Skip to main content

Amelia Islander

The Surf Restaurant & Bar

Jan 19, 2015 11:18AM
When I moved to Amelia Island fourteen years ago, the first restaurant I visited was The Surf. I was told it was the place where the locals go, along with lots of island visitors, and, today, it’s still an eatery that makes me feel like I’m on vacation. With its delicious seafood, steaks, sandwiches, bar drinks, and beachy atmosphere, The Surf is a legacy restaurant that’s been around since 1957. I recently stopped by The Surf for lunch, and to meet up with their event coordinator, Lisa Presnell, and the restaurant’s new manager, Matthew Leipau. We had a lot of fun talking about the history of The Surf, and how it has evolved. Two years ago, it was purchased by George and Barbara Sheffield as a means to continue its operation and protect its legacy. Many improvements have been made to the property, and their new menu is terrific. We started our lunch with a plate of nachos, hot, crispy tortilla chips piled high with The Surf’s famous chili, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, and grilled chicken. A perfect appetizer for three or four, savory and spicy, washed down with a Frozen Mango Margarita, recommended by our server, Michelle. The indoor restaurant has been updated and boasts a bright, tropical theme, along with comfy, new booths and tables. Our next course was Fried Chicken Salad, a plate of mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and cheddar jack, topped with strips of fried chicken and honey mustard dressing. This is definitely a main dish salad, but could be shared by two or three. I love that the salad vegetables were fresh and the tangy dressing homemade, and the fried chicken was very hot and crispy. Matthew suggested we share a rib-eye steak, and I liked that we could choose our own favorite side dishes. We decided on a loaded potato and mashed cauliflower. What a nice job the chef did with the steak! Coated sparingly with their house blend seasoning, it was cooked medium rare with a nice sear. The potato was an amazing creation, fluffy, with lots of cheese, and the mashed cauliflower was a tasty, carb-free alternative. Carbs or no carbs, no one can keep me away from my dessert. Lisa and I both decided that a slice of chocolate cake was in order, served a la mode with a dollop of whipped cream, a perfect ending to a perfect lunch with new friends. The Surf is set up to host special events for any occasion. You may hold your event outside or indoors, and there are unique banquet areas for privacy, if you desire. The Surf’s chefs, along with Matthew and his staff, will help choose a menu that’s just right for the event, whether it’s a wedding reception, birthday party, or fundraiser. There’s plenty of room for a band or DJ, dancing, and even a buffet. The Surf also hosts its own activities, like Karaoke Night, Trivia Night, Prime Rib Night, All-You-Can-Eat Wing Night, and Happy Hour every day, along with talented local bands. For a full entertainment schedule and to see their new menu, visit or call the restaurant at (904) 261-5711.