Singleton’s Seafood Shack is BACK and better than ever! One of Florida’s most authentic restaurants reopened after closing for renovations in October. This 76-year old restaurant is located on the St. John’s River in Mayport, and is quintessential “Old Florida“. We can’t wait to visit and see their brand new deck and outdoor dining area and of course, eat some delicious seafood!
Rustic and Historic Seafood
Once inside Singleton’s, your eyes will dart to the kitchen where cooks are yelling orders and deep fryers are being filled with shrimp. You also can’t miss the glass viewing case filled with filleted fish and assorted seafood on ice.
Singleton’s has the list of fresh (and local) fish posted at the door. When we visited, the fresh catch was catfish, sheepshead, flounder, and triggerfish. The most popular dish is the lightly fried Florida shrimp, served with hush puppies, collard greens, and fries. Need we say fresh and delicious? And reasonable? Two can easily eat for less than $40.
The place is usually packed, the mark of any good restaurant. Children’s voices fill the room accompanied by large families. Casually dressed locals are seated in one of three areas: an inside, disjointed dining room, an outside screened-in porch, or on the outdoor deck in view of the shrimp boats. There’s something comforting about fishing boats docked in front of a seafood restaurant.
To add to the homey, nautical nature of Singletons, the ceilings are low, the floors are made of plywood, and the tables are also made of varnished plywood. Additionally, stuffed Florida fish and funky maritime icons adorn the walls. A museum of impressive hand-carved wooden boats created by founder Captain Ray Singleton fills an entire annex off the dining room.
So, what really makes a seafood restaurant authentic?
In our opinion, first and foremost, the seafood must be F-R-E-S-H, preferably brought by fishermen direct to the kitchen. Many of our favorite seafood restaurants are on the water and fishermen pull their boats up to the dock. Some restaurants even sell seafood retail on the premises. Additionally, a menu with locally caught fish is key. “Simple” is a big part of the formula. Singleton’s has a simple menu, simple décor, simple dress code, and “simply” cooked food. This way, the seafood is the “main event”, the key to authenticity and a great Florida meal.
Looking for even more delicious seafood? Check out: Oh Shucks! The Best Oysters in Florida!
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