Restauranteur Bobby Handmaker recently invited me to check out the new renovations at Cruisers Grill in Jacksonville Beach. After a million-dollar-plus renovation, Cruisers Grill, a long-time beach staple is looking better than ever. Along with the new facelift, there is an expanded outdoor patio with 40 more seats, a full bar, as well as a brand-new full-service open kitchen.
Bobby shared with me on the first few days of their soft opening; they were overwhelmed with the response from the locals, with people standing in line to get into the restaurant. It was indeed a warm welcome back after being closed for so many months. It’s no secret that Cruisers has been the winner of many “Best Of” awards since their beginning in 1996. When I arrived well past lunchtime but too early for dinner, there was an unusually large crowd in the restaurant and bar for the time of day.
We talked about the food as a giant platter of almost all the appetizers arrived at the table. You can’t order this particular offering, but everything is available on the menu plus a few more. What you are looking at, Onion Rings, Fried Shrooms, Buffalo Chicken, Marinated Chicken, and the award-winning cheddar fries covered in Jalapeno, and Bacon. There are several more options also available not shown here.
It was clear to see Bobby is all about the service, he greeted guests like they were old friends, and according to him, many of them are. He shared that families that came to the restaurant as children still enjoy visiting with their children.
Our next treat, something I have not eaten since my childhood a Fried Bologna Sandwich. Made with house-cured bologna, fried crispy with Provel cheese, and Dijon ranch served on white bread with a fried egg. This humble sandwich was a winner in my book.
We closed with the Blackened Grilled Mahi Mahi served on a freshly baked sesame bun with house-made slaw and ranch dressing. The fish itself, a large portion, was well seasoned, firm and moist. It is certainly something I would recommend and order again.
I certainly see why locals would flock to Cruisers Grill. The food is on point, friendly staff and service, and owner Bobby Handmaker ensures your experience is going to be the best possible.