The Amelia River Club is many things: a bar and grill for the general public, a dreamy venue for special events, a peaceful spot for watching planes, and a top-notch Amelia Island golf club. It was founded in 2000, and now in 2023, the bar and grill is offering reformulated menus for the dining public.
A lifelong Fernandina Beach visitor or resident, I still discover places that were there all along but which I just have not visited. I love when that happens! It happened recently when my lunch companion since our youthful Augusta years, Hugo Krispyn, stopped through. He had golfed at the Amelia River Club before and was glad to come from Aiken to check out a new place to eat with me.
Just parking the car was a treat, as we enjoyed beautiful panoramas of the Amelia River. After enjoying the views, we walked inside for lunch. Director of Food & Beverage Kaley Jewell welcomed us with gracious hospitality. She explained that while the bar and grill has always been open to the public, this year marks a new era for the updated venue. Breakfast was over, but I made a mental note to return for a sandwich, wrap, French toast, or quiche. The calm, lovely setting and sensible price point were appealing.
In a coincidental nod to Women’s History Month, I learned that the entire establishment was being run by women: bartenders, servers, managers, and new chefs Christina, Pat, and Susan. The club provides daily specials and social events, so follow them on social media to stay up on the latest. For example, one recent special was the Diablo Dog, a quarter-pound all-beef dog stuffed with Pepper Jack Cheese in a Pimento-Cheese Roll. An Easter Brunch Buffet is planned as well.
Hugo and I each got a cup of Thai Chicken Soup, which had a good Thai flavor, neither coconut nor sour. Hot dogs are a specialty, crispy on the outside and served with lots of trimmings. The “Front 9 Flatbreads” far exceeded our expectations. At Kaley’s urging, we tried the Margherita, and it was tasty, with a crispy, cracker-like consistency. Next time, I’d like to try the BBQ, Bacon & Onion Flatbread. I leaned toward “Fairway Greens,” settling for the Walnut Cranberry Salad with added Salmon, and it was as good as any I have had without being fussy or pricey.
“Handhelds” all feature piles of Boar’s Head meats on interesting breads, with special sauces and vegetables. “Favorites” are each simple enough and done well—hot dog, cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, or fish n’ chips. Among “The 19th Hole” sweets, I chose the Root Beer Float, which I enjoyed in my mother’s memory; she would have loved this place.
When Kaley had offered us seats in the new chairs outside when we arrived, we decided to sit inside to get the vibe. “People like these for plane-watching,” she had said. I think I would enjoy those comfortable chairs for some serious cloud-watching myself, especially when lunch ends and Happy Hour begins.
The Amelia River Club Bar & Grill is located at 4477 Buccaneer Trail. Breakfast is served daily 7:30 – 10:30 a.m., lunch 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Happy Hour 4 – 6 p.m.