This Man Has an Island

Here in Fernandina Beach, we markthis time of year with our annual celebration of the shrimping industry. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival begins this weekend. But I’m not going to write about the festival. If you’re a regular reader of this fabulously entertaining and highly informative weekly column, you might’ve noticed I’ve chosen to boycott all in-depth discussions of holidays, festivals and events for 2019. You are welcome! While every other food or travel publication pumps out the same basic article each year for celebration days such as Easter, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc., I’ve challenged myself to break from the herd of those journalistic lemmings and keep things fresh and creative each week.

And speaking of fresh and creative—something far more exciting is taking place right now in Fernandina. Any guesses? Go ahead, don’t be shy. No clue? OK, I’ll just come right out and say it: My new restaurant has finally opened. It’s in the same space as the former Sabbia. It’s called “Island Kitchen.” The concept is fresh Florida cuisine, meaning I’m attempting to procure as much of my larder as locally as possible. The reason behind this idea is quite simple. I’ve spent the last 10 years of my career developing relationships with many of the area’s best food producers, and now I have the opportunity to not only utilize, but share these artisan products with a much larger group of people on the First Coast.

Because the term “local” has no true definition when it comes to sourcing food products, I’ve decided to break it down into two categories: local, meaning regional sources, I’m referring to the Low Country and stretching to Central Florida; and hyperlocal, products produced specifically within the 904.

The hyperlocal 904 farmers start with Cabbage Creek Farm up the road from me, in Hilliard. Let me tell you, this couple has some of the best produce I’ve ever purchased. This farm is not only organic, but truly seasonal, and it’s the best farm in NEFlorida. Other amazing farms I utilize include Bacon’s Select Produce and Traders Hill Farm. Both of these operations feature hydroponic and aquaponic farming techniques. High-tech and high-quality are their calling cards. Next week, I’ll tell y’all about other local and regional purveyors. Until then, check out my new menu at Island Kitchen. Hope to see you in my place soon!


Chef Bill’sIsland Kitchen Menu

Bowls/Salads             Soup of the Day

Rosemary Chicken Antipasto Bowl $12

• Local greens, crispy salami, marinated tomatoes, pickled onions, roasted red peppers, olives, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette

Pineapple Shrimp & Basmati Rice Bowl $12

• Mayport shrimp, steamed basmati rice, baby spinach, pineapple, piquillo peppers, pickled  red onions, goat cheese, mustard, citrus drizzle

Yogurt Chicken & Rice Bowl $11

• Yogurt-marinated chicken breasts, steamed basmati rice, tzatziki, shaved carrot & radish, marinated cumber red onion salad

Quinoa Power Bowl $10

• Baby kale, Asian spinach, dried cranberries,  English cucumber, sunflower seeds, marinated tomatoes, goat cheese, chick peas, citrus vinaigrette

Island Kitchen Salad Bowl $8

• LOCAL mixed greens, baby tomatoes, red onions, cucumber, shaved radish, balsamic vinaigrette

Salad Add-Ons: Rosemary Chicken $4, Shrimp $5, Fish of the Day $5

Shrimp Macaroni & Cheese $12

• Bacon, Piquillo peppers, chedder, Parmesan, goat cheese


Sandwiches & Paninis $11 (with a choice of Island Kitchen salad, soup or fries)

Roasted Eggplant Pannino

Hummus, arugula pesto, goat cheese, sautéed peppers

Smoked Turkey Grilled Cheese

Gouda, tomato

Roasted Chicken Pannino

Arugula, fresh mozzarella, citrus vinaigrette

Roasted Ham & Brie Baguette

Brie, baby spinach, piquillo peppers, three mustard dressing

Seared Grouper Baguette

Tomatoes, arugula, Creole remoulade

Grilled Pimiento Cheese

Bacon, tomatoes

Chipotle Shrimp Salad Sammi

Arugula, Texas toast