By Dylan Bailey
A hidden gem nestled in Fernandina Beach is Garden Street Bistro. A place where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the irresistible scent of sizzling bacon, and the promise of a delicious meal awaits one and all.
Garden Street Bistro, previously known as Bright Mornings, is the brainchild of Max Gonzalez. His journey in the culinary world kicked off when he was just 15 years old, starting from the bottom rungs of the food industry ladder.
Max’s dream was to open a pizza place when he arrived in Fernandina. However, the idea of a breakfast kitchen came to life when he noticed customers queuing up, craving pancakes while he was preparing the restaurant for opening. Max saw an opportunity and seized it. Opening the doors of the Bistro within a month, he initially offered pancakes and eggs. Today, the menu has expanded to include a variety of breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes.
One of the best things about Garden Street Bistro is its location. Away from the main road of Centre Street, you can sit outside comfortably with a lack of passing vehicles. A pergola leads to the outdoor dining area, adorned with flowers, vines, and plants. It feels like you’re stepping into a garden. Hence, the name, Garden Street Bistro.
The outdoor seating area offers an excellent spot to enjoy the weather. The indoor dining area is just as inviting. Its decor is warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere is cozy. The vibe is casual, laid back, and perfect for enjoying a leisurely meal.
The menu at Garden Street Bistro is a testament to Max’s culinary journey and expertise. It features three pages of mouth-watering options including brunch, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, and of course, breakfast.
Eager for a hearty breakfast, I decided to try the grits bowl, priced at $14. Normally this would be closer to $17, but they are currently offering a discount for early birds. The grits bowl features cheese grits, scrambled eggs, and bacon. The cheesy grits were cooked to perfection, with no hint of the burnt taste that often comes from overcooking. The scrambled eggs were soft and fluffy, and the bacon added a smoky, salty bite that complemented the creaminess of the grits. The dish was garnished with little flakes of mozzarella, adding an extra layer of cheesy goodness.
Next up was the toasted bagel sandwich. With the early morning discount, it came in around $9. An everything bagel housed bacon, cheese, and an over-hard egg. The bagel was beautiful, and the egg and bacon were cooked wonderfully. The cheddar cheese added a nice, sharp touch. Some cream cheese on this would have made it even tastier!
I was curious to see how the service would be since most of the negative reviews online are about that. I had no issues with ordering or the wait for my food. In fact, the staff was friendly and accommodating.
My overall experience at Garden Street Bistro was thoroughly enjoyable. The atmosphere was comfortable, the food was fantastic, and the location was delightful. Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Fernandina Beach, Garden Street Bistro is definitely worth a visit. With its delicious breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, and pizza options, there’s something for everyone. I’m already looking forward to my next visit!
Garden Street Bistro
Address: 105 S. Third St., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Hours: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Open: All week, excluding Tuesday