By Dylan Bailey
On its website, Grumpy’s Restaurant says it is bringing dining back to its roots. The full-service Americana and Southern-style diner started in 1999 in Orange Park, Florida. It spread, and now, one of its newest locations has taken Wildlight by storm.
The restaurant has only been open for two months and already has earned an impressive 4.5 stars on Google. With a line that has wrapped out of the building and positive buzz spreading like wildfire, saying the owners have struck gold is a wild understatement.
LeAnne and Ray Rhoden are the husband and wife duo overseeing the Wildlight location. LeAnne is no amateur in food service, having owned the Subway in Callahan for more than 20 years.
She and Ray, longtime Nassau County residents, moved to Wildlight in 2020. They are ecstatic to be bringing Grumpy’s to the area.
As the two were driving around Middleburg, Florida, looking for a place to eat, they spotted a new restaurant and asked, “What’s a Grumpy’s?” LeAnne told me that as soon as she and Ray tasted the orange juice, they knew they’d found a special place. The atmosphere, food, and how family-oriented it was, further solidified the decision to look into opening one.
Ray, who’s been in law enforcement for close to 24 years, knew the Wildlight area was clamoring for a sit-down diner. There was nowhere in Wildlight to get an authentic sit-down breakfast in any direction within 12 miles (well, except for Huddle House).
LeAnne and Ray’s passion for Grumpy’s and their employees’ well-being were clear with each word they spoke when I met them. And after all the talk of food, I was ready to sink my teeth into the menu.
I dined inside. But if you’re looking for a spot in Wildlight to bring your pet, Grumpy’s has an outdoor seating area that is pet friendly.
Grumpy’s menu is teeming with tasty food. From an array of breakfast items to hearty lunch offerings, there was no lack of choice. For this visit, I went with their breakfast offerings. And the restaurant has daily specials, which can range from specialty waffles to unique omelets.
I ordered Grumpy’s Big Breakfast. Two eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, bacon, hash browns, and their special of the day: Oreo Belgian waffles, which was a premium upcharge. The total price of this meal came out to $21.28.
The decadent plate of Belgian waffles came out first, and the presentation was spectacular – a plate covered with chocolate drizzle, a generous amount of whipped cream, and crushed-up Oreos decorated the waffles. I can say this was worth the upcharge ($5.50) because every bite was divine. The waffles themselves were fluffy and warm, and the crunch of the Oreos made for a satisfying, textural bite each time. This is a filling meal, so if you’re not ravenous, expect your stomach to be full once you’re finished.
Grumpy’s Big Breakfast came soon after, on a plate filled to the brim. Perfectly cooked, golden hash browns, fluffy eggs, and smoky, crispy bacon were a feast for my eyes. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a while. With pronounced flavors and a generous serving, I’ll order this again in a heartbeat.
One thing I was concerned about when coming to Grumpy’s, was how quick the service would be. A new restaurant, especially one that is popular, has a high chance of lengthy wait times. My wait was almost nonexistent. From the moment I sat down to ordering and then receiving my food, it was speedy and the staff was friendly and courteous, which made the dining experience even more enjoyable for me.
LeAnne and Ray have poured a lot of love into this establishment and it shows. From the quality of the food served to the staff’s professionalism, I loved my time at Grumpy’s.
P.S.: When you dine at Grumpy’s, make sure you check their board for new specials — even breakfast specials!!
Address: 76030 William Burgess Blvd., Unit 6, Yulee, FL 32097
Open: All week
Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.