestandingup

Tommy's Diner

I think we found the most hole in the wall restaurant in Jacksonville. So much so that the owner accepted press coverage from First Coast News under the condition that their address would not be published or shared.

Read this excerpt from an online directory:

The best kept breakfast secret in Jacksonville, Tommy's makes old fashioned breakfast food for the working man (or woman). A very unique environment, Tommy's has no public phone number, no address, no website - all word of mouth. Just South of 6th & Walnut Street.

In the MetroJacksonville.com forums there is a Tommy's Diner thread in which several people make it clear that they are unabashed fans.

Tommy's Diner is open only for breakfast, from 6 am to 11 am. They don't sell beer before 7am and if you don't like their food or service a sign on the wall says you should go down the street to Krystals.

1580 Walnut Street
Jacksonville, FL, 32206

Mon - Fri  6 am - 11 am

Pinegrove Market & Deli

Located off of Park Street on Pinegrove Road this little deli and market has developed quite a committed fan base. It is not uncommon to see a line flow onto the sidewalk outside of their entrance.

When conversations about "who has the best burger in town?" come up Pinegrove easily makes the short list for a phenomenal no-nonsense classic American burger.

They have comprehensive breakfast options and any deli sanwhich you can think of ordering is on  their menu.

Pinegrove is a butcher shop with beautiful cuts of beef that they dry age. Their aging process:

1. We use only the top grades of beef for dry aging-- USDA Choice. These have a thick layer of fat on the outside protecting the meat from spoiling during the aging process.

2. Once the loin is delivered to us fresh, it is rinsed well with cold water and allowed to drain. We then carefully pat it very dry with paper towels.

3. The loin is then wrapped in immaculately clean, large, plain white cotton dish towels and placed in our refrigerators.

4. The towels are changed every day, replacing the moisture-soiled towels with fresh ones. This process continues for 10 days to 2 weeks.

5. After the desired aging time, we hand-cut the steaks from each end, trim as desired, and allow the rest to continue to age in the refrigerator.

1511 Pinegrove Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 389-8655

Mon-Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Sat 8 am - 5 pm

Yelp Profile
Urban Spoon Profile

Article by Arash Kamiar

More "Hole in the Wall" restaurant articles on the next page.

Related "Hole in the Wall" Articles:

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 1

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 2

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 3

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 4

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 5

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 6

Jacksonville's Hole in the Wall Restaurants, Part 7

Check out Stephen Dare's "A Chef's List for Dining In Jacksonville."

This article can be found at: https://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-aug-hole-in-the-wall-restaurants-part-ii

Metro Jacksonville

Copyright MetroJacksonville.com