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Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen – Fernandina Beach, Florida



In our last post, we looked at a number of restaurants in Fernandina Beach, Florida, and I told you there was one additional restaurant that was a little more “fall-ish” that I wanted to share with you.  So here we are today at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen.  It probably doesn’t feel any more like fall than any other eatery in the area, but I typically think of seafood in the summer at the beach, and this is not a seafood restaurant. This is more comfort food, and that is what makes me think of fall.

If you have been a long time fan of Top Chef, you may remember chef Kenny Gilbert from season 7.  He began cooking at the age of 3, and has pretty much been cooking all the time since then – from preparing his family’s entire Thanksgiving meal at age 11 to cooking for his school’s swim team in high school, to attending culinary school, to working as chef at the Ritz-Carlton and other fine resorts, to preparing meals for President Bush, the G8 Summit, and Oprah Winfrey.  Yes, Kenny Gilbert has done a lot of cooking!



This past May, he competed against Bobby Flay on Beat Bobby Flay, and he won! 🙂  (You can find the recipe for his winning chicken and dumplings here.)  So when we read that he had opened his own restaurant in Fernandina Beach, we definitely wanted to give it a try.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-entranceThe interior of Gilbert’s Underground kitchen is divided into 3 spaces: The Safe House Lounge, Muscadine Hall and Datil Pepper Park (an outdoor dining space.)



Antique accessories are scattered throughout the restaurant to give it the feel of a Southern home.



We LOVED the spatterware and mason jar table settings!
They were just perfect for the place.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-fernandina-beach-place-settingsNow let’s take a look at the menu(s).  We actually could have ordered the dishes that he prepared in his episode of Beat Bobby Flay

gilberts-underground-kitchen-menubut we found so many more things of interest on the “regular” menu that we decided not to go for the Beat Bobby Flay dishes.



We started with coffee and an appetizer…


of delicious pimento cheese with crackers and veggies.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-pimento-cheeseThen my husband ordered the shrimp and grits which he did enjoy.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-shrimp-and-gritsOur son had the 1/2 Fernandina Beach Hot Chicken – flavorful-ly spicy, but not burn-your-mouth hot.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-fernandina-hot-chickenThen we (yes, “we,” not just “me”) ordered the Ulimate BBQ Sampler so that we could all try their sausage, spare ribs, gator, turkey legs, and other dishes.  I am usually not very adventurous in trying different meats, but these were all quite tasty, and it was fun to experiment with the variety of foods there…and goodness was it a large amount!

gilberts-underground-kitchen-barbq-samplerI ordered one side dish – Hoppin John.  I was expecting black eyed peas on rice with ham, and this did not taste like my traditional dish, so I did not care very much for it. The next time we go, I think I want to order the cast iron roasted broccoli.

gilberts-underground-kitchen-beansEven though we had eaten waaaay too much (and still had a large amount left to take home) we wanted to try one of their desserts (of course! 🙂 )  The GUK S’mores sounded good:

Bittersweet Chocolate Creme Brulee, Crushed Gingersnap Cookies, Toasted Marshmallows”
(How could we resist?!)

gilberts-underground-kitchen-smoresIt was pretty good.  Although the marshmallows were charred, they were still not soft enough for me (but we ate it all. LOL)  The strawberry shortcake will be my choice on our next visit – after I lose 10 more pounds!

And that was our visit to Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen.  I hope you will have an opportunity to try it out on a visit to Amelia Island, Florida.  (It is especially fun with a group. 🙂 )

In other news, my mom and I had our yard sale yesterday – exhausting, productive, and profitable!  So perhaps life will return to normal now that I do not have to spend my time cleaning out every nook and cranny around here.  My next post to share with all of you is about plans for a small dream lake house – and I am thinking of going in a very different direction with the interior decor for it. (And remember, this is still in the dream stage, so please don’t send a realtor to put a for sale sign in front of our house. 🙂 )

Have a great start to your last week of September!

Until next time…

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GramiePamie - October 1, 2016 - 8:36 pm

Your description of the meal is captivating! I have to say, though, I would have sent the marshmallows back. Blackened catfish? Yes. Carbonized marshmallows…um, no. I think they torched them a little too far! All your posts are such treats! I look forward to them all.

Kathy - September 27, 2016 - 10:56 pm

I love love love your blog. Just wondering if you are going to get back to sharing your incredible decorating, and lovely home with us. I miss your inspiration.

Kathy - September 27, 2016 - 7:49 am

When I saw the menu I hoped someone would choose the shrimp and grits. I knew it couldn’t be you. I am glad your husband chose that. The tableware was interesting. I am looking forward to your lakehouse plans. I hope you don’t go too tiny though.

Bonnie - September 26, 2016 - 1:49 pm

What a great sounding meal at Gilbert’s. Your pictures make my mouth water! Good job on the yard sale. I don’t have them anymore, but love to go, and I meant to check with you about the date for yours. Hate that I missed it!!

Garden, Home and Party - September 26, 2016 - 1:08 pm

We watch Beat Bobby Flay and I remember this episode. Interesting to hear your account of the restaurant and of the specific dishes you ordered.
I love reading about dream decor—especially for a lake cottage. I’ll look forward to your return to blog land.

Gina - September 26, 2016 - 12:57 pm

Yummy!! I haven’t ever watched Top Chef so wasn’t familiar with the chef, but I love southern themed restaurants!! 🙂 I’m going to check out the chicken and dumplings recipe. It’s that time of year for comfort food. Looking forward to your “dream lake house” post. Dreaming is fun!!

Cheri - September 26, 2016 - 11:01 am

I just love reading your blog…you are definitely my go to person for travel.

I am anxious to see the plans for the lake house, I have been on a kick with all the Tiny House shows. I told my hubby that as soon as we decide that this house is just too much for us I want a smaller house and he can have his large barn. That is “my” plan, his is quite different with wanting an industrial type building with our house at one end and his work shop takes up the rest of the space.

Hope your yard sale was worth it…that is a lot of work and I gave up on doing them a few years ago.

lynne - September 26, 2016 - 8:50 am

Thanks for sharing the info on Gilberts. We will be sure to try it next summer when we visit there. I can’t wait to see your dreams for your lake house. What lake do you want to build on? My husband says he never wants to build another house but it is really the only way to get what you want. I am betting this will be your last move too.

Sherry M - September 26, 2016 - 7:19 am

The variety at the restaurant looked scrumptious. Thanks for sharing. I loved the table setting. I have some blue spatterware that I haven’t used in quite a while. It makes me want to plan a good fall meal and use it again! Hope you will relax today, because I know how hard you had to work for an all day yard sale. Glad it was a success! Have a great week. Looking forward to dreaming with you for the lakehouse plans.

Marty Oravetz - September 25, 2016 - 11:18 pm

Oh it all sounds fabulous. I am hungry now.

Leslie Anne Tarabella - September 25, 2016 - 10:17 pm

Yard sale? Yikes! What a chore! You deserve to put your feet up.

As for the restaurant, love it all, except I have to cringe at the mason jars. My grandmother worked hard to save her green stamps to provide real drinking glasses for her table. Bless her long-departed heart!
Yup. My mom and I said this one was our FINAL yard sale EVER. It took me 6 hours to just put out all of my stuff, and even after starting at 7:00 a.m. we still had people stopping to shop at 4 in the afternoon when we were trying to take it all down.
And yes, bless your grandmother’s heart for her S&H green stamp glasses. I think we had some from there as well…olive green Whitehall cubist pattern. Remember those? 🙂

Kay - September 25, 2016 - 8:31 pm

I dig the dishes! I wondered if they were ceramic, but I saw a chip on an edge, which looked like metal.
I did too, Kay! And yes they are metal enamelware. You can find them here: I am always tempted to purchase some every time I see them somewhere.

Patty - September 25, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Chicken and dumplings are my husband’s favorite meal. I copied the recipe and will definitely make this for him. Thanks for sharing.
Yum! I hope you both enjoy the recipe. My husband’s grandmother used to make them all the time.:)

Shopping and Dining in Fernandina Beach, Florida

the-plantation-shop-fernandina-flIt’s the middle of September and yes, I know the first official day of autumn arrives next week, and writing this post on beach shops and restaurants is not exactly…um…timely, but if I don’t share it with you now, I’ll probably never get it done. So please allow me one last “summer” post before we officially begin the next season. Okay? 🙂

If you head to Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island on the northeast coast of Florida, you will certainly want to do some shopping at The Plantation Shop located in Palmetto Walk Shopping Village.  I’ve always loved the exteriors of their buildings, but of course the real treats are inside.

the-plantation-shop-upstairs-fernandina-flThey carry new furniture and accessories mixed in with English, French, and American antiques.

the-plantation-shop-gifts-fernandina-beach-flYou will also find a good selection of lamps and artwork.

the-plantation-shop-fernandina-beachAnd all of that is just in one of their buildings. 🙂


My favorite space of The Plantation Shop is in the smaller building (their original) next door.


 This building houses more kitchen accessories….the-plantation-shop-accessoriesand a large supply of beautiful blue and white pieces.
(The room below is my favorite. 🙂 )

the-plantation-shop-blue-and-whiteAnother place to see in Palmetto Village is Home n Bed.


home-n-bed-fernandina-beach-flThey can order any Dash and Albert rug in any size you could possibly want.

home-n-bed-dash-and-albert-fernandina-beach-flThey too carry a great selection of pretty home accessories.

home-n-bed-accessoried-fernandina-beach-flDrive (or bike) a couple of miles beyond Palmetto Village, and you will come to the Amelia Island Plantation (now an Omni owned resort.)  There is a group of shops near the entrance to the resort, and my favorite one there is Marche Burette – their market.

amelia-island-plantation-shopsI could spend waaay too much on cute kitchen items there!


amelia-island-plantation-market-kitchen-accessoriesThey carry snacks as well as wine and produce.


amelia-island-plantation-market-floridaMarche Burette also houses a deli bakery…

amelia-island-plantation-market-bakery-caseand is a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee with breakfast.

amelia-island-plantation-market-and-shopHere’s a look at their breakfast menu:



If the weather is nice, you might want to enjoy sitting outside…


in one of their rocking chairs.

amelia-island-plantation-market-front-porchFor lunch, you can drive into the charming downtown area of Fernandina Beach and dine at the old Crabtrap.

It is located in a historic brick building that was constructed in 1876.



lunch-at-crabtrap-restaurant-fernandina-flBefore I had shellfish allergies, I loved eating their fried shrimp and french fries.  Now I dine on steak and baked potato instead.

lunch-at-crabtrap-fernandina-floridaI believe they serve lunch only during the summer, so if you go now you will have to visit them for dinner.
(You can see their dinner menu here.)

On our last trip to Fernandina Beach, we had dinner at Timoti’s Seafood Shak one night, a restaurant we had not tried before.  It too is located downtown in the historic area.

timotis-restaurant-fernandina-flIt is a very casual restaurant where you order at the counter.

timotis-menu-fernandina-flThe food tasted exceptionally fresh, and our son really loved the place. (He wanted to go back again the next night too!)

timotis-food-fernandina-flFor dessert, we often head over to Fantastic Fudge.
(It is about a block’s walk from Timoti’s.)

fantastic-fudge-fernandina-fl-at-nightThe scent is heavenly, and it is hard to resist all that chocolate!

fantastic-fudge-candies-fernandina-beach-flBut what we go for is the ice cream. 🙂


fantastic-fudge-fernandina-beach-flOn another day, we went back downtown to enjoy all the shops.


downtown-fernandina-beach-fl-seatingAnd we stopped for lunch at Brett’s Waterway Cafe (always my first choice. )  Of course being silly by the pirate across from the restaurant is a fun thing to do. 🙂

fernandina-fl-pirateIf you are there early enough, you can snag one of the outside tables with a lovely view overlooking the water.

bretts-fernandina-outside-tableThey bring you a plate of their wonderful carrot raisin mini-muffins to begin with.

bretts-fernandina-muffinsAll of the entrees were absolutely delicious.


The chips are prepared in house.bretts-fernandina-quiche

bretts-fernandina-shrimpWasn’t my salad pretty? 🙂

bretts-fernandina-saladAnd we seem to always pig out with their desserts.

Peach cobbler with ice-cream…

bretts-fernandina-peach-cobbler-with-ice-creamKey lime pie…

bretts-fernandina-key-lime-pieand chocolate torte.

bretts-fernandina-chocolateAre you hungry yet?  🙂

I have one more restaurant from Fernandina Beach to share with you in the next post, but it seems to be more of a “fall place” than a summer one to me.  I think you will like it.

amelia-island-plantation-rocking-chairsUntil then I hope you have a weekend filled with good meals shared with good friends and family, in a relaxing place you love. 🙂

See you next time!

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Peggy - September 26, 2016 - 2:07 am

Every one of those meals look delicious and it looks like the company was exceptional! What beautiful summer memories! And my husband is glad I am not tagging along to those cute shops. I love the way they are merchandised. Very tempting.

Summer - September 20, 2016 - 1:25 pm

Cute stuff! I like the pillows ♥ - September 19, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Oh my goodness, all of that food looks so delicious!!

Bonnie--Macon, GA - September 19, 2016 - 4:42 pm

As I always do, I enjoyed visiting the special spots of Fernandina and Amelia with you. The foods you posted looked delicious, especially your salad; and, the desserts too tempting…I could almost taste them! The shops looked like they’d be fun to visit, and it looked like y’all had a good time. Thanks for sharing, Kelly.

Vicki - September 19, 2016 - 2:06 pm

What fun! (BEautiful family, too! ). Loved the visit, now I really want to visit for myself – after I lose all the weights gained just by looking at your picture. So scrumptious! Can’t wait for the next post….

Ronnie Gunn Tucker - September 19, 2016 - 11:34 am

I get your love for Amelia Island! I own a condo here and it’s hard to stay away! Great post. 🙂

Garden, Home and Party - September 19, 2016 - 11:32 am

Oh my goodness, I’m hungry and it’s only 8:30 AM. The food looks fabulous and what a fun place to visit. I’d need to walk around town several times to wear off some of the meals!

Donnamae - September 18, 2016 - 11:28 pm

I’m going to be bookmarking this post…hope to visit this part of Florida maybe in the winter time to escape the snow that will eventually fall! Everything certainly looks yummy! 😉

Leslie Anne Tarabella - September 18, 2016 - 9:22 pm

I’ve never been to this area of FL even though I grew up in FL! It’s such a big place! I was just over on the other side of the state.

Shellfish allergy? How tragic! I had my one and only case of hives after I ate shrimp once, but it was just that particular batch. Hope you are okay and maybe someday things will change. I can’t imagine life without gumbo!

Glad you had a fun time on yet another amazing adventure!

Karen - September 18, 2016 - 5:44 pm

I always love your posts about traveling and this was no exception. Shopping and eating would both be wonderful there as well as “rubbernecking” at the sights! 🙂 Thanks!

Gina - September 18, 2016 - 3:52 pm

Oh my, I am glad I ate a big bowl of tortilla sup for lunch!! These stores and restaurants look great. Some of those shops look a little “dangerous!” Haha, you know the kind dangerous to your wallet!! 😉 At least it’s fun to browse though. Your daughter makes a lovely model for your photos!! 🙂

Trish @TheOldPostRoad - September 18, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Great review! Fernandina is “our beach!’ The Plantation Shop and Timoti’s are two of our regular stops while at Amelia! (My husband also has shellfish allergies – no fun and can be scary. His developed after being stung by a portuguese man-o-war when in high school – was a fried shrimp lover prior to that.)

Rosemary - September 18, 2016 - 12:52 pm

Such a great post Kelly. Amazing pictures ….the town looks lovely and I can taste the food!! :). I’m looking forward to visiting, next month, even more now. Thank you!
Hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

Lynne - September 18, 2016 - 11:49 am

Thanks for the great ideas. We will be driving to Amelia Island week after next from NJ for our 50th anniversary. Looking forward to those great restaurants and cute shops.
Well congratulations on 50 years Lynne! That is a MAJOR accomplishment. 🙂 You will be in a beautiful place to celebrate.

Donna - September 18, 2016 - 11:15 am

Kelly , thank you for sharing your travels and eateries and wonderful shopping destinations with us ! Visiting Amelia island is definitely on my list of places to see ! Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend !
Thank you for reading the post Donna! I hope you get to make a trip to Amelia Island one day in the future. You will love it.
Have a happy Sunday! 🙂

lynne - September 18, 2016 - 11:11 am

Thanks for sharing your trip to Fernandina. We love Timotis Seafood Shak too! I had some good shrimp and grits at Bretts one year. The shops downtown are fun. We went one year during their Shrimp Fest and that was a lot of fun too. Looking forward to hearing where you ate there that was “fallish.”
Yay! Another vote for Timoti’s! My son would whole heartedly agree with you Lynne. 🙂 We have never been there for the big Shrimp Fest, but we need to do it (although I would be so sad not being able to enjoy any of the delicious shrimp. 🙁 ) One more restaurant post coming early this week. (Hopefully. We are trying to finish up prep for the yard sale.)
Enjoy your Sunday.

Jenn - September 18, 2016 - 9:39 am

Thank you for bringing us along on your trip. Those shops carry such a wonderful array of things. Your food pictures make me hungry! You take such great pictures for your blog. -Jenn
Thank you for following along Jenn, and thank you for the compliments on the photography. Some of these were too blurry for my liking since they were taken at night. I need help learning how to do that better. But photographing food in good sunlight (like at Brett’s) is fun!
Hope you have a great Sunday!

Sandy - September 18, 2016 - 8:38 am

Love to visit that part of Florida and shop and dine at the places you shared in your post. One request, some family member take pictures of you having a great time. Enjoy the last of summer.
They know better. I am VERY camera shy, but I did let them get one or two of me at the Biltmore Estate, so I promise to include them when I do the post on it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the last of summer too Sandy!

Marianne in Mo. - September 18, 2016 - 8:23 am

Thanks for the trip to Fernandina! Just the name of the town always makes me want to see it. Maybe someday! Loved the stores and restaurants – I feel as though I’ve gained a pound or three just seeing the pictures! HA!

We have had a couple days of monsoon rains here and are now drying out. Went to check progress on our house and enjoy the lake view yesterday. We finally got the go ahead to give our 30 day notice to this “temporary” apartment – YAY! Been a long process, but it’s almost moving day!

Hoping all is well in your area and homefront, and thanks for the post!
I got VERY hungry looking at those photos too. 🙂
Sorry about your heavy rains, and I hope it has not hindered construction too much for you Marianne. Hallelujah you can move in soon!! I know you will enjoy the lake house and the view.

Renee Cook - September 18, 2016 - 7:56 am

Hi, Kelly… I sure enjoyed your trip! We’re from Jacksonville, FL, and used to visit Fernandina on daytrips. We’d always leave feeling like we’d had a change of scenery and a respite from the big city. It was especially nice to drive A1A along the coast. I have loved Brett’s for years, and even requested it for my birthday one year. We moved to a small town near Atlanta in 2000 and have only been back to Fernandina once, so I really enjoyed seeing it again through your post! It is a lovely place. Hope you have a beautiful fall! I’m SO ready for it!
You need to make a trip back to Fernandina Renee (and eat at Brett’s. 🙂 ) Jacksonville was soooo close, so you could easily enjoy the town and the beach there. Atlanta is a far drive I know….and just as warm as we are here in middle Georgia. Yes, please bring on the fall weather and a break from the 90’s!

Kim - September 18, 2016 - 7:16 am

We used to go to Amelia Island every summer to a conference through hubby’s work and stayed at the Ritz. It was like living a dream every summer. I always shopped the Plantation House and other shops. Looks like there are a couple of new ones since we have been. We always drove over to Fernandina Beach, too. I bought my first vintage lidded French basket in one of the shops there. Thanks for bringing back memories.
Staying at the Ritz would definitely be living the dream Kim! And I know the Plantation shops would have lots of things for you to love. 🙂 It is still so warm now, a beach trip could still be enjoyable.
Thanks for stopping by this morning.

Tricia - September 18, 2016 - 7:05 am

Kelly, another fun trip for you, how wonderful. Those stores would be so much fun to browse through, so much temptation. Peach cobbler looked delicious, I am off to look up a recipe! Have a happy week!
It was a lot of temptation!! I have to keep “downsizing” in mind when I shop these days with a “where will we have the space?” question in the back of my mind. Peach cobbler is sooooo good. Save me a serving with ice cream please! 🙂

Kathy - September 18, 2016 - 12:26 am

What a pleasant surprise to see this post as I am with sitting with my mom. Kelly, I love beach posts any time of the year. But, I think it was just the word “beach”. The shopping and foods looked fabulous! I felt like I went somewhere! I am not quite ready for fall just yet. I lost the last month of summer. (My mom is improving a little each day.) I want to eat at a place called Crabtrab or Seafood Shak soon! Yum! And, I want to shop where pillows have seashells on them! Thanks for the virtual trip!
I am so glad your mom continues to make progress. She definitely must be a real trooper! Yes, I know you love the beach Kathy so I will dedicate this post to you. LOL And you deserve a do over for the months of August and September with a beach trip and seafood dinners (and some shopping thrown in for good measure. 🙂 )

Louvina - September 18, 2016 - 12:18 am

Really enjoyed this post as my daughter and I just returned from Amelia Island. Wish we had known about the Plantation shops. We did eat at Brett’s for lunch and it was marvelous — had the lobster bisque, hot spinach dip with the chips and the quiche. We had to leave a day early due to hurricane warnings but did get to have lunch at Elizabeth Pointe Lodge on a blustery pre-storm afternoon before we made a mad dash to Destin. Thank you for a little more summer — although fall does begin on Thursday, here in FL it is still very much summer. I am wishing for cooler weather so I can do fall decorations but since we are finishing up painting inside I can’t get into that until all the mess is cleaned up! I know it is still hot in your area too. So summer trips are sweet to think about. 🌞⛱🐬💕
You need to head back over to Amelia Island to hit the Plantation shops. They are wonderful. I’m so glad you enjoyed Brett’s – one of my all time favorite places to eat. 🙂 We have not been back to EPL since the new owners took over. I hope your lunch there was good. Making a dash to Destin after Amelia Island isn’t a bad thing. You got to enjoy 2 beaches! I too am wishing for some cooler weather to come our way. We have had more than enough heat here this year! Hope all your projects get finished (and cleaned up) soon!!
Enjoy your Sunday Louvina!

Sherry M - September 18, 2016 - 12:14 am

It all looked like great fun! I think you might have to drag me out of some of those shops! The downtown of Fernandina Beach looked like a pleasant place to relax. A wonderful place for you and your family to enjoy…and the peach cobbler and key lime pie, oh my! The pictures have my mouth watering, and I am not even hungry. Thank you for sharing your trip, Kelly. A treat for the eyes!
Yes, those shops are SO tempting! (And all that food was too – which is partly why I am on a diet!) Thank you for popping in to read the post and leave your comment Sherry. Hope the rest of your weekend is relaxing. 🙂

Ann - September 18, 2016 - 12:04 am

What a wonderful trip!! Loved seeing all of your meals, and especially the desserts. Kelly, I was just wondering how you discovered your shellfish allergies? Hope it wasn’t the hard way! The last time I ate shrimp I had an unusual reaction, and now I’m wondering if I am developing an allergy. I’m allergic to many medications…so I wouldn’t be surprised!

I’m always happy to see one of your posts appear in my inbox! 🙂
Hi Ann! Yes, it was a wonderful trip….just never long enough! My shellfish allergy sort of started when we were traveling in Maine a number of years ago, and I was eating lobster every chance I got. I became nauseous at night, and just didn’t feel well. Then one summer when we were in Apalachicola, Florida, I ate shrimp every chance I could, and my hands and feet started itching nonstop and my legs started to swell. I had to see a doctor with all of that, and he said it was a classic case of shellfish allergies. I haven’t touched any since then…too afraid I would have the tormenting itching or worse symptoms. You very well could be developing an allergy to it. Mine did not start until after I was 40….and I had eaten (and loved!) shrimp my entire life until then.

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