Gilbert’s Social | Where I’m Eating
Jacksonville's newest BBQ destination
A few years ago I covered one of my favorite Fernandina dining destinations, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, where celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert put his energizing twist on BBQ and Southern home cooking. I’ve sent more than a few friends up to Gilbert’s to get a taste of his soulful creations, however if you live in Jacksonville, it is a bit of a journey to get there. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce the opening of Chef Kenny’s newest restaurant Gilbert’s Social, situated right here in Jacksonville’s Southside. Located just a few miles North of one of the city’s hottest shopping and entertainment districts, Gilbert’s Social is the ideal spot to escape the hustle, and refuel in a social environment where you can unwind in a space that feels like home. 

Gilbert's Social on Southside Blvd
Gilbert’s Social is now open on Southside Blvd in Jacksonville, Fla

Get Social
Gilbert’s Social shares many similarities with his flagship location in Fernandina Beach. A homey aesthetic with accents and memorabilia reflecting parts of Chef Kenny’s personal story. The open kitchen invites the eye to explore and the spacious room commands a sense of community with it’s light and warmth. Guests are welcome, not just to dine, but to sit for a while and visit like the good ole days when time seemed to go just a little bit slower. Every detail, down to the music choice is cultivated to create a sense of ease, and authenticity. 

Grilled Marinated Okra from Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Grilled Marinated Okra

Flight of Sangria from Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Flight of Sangria

Get social at Gilbert's Social in Jacksonville

Welcome to Chef Kenny’s House

During our recent visit we were charmed by Chef Kenny’s personal attention, not just to our table, but to every table in the room. Don’t be surprised to find the Chef stopping by to make you feel at home. I loved hearing some of his personal stories of working as personal Chef for Oprah, and beating Bobby Flay with his Turkey and Dumplings dish now on the menu. Chef Kenny explained the origins of several of the dishes and broke down just what makes each unique item so special from the freshest ingredients to the infusion of exotic spices. 
Charcuterie board at Gilbert's Social in Jacksonville
On the Menu:
Charcuterie Board

Local Wild Caught Shrimp & Grits from Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Local Wild Caught Shrimp & Grits

Mac N Cheese and Shrimp & Grits at Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Anna’s Mac N Cheese (left) Local Wild Caught Shrimp & Grits (Right)
An Adventure for Your Taste Buds 

When it came to our order we chose a mixture of Southern Classics and innovative reinventions. We started with a flight of Gilbert’s refreshing Sangria. Each combination was outdone by the next with my favorite being the “Vintage”, a tart lemony concoction I quickly ordered a mason jar full of. Okra is always a must if you are eating Southern, and Chef Kenny went above and beyond with his Grilled Marinated Okra which was so good, I ate the leftovers for breakfast! Feeling adventurous, next we chose the Charcuterie Board on the Chef’s recommendation. The tasty pickles, creamy cheese, toast, and smoked meats were as good as you would expect. What was unexpected was the choice of meat in the form of shoulder, heart, and a special head cheese made from scratch. The combination of creamy, tart, and smokey flavors were truly melt in your mouth. 
Duo of Smoked Brisket at Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Duo of Smoked Beef Brisket

For our main dishes I chose the dish Chef Kenny beat Bobby Flay with, the Smoked Turkey and Dumplings. I was not disappointed. If you know anything about Bobby Flay, you know that that nobody beats him and that the man likes heat. It’s so special to get a taste of the dish that out did Bobby. Chef Kenny’s creative combination with just the right amount of heat reinvented the classic Chicken and Dumplings and gave it loads more flavor, while keeping all the comfort. My husband ordered the Duo of Smoked Beef Brisket with a combination of burnt ends and sliced brisket. Served on Texas sized toast and topped with shaved onion and shishito peppers in place of jalapeños, the Brisket was perfection on a plate. The house made sauces were an extra special treat giving the dish that distinct Gilbert’s touch. We ordered a flight of all the sauces to get a taste of each one. Not to be outdone, we simply had to taste the Mac N Cheese and Shrimp and Grits to see how the Chef adapted them. Large, wild caught shrimp donned the plate with creamy black pepper queso grits and sausage, a combination it was easy to pig out on. The Mac N Cheese was everything it should be, just like Grandma’s with that extra Gilbert’s touch.

Smoked Turkey and Dumplings at Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Smoked Turkey and Dumplings
Dessert was hard to choose from with Banana Pudding, Sweet Potato Pie, and KG’s S’mores tempting us. Ultimately I went for my home state’s signature pie, the Kentucky Derby Pie with a side of soft serve. Decadent, rich, and simply sweet it was the perfect ending to an incredible meal. 
Kentucky Derby Pie at Gilbert's Social
On the Menu:
Kentucky Derby Pie with Soft Serve
With so many stand out choices gracing the Gilbert’s Social menu, we can’t wait to dine in again and continue our journey through Chef Kenny’s imaginative take on our region’s best fare. This time we’ll be bringing friends and sharing! 
Until then…
Enjoy the Journey!
xo- Amy West
Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert and Amy West
Chef Kenny Gilbert with Amy West
Although I was honored to be a guest of Gilbert’s Social, the words and opinions expressed in this blog are solely my own. 

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