Gumbo Ya Ya’s is one of Jacksonville’s hidden gems. Before you even come in, the aroma from the kitchen gives you a hint of how amazing the food will be. Walk in and there’s a mom-and-pop kind of atmosphere, with a kick of sports bar. When an LSU (Louisiana State University) or Saints game is on, it’s packed full of local fans from both teams watching the games on the two big screens in the main dining area. Plus, you never know who might stop by, maybe a member of the Jaguars or one of their coaches if you’re lucky.
But there’s another side to Gumbo Ya Ya’s, the main reason you go to a New Orleans style Cajun and Seafood restaurant. To listen to the zydeco music, and admire the Mardi Gras beads and masks of course! You may also be stopping by for the delicious cuisine, such as the boudin balls filled with rice, pork sausage, onions and seasoning, double-battered, and fried to perfection. There’s also the Baked Ya Ya with your choice of oysters or shrimp. I chose the oyster in this amazing garlic butter sauce with cheese on top. It also comes with fresh bread straight from a bakery in New Orleans. Trust me when I say, when the oysters are gone, you will be dipping the bread in the sauce until it’s gone.
Gumbo Ya Ya’s has ample portions, but what I love about them most is the fast and friendly service, not only from the staff but the owners Lauren and Robert Alley, who grew up in New Orleans. They have been open for five years since May 2009 and are still going strong.
If you live near their location on Beach Boulevard, then you have the option of calling (404-3663) to order in instead of going out. They also offer catering. With good food and good service there’s nothing left to say but LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER! (LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!)
Mon-Sat: 11am to 9pm, Sun noon to 8pm. Gumbo YaYa’s, 14333 Beach Blvd. Suite 101, 1-877-66GUMBO or 223-0202, www.gumboyayas.com.