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Hallowed Grounds

Move right on into Southern Grounds


A cup of joe, free wifi, a solid sandwich and maybe even a piece of cake for dessert–these things can make a girl camp out all day. You may wish you had all this in your own home, but it’s nice to get out of the house every once in a while.

The latest sweet spot is Southern Grounds & Co. Hugging a corner near the heart of San Marco, this neighborhood haunt has all the aforementioned perks and more.

Southern Grounds does it all: breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks, pastries, charcuterie and cake (supplied by the amazing Biscottis). And grab a beverage to go with. You can choose from coffee, tea, wine, local beer and kombucha.

I couldn’t make it in for dinner, but the breakfast and lunch are quite legit and quite affordable. The Grits Bowl ($7) is warm and comforting, with all you could possibly want for breakfast–including a poached egg. Now, I’m extraordinarily picky when it comes to poached eggs. (They absolutely must be yolky!) When I took my fork to this œuf, it oozed delightfully onto the cheese-laden grits. The whole thing was topped off with crisp bacon crumbles.

A favorite among millennials for good reason, Avocado Toast ($7.25) has the right stuff. Slices of eponymous avocado are artfully arrayed on a nice slice of sourdough, sprinkled with diced tomato, red onions and feta cheese. Though mine was fully loaded, I felt it still could have had a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a nice pinch of fancy salt.

Lunch options are hot and cold. The chicken salad sandwich ($10.50) on a croissant is the deli lunch fave, with pitch-perfect texture: chunky but not so clumsy that the chicken bits tumble off the bread. Mixed with mayo and crunchy minced celery, topped with just a little lettuce, it’s a solid combo. I just wish it had more flavor in the seasoning department. Usually, we over-salt food here in the States, but this mixture could’ve used another dash (or more) and an extra sprig of rosemary.

A plump blueberry scone ($3.95) caught my eye in the pastry case. (OK, several items caught my eye in the pastry case.) But scones first! This berry delight was tasty, but I hate to say, this was not a scone. It was soft and moist like a muffin. And I’m not complaining that it was all muffin-top all the time, but it is a far cry from the familiar dry English variety. A scone should cry out for a cuppa and some clotted cream. This plump bird was way too juicy for all that.

If you think you’ve heard of this place, you’re not wrong. Southern Grounds first opened in Neptune Beach. Ample parking and outdoor seating are definite bonuses for this site. As we fall into “winter” (aka, not 80° season), this is a great place to grab a beer or coffee and “chill.”

When you go for dinner, check out grilled salmon salad and five-hour espresso braised pork tacos.


If you have a recommendation or know of a new place, shoot me an email at

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