Southern Living Declares St. Augustine The South's Best Food Town

May 29, 2019

When it comes to food, nobody in the South tops St. Augustine.

Southern Living magazine has put St. Augustine atop its list, “The South’s Best Food Towns 2019.”

Southern Living wrote, “St. Augustine, Florida, worked its way from the bottom to be our overall champion with their ever-burgeoning food scene anchored by restaurants like Preserved, which shows off the wealth of local ingredients in a modern way in the country’s oldest city.”

Preserved Restaurant is in the city’s historically African American Lincolnville neighborhood at the corner of Bridge Street and MLK Boulevard.

Located in the Jefferson House, the restaurant serves French cooking with Southern influences that showcase local farmers and Southern heritage.

Guests are pictured in the dining room of the Preserved Restaurant.
Credit Agnes Lopez Photography

Preserved Owner and Chef Brian Whittington said roughly 60% of his menu features food that is locally sourced within a 45 mile radius. "We definitely focus on staying in the Southeast to highlight the region, in every aspect possible," said Whittington. 

The restaurant's building is also steeped in history. In 1892, President Thomas Jefferson’s great-granddaughter, Maria Jefferson Shine, lived in the house with her husband, Dr. William F. Shine, president of the county’s Board of Health, according to the restaurant’s history page. She founded the Jefferson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

"Lincolnville doesn't get enough press for how much history actually happened in that neighborhood. So that's kind of what drew me to it," said Whittington.

In addition to Preserved Restaurant, Southern Living also recommends visiting:

Ice Plant – A vintage-themed bar and restaurant in a former ice manufacturing plant building that dates back to 1927. It features fresh, house-pressed juices and a wide assortment of bitters and specially developed syrups in its cocktails. It also offers various cuts of ice chipped from a 300-pound block. Address: 110 Riberia St.

Google Street View Of The Ice Plant

The Hyppo – The artisanal ice pop company got its start in St. Augustine in 2010.  Since then it’s opened shops in Jacksonville and cities as far south as Fort Lauderdale and is available at Publix supermarkets. Address: 48 Charlotte St.

The Floridian – Advertising itself as “innovative Southern fare for omnivores, herbivores and locavores,” the restaurant features Southern comfort food along with a lighter dishes and many vegetarian options. Address: 72 Spanish St.

Google Street View Of The Floridian

The foodie honor comes after  Money magazine last year named the Ancient City as the best Florida city to live in, writing, “The area’s economy is expected to see jobs grow by 18% between 2016 and 2021, according to Moody’s Analytics. St. Augustine already boasts a low 3.7% unemployment rate and an average commute time of 18 minutes, with more than 14% of residents walking or biking to work regularly.”

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.