Well, I do declare! Ida Claire has opened up at the St. John’s Town Center! Haha, you have to make sure you read that with your best Southern belle accent! The new “South of Ordinary” restaurant out of Texas, recently opened its doors right here in Jax last month and they are bringing us an eclectic ambiance to enjoy all three meals, Vinyl Happy Hour, and brunch on the weekends! I had the opportunity to visit on their Grand Opening Day! I tried a few of their dishes and I can say, they are a definite welcomed addition to the Town Center area!
This meal was provided c/o Ida Claire but my opinions are my own.
The new Ida Claire is located in the old Mimi’s location but you would never know there was ever a different restaurant there. It even looks bigger on the inside! There’s an open kitchen! You guys know how much I love open kitchens! The eclectic ambiance features decor acquired from travels throughout the south with an emphasis on pirate artifacts. Ida Claire puts me in the mindset of a hipster Cracker Barrel!
The 7,500 square-foot restaurant features an expansive outdoor patio with an inviting garden, anchored by two converted airstreams- one for private dining and the other serving as a bar.
Alright so on to what I know you really want to know about, THE FOOD!
Ida Claire is known for relaxing suppers and slow brunches and after indulging this particular day for lunch, I can see why leaving the table poses a challenge!
For starters, I absolutely had to try Ida’s Biscuits! I am a huge biscuit lover and was honestly most excited to try these.
They were served hot and fluffy with a side of bacon gravy, apple-strawberry jam, and honey butter. These biscuits were delicious and definitely gave me southern comfort food vibes!
I ordered a side of their spicy gumbo as well. Now I have to give this disclaimer: My mom is from Louisiana so I am use to my gumbo tasting and looking a certain way. I know I can be overly critical about gumbo so I will be as nice as possible. This gumbo from Ida Claire was good, but it didn’t have that authentic Louisiana-style gumbo flavor and consistency I’m use to. It was a little thicker than I prefer and not as spicy as I would have liked. The flavor was good though.
Next up, I tried the Wood-Grilled Chicken! This dish was quite lovely! You get half of a chicken, seasoned with African spices.
It dressed with golden raisins, collard greens, roasted squash, and a Masala tomato sauce. It was very tasty!
This next dish came highly recommended and steaming hot out of the kitchen! This is the Braised Beef Short Rib, one of Ida Claire’s most popular dishes.
It comes with smashed potatoes, baby carrots, a delicious Creole mustard-asiago butter, and gremolata. The beef was fork tender and the flavors meshed very well together! I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
Everything I tasted had pretty good flavor! I have to mention that Ida Claire has a pretty swanky Happy Hour! Affectionately known as the Vinyl Happy Hour, you can enjoy $5 bar bites and drink specials from 3pm-6pm during the week, while enjoying classic records! You can even pick the vinyl that you want played from their collection, or bring your own! I’m definitely looking forward to checking out their Happy Hour soon!
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert! By this point, I was stuffed but did get Ida’s Seasonal Pie, which was the Bourbon Pecan Pie, to go! After I made more room for the pie, a few hours later, I heated it up and enjoyed every bite!
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit! The staff was super attentive and knowledgeable, the food was good, and the ambiance was intriguing. Ida Claire is definitely a welcomed sight at the St. John’s Town Center and I can see it having success there!
Have you been yet? If so what was your favorite dish?
As always, thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!