Beach Street Grill - your entry to fine dining
We are very fortunate to have 20+ restaurants in the downtown historic district of Fernandina Beach, all within walking distance of the Inn. We will feature a little history and discussion of some of our favorites over time and perhaps give potential visitors a little more in depth look at choices here on the island.
Front view of the William Bell House
Beech Street Grill is the one restaurant in the same block with our Inn and one we often refer guests to whether they are new or returning to the island.
Beech Street Grill is an old historic home converted to a restaurant and then added on to for increased capacity and apppeal. Started by Liz Smiddy and her chef partner Rick Ericson in 1990, the restaurant features fresh local seafood, steak, pasta, and regional foods.
Identical twin brothers, William and James Bell, from Cape Fear, NC were seafarers and harbor pilots that came to Amelia Island and helped pilot ships through channels into and out of the harbor. During off-season they helped build churches and houses for other pilots, mostly in Old Town, the original local settlement. As Fernandina Beach was developed, they built more elaborate homes including the Grande Dame which was used as William’s personal home on Beech Street. It was built in 1889 as a wedding gift for his bride and featured bay windows and two story verandas with ornate Chippendale style balustrades. Constructed of heart pine, the house still has the original marble mantels and fire place facades imported from Italy and other finishing touches from England and Belgium. The house went through transitions in 1929 with additions and was a gift shop and apartments called C-House selling shells and gifts when purchased for the reataurant. It was painstakingly restored and reconfigured for the restaurant in1990 and expanded in 1992.
Front dining room at Beech Street Grill
Six separated dining rooms create quiet ambiance for diners but capacity to accomodate up to 200 guests. Rick Ericson concentrates on creating the finest cuisine with emphasis on quality and great attention to detail and fresh ingredients with exemplary service. Liz, a certified sommelier has built a wine lover’s haven that will satisfy the most enthusiastic participant with an ever-evolving array of selections. On weekends, John Springer adds to the romantic feel with baby grand piano and soft virtuoso music.
Original stairway leads to upper dining room and the Piano
Winning awards and praise from both guests and reviewers has added to the prestige and authenic experience to be found at Beech Street Grill. Their menu can be found at the Williams House guest service area and we can even comment on our personal favorites (Deborah loves their meat loaf and the spicy collards, while Byron enjoys the crab soup and the Beef Tenderloin). In our four years at the Inn, 99.99% of our guests have provided excellent feedback on their experience at Beech Street Grill, so we feel quite comfortable recommending it for your dining enjoyment. And by the way, our favorite dessert is the granny smith apple bread pudding with ice cream.
Baby Grand piano adds ambiance to upstairs dining
We have enjoyed several sessions with John Springer at the piano. Perhaps our favorite was Christmas eve dinner where virtually everyone dining joined in singing familiar Christmas carols. On another occasion Deborah and her daughter were entertained with various songs from Broadway shows and encouraged to sing along. Sometimes John plays less familiar showtunes and asks if anyone can remember the song’s title or what show it came from. It makes for great ambiance and easy listening.
A quiet corner table on the first floor