January 12, 2018
This week, we were invited to attend the media preview event for Chef Kenny Gilbert’s new restaurants in Jacksonville Beach including Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp and Gilbert’s South Kitchen & Bar. If you are not familiar with Chef Kenny Gilbert, he is best known for his appearance on “Top Chef” Season 7. He has a huge personality with a passion for making great and amazing food! Locally, he previously opened restaurants including Gilbert’s Social and Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. So, these two new restaurants are an expansion of his brand. The new restaurants officially opened to the public on Tuesday, January 9th and we have to say that you have to add these restaurants to your “must visit” list of local Jacksonville restaurants! Both restaurants have delicious food and beverages while also offering beautiful views of Jacksonville Beach. One of our favorite things about our experience was the unique dining facilities. Both Gilbert’s Hot, Chicken, Fish & Shrimp and Gilbert’s South Kitchen & Bar are located within the same facility. Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish & Shrimp is located downstairs and has a more casual, laidback and quick eats vibe. While, Gilbert’s South Kitchen & Bar is upstairs and has a more sophisticated and classier vibe. Between both restaurants, there is a bar and lounge area called the Seachasers Lounge. We loved what Chef Kenny Gilbert envisioned for these restaurants because although they both have different vibes you can feel comfortable coming in wearing whatever you want including jeans or beachwear as Chef Kenny G stated during the preview. His ultimate goal was to bring a restaurant experience to the beaches area where you can relax, unwind and be yourself while chowing down on some amazing southern comfort food.
We absolutely loved the samples of food that we were able to try that evening. At Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish and Shrimp, we sampled the catfish fillet sampler and a yummy mix of fresh seafood in Gilbert’s seafood boil. Both dishes had a perfect balance of heat and flavor that reminded us of why Southern comfort food is the best.
We also enjoyed food from Gilbert’s Southern Kitchen including their pickled vegetables and grapes as well as their lobster chowder. Although it was unexpected for us, we loved the pickled vegetables and grapes. They had a sweet and tart flavor that was absolutely addicting to the taste. We couldn’t stop eating them! The lobster chowder was warm, hearty and perfect comfort food for a cool winter’s evening.
It was such an honor listening to Chef Kenny Gilbert’s vision for his restaurants. We always love hearing people talk about their passion and stories. It truly inspire us!
We got the opportunity to chat with Chef Kenny Gilbert and Chef Mei Lin (Top Chef Season 12 winner) who assisted Chef Kenny Gilbert that evening. We talked with them about their story and any advice they would like to share with others and their advice had a similar tone. They talked about passion, work ethic and drive. Chef Kenny Gilbert said that you have to be persistent and work hard to achieve whatever you are going after and Chef Mei Lin talked all about passion and how it matters. We totally agree. We know that passion and hard work definitely produces great results.
Overall, it was an amazing night and it was wonderful meeting local food bloggers during this experience including @food_less_traveled, @willworkforheels, @natedoesfood, @natepwatson and @erinwiggleseats. So, shoutout to them…they were all such nice individuals and it was great bonding together over our love for food!
For more information on Chef Kenny Gilbert and all his restaurants, check out his websites and also find him on social media:
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