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Amelia Islander

Jack & Diane's

Nov 07, 2016 10:50AM
Jack & Diane’s, located at 708 Centre Street, has been nicknamed “The tastiest spot on Centre” by locals, and the regulars who frequent this charming bistro agree. Most of the menu items are family traditions and inspirations from around the globe that owner and chef Lisa Jones uses to infuse worldly flavors into familiar comfort foods.

One of the things I love about Lisa is her ability to take a on a foodie challenge, so when I asked her to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner one month before Thanksgiving, she was happy to oblige. A group of us gathered one afternoon at Jack & Diane’s for an early holiday meal, ready to enjoy a real turkey dinner with all the fixings.

Our server, Jim, started us out with glasses of lemonade, and a basket of warm, whole wheat rolls with butter, while we talked about our holiday plans. Before long, Jim and Lisa came out with our plated dinners, a sight to behold! Piled high was roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, greens and black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes, and spiced cranberry sauce. Lisa serves a boneless turkey roast at Jack & Diane’s that features white and dark meat, and it is extremely moist, and really delicious. Her gravy is out of this world, and surprisingly, it is vegan! That means it’s made without any animal products. As a matter of fact, most of Lisa’s side dishes are meat, dairy, and gluten-free, so that carnivores and vegetarians can enjoy a meal together.

I especially loved the stuffing, which was moist and loaded with finely chopped vegetables like onions, zucchini, carrots, and celery. The mashed potatoes were an interesting and tasty combination of sweet and white potatoes. The greens and black-eyed peas are thoroughly Southern, and I could have eaten a plate of that dish on my own. And we all enjoyed the spiced cranberry sauce, which tasted of cloves and cinnamon.

After dinner, Lisa served us her specialty, Holiday Parfait, loaded with apples, berries, pumpkin, vegan cream, and gluten-free cookie crumbles. It was out of this world! Lisa has been serving Thanksgiving dinner since the restaurant opened, and the guests who come for her holiday meal are like family to her. She also makes holiday dinners to go, so place your orders early for turkey with all the trimmings.

The name of the restaurant, Jack & Diane’s, is Jones’s homage to the greatest love story she ever knew, the love story of her grandparents, married for more than 60 years. Photos of them can be seen all around the restaurant, which is situated in an old shotgun house built in 1862. Rumored to have been a madam’s house in the pirate days, Jack & Diane’s also has a resident ghost, Charlie, according to Jones, who turns up at the restaurant occasionally. For more information on holiday hours and menu selections, call (904) 321-1444 or visit www.jackanddianescafe.com.

The restaurant is open Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Open Sunday Monday Wednesday 8 a.m. to 3 pm. Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.