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Amelia Islander

Leddy's Porch at the Florida House Inn

The Florida House Inn sits in the heart of Fernandina Beach’s Historic District, which is the perfect setting for this boutique hotel’s lovely rooms and distinctive suites. Charm, history, and delicious food make the Florida House Inn a noteworthy and tasty find for residents and visitors alike.

The Inn’s restaurant, Leddy’s Porch, named after the original innkeeper, serves Southern-style fare and is best known for its fried chicken. I invited my friends, Emily and Joe, to lunch at the Florida House one day. Innkeepers Emily and Marshall Sands had planned a tasting for us, and we were in for a treat. Our server, Jennifer, started us out with a glass of Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc, a white wine with rich flavor and bright acidity, while chefs Marshall and Bradley Heck came out from the kitchen to say hello and introduce their menu items.

We started out our luncheon with Grilled Romaine Salad, a smoky, grilled salad topped with seasoned pecans, diced tomato, green onion, bleu cheese crumbles, and bleu cheese dressing. I love the components of this salad and its balance of sweet and savory ingredients. Then we sampled a Fried Chicken Sandwich and their famous Egg Salad Sandwich, served with cole slaw, potato salad, and a side of fries. The Fried Chicken Sandwich was creatively topped with pickled radishes, onions, and jalapenos with lettuce, adding a unique and spicy flavor. Their egg salad is fresh and homemade, with an old-fashioned Southern flair, served with lettuce and tomato on a hoagie roll.

I love the care that the Florida House puts into their side dishes—the cole slaw and potato salad were better than any I’ve ever had, and the fries were crispy and hot. The chefs also brought us a plate of Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch, one of my favorite pub treats. But the best was yet to come, because when I go to the Florida House Inn, I’m hankering for their fried chicken. The thing I like about the way they serve their chicken is that you have several choices—you can order dark or white meat, and choose your sides. In this case, I wanted Chicken and Waffles, which came with seasoned watermelon salad, but you can also have a biscuit with honey if you prefer.

The chicken was incredibly crispy, and the meat was very moist. The waffles and maple syrup were decadent additions to the meal, and the watermelon salad was very distinctive, seasoned with cayenne, lemon juice, parsley, and black pepper. Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, Jennifer served us Strawberry Shortcake made with biscuits and real whipped cream. Delightful!

Leddy’s Porch is open for lunch Wednesday through Friday from 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They also offer private dining, business meeting catering, and boxed lunches. The Mermaid Bar, located on the main level of the Inn, offers classic cocktails, craft beers, and family-owned wines. The Inn hosts to numerous weddings and special events each year, all with their inimitable Old Florida charm. For more information, call (904) 491-3322 or visit