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April 21, 2022

Unique Local Restaurants You Must Try When Visiting Clay County, FL

From fresh, local seafood to International flavors, there’s no shortage of unique dishes at local restaurants here in Clay County. Let us help you create a unique dining experience, perfect for stepping outside of the box and trying something new. 

Here’s a look at some of the hot spots for trying unique eats in Clay County!

Fresh from Yianni’s Kitchen

Get ready for bold, Greek flavors at Fresh from Yianni’s Kitchen in Fleming Island. Owner Yiannis Demopoulos prides himself in sharing the flavors of his parent’s homeland and producing authentic, Mediterranean cuisine using recipes he learned from his grandmother. 

From made-to-order gyros, fresh Greek salads with the option to add-on grilled fish and of course, there’s spanakopita on the menu too. Other Greek items include Moussaka served w/ Greek Salad and pita sandwiches, shawarma and Avgolemono soup. Open for lunch and dinner, stop in for a meal filled with flavors. 

Irie Diner Caribbean Restaurant

Unique Local Restaurants in Clay County

In the mood for Caribbean flavors? Don’t miss enjoying a meal at the locally-owned Irie Diner in Orange Park. Inspired by his Spanish, English, African, East Indian, and French ancestry, Chef Marko Bell has 22 years of culinary experience and prides himself on creating dishes from scratch. 

Known as the national dish of Jamaica, try the Ackee and Salt fish entrée. Ackee is a tropical fruit that is   sauteed with vegetables and codfish along with two side dishes, like cabbage and rice. Other traditional Caribbean dishes include Guyana curry goat that is marinated for 36 hours, Grenada brown stew chicken, Jamaican-style oxtails and try the traditional Bahamian conch fritters for an appetizer. You’ll also find plenty of jerk flavors on the menu, where diners can choose from jerk chicken, jerk pork and jerk ribs. This colorful menu will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the Islands!

Mackey’s Munchies

Unique Local Restaurants in Clay County

Take a trip down to New Orleans with the Cajun cuisine of Mackey’s Munchies in Orange Park. Chef Brian Mackey and his family welcome guests to experience dishes from his native Louisiana in their family-friendly atmosphere. Popular dishes include shrimp po-boys, jambalaya with chicken and turkey sausage, gumbo and don’t forget to order beignets for dessert.  

If you are in the mood for etouffee, they offer shrimp, chicken and crawfish etouffee and they’ll even combine the three to make a trio etouffee. Side dishes include okra with tomatoes, red beans and rice, collard greens and their signature mack n’ cheese. Stop in see the Mackey’s, they’ll make you feel at home. 

Palermo Puerto Rican Kitchen

Unique Local Restaurants in Clay County

At Palermo Puerto Rican Kitchen in Orange Park, guests can experience authentic cuisine from Puerto Rico with unique flavors and dishes native to the island. Try their mofongo with skirt steak, Creole vegetables or their house specialty – slow, roasted pork. The Palermo Cuban sandwich is grilled to perfection while the Plantain Sandwich Steak features Bistec steak with plantains taking the place of sandwich bread. Palermo Restaurant exclusive signature dish “El Bohio” features slow roasted pork served with pigeon pea rice and Abue’s homemade pork pastel.

Open for lunch and dinner, this locally-owned restaurant is quickly becoming a favorite with locals for their bright flavors and authentic dishes, where no guest leaves hungry. 

Whitey’s Fish Camp

Unique Local Restaurants in Clay County

When it comes to Florida delicacies, it doesn’t get much more Floridian than eating alligator! At Whitey’s Fish Camp along Swimming Pen Creek, diners can enjoy fresh seafood of all kinds with alligator tail served fried as an appetizer and also an entrée. And yes, it is true – it really does taste like chicken. 

For other adventurous items, try a platter of fried and raw oysters, whole catfish and even a traditional shrimp boil with corn, mushrooms, sausages and more. A local favorite since 1963, at Whitey’s you can even arrive by boat! As you explore the dock area, be on the lookout for real alligators in the water below!

There’s plenty more places to discover during your time in the area. So, now that you are hungry, get out and experience some of the many unique eats found here in Clay County!

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