Chris Lamoureux serves up at Philly’s Finest.
“In 1988, I served my first beer in Philly. I lived outside of, came down to visit a friend in the Navy who just got stationed here and I’ve been in Jacksonville ever since,” said Chris Lamoureux, resident bartender at Jacksonville Beach’s Philly’s Finest. The Philly-themed restaurant and bar—and Lamoreaux’s home away from home—showcases delectable cheesesteaks and wings.
“The difference between living there and here is I have Philly here, but when it snows, I’m winning,” he said. Philly’s Finest has one of the few ice bars—if any—in the state, as well, which Lamoreaux takes pride in. “I haven’t seen one outside of Vegas. It does all the talking: keeps the drinks cold in the summer,” he added. “I barely have to do anything.”
Lamoureux, who was voted Best Waiter by our readers in 2003’s Best of Jax, takes a minimalist, easygoing no-frills approach to bartending. “My signature drink is a draft beer and a shot,” he said with a smile, showcasing his trademark East Coast humor. With a full liquor bar in tow, he’s open to whatever the customer desires. But the bar does feature a tropical paradise in a glass and fan favorite, the Philadelphia Rum Runner, which features a mixture of orange juice and three kinds of rum.
A familiar face in and outside of the bar, Lamoreaux carries a unique title as a long-stay resident that many may know. “I’m the Mayor of the Beaches,” he said. “Technically, there’s a mayor for each one, but I’m the mayor of all of them.” When he’s not serving beer during a Flyers game or acting as “mayor,” Lamoreaux enjoys the company of his cat. “I’m a pet lover. I was a dog lover, then my dog died,” he said. “I got a cat, then I became a crazy cat guy.”
Lamoureux will be around to serve up a smile and a tall glass for a while. “I’m very blessed to be waking up happy in this industry everyday—that’s very rare,” he said. “But for 33 years, I’ve been happy.” One can tell the love he has for his work, but the rewarding part of his job that makes his shifts brighter, he said, are his coworkers. “It’s the people you work with. The people you take care of,” Lamoureux said. “Your regulars are great, but it’s the people who are with you side by side.”