7 Hidden #DTJax Hotel Restaurants

You don’t have to be a tourist to check out these seven #DTJax hotel restaurants that bring their A-game when serving visitors and locals alike.  There’s something for every taste, budget, and style.  BONUS: you can totally book a room in the hotel if you eat too much and need a nap.  Now that’s convenience!

Juliette’s Bistro and J-Bar

Omni Jacksonville Hotel

245 Water Street



When entering Juliette’s Bistro from the brilliantly sunlit atrium lobby of the elegant Omni Jacksonville Hotel, there is a shift in the theme: from a minimalist, tropical paradise to a delightfully comfortable, mid-century vibe.  Warm woods, parquet floors, reflective brass wall sconces, fun patterns, and pops of colors excite but do not overwhelm in this intimate, yet open dining room and bar. Oh, and their shrimp and grits are something out of this world.

Erin Goodyear, Head Hostess at Juliette’s, waxes rhapsodic about the restaurant: “we want our guests to be at home here, the Omni corporate architects design every hotel to have a familiar, cozy feel that blends with the style of the city in which they are located, and we do our best to accommodate that with our menu as well.  When people come here, it can be stressful being away from the comfort and familiarity of home; so if they get up, have a cup of coffee, some eggs, and turkey sausage, we want to offer that to them to make them feel as relaxed and at home as we possibly can.”

That at-home feeling is available 365 days a year, as well: because of Juliette’s location in the Omni, they are open on holidays with themed menus to give diners a complete sensory experience of the day.  The upcoming theme for December is “Cookie Cocktails,” with six artisan libations sure to please Santa while he’s leaving presents under the tree. Foodies may also be pleasantly surprised to learn that Juliette’s locally sources their ingredients in order to emphasize both thoughtful presentation and preparation of the meals they serve to guests, be they local or hotel patrons from afar.

Erin does caution, however, to keep an eye on the Times Union schedule: “reservations on show nights are highly encouraged, and we do stop taking them at some point, so try to plan in advance!”  The Omni Hotel is directly across the street from the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, and the staff at Juliette’s are well-versed in ensuring patrons can get dinner, make it out in time for curtain, and encourage them to return for a little after-show drink and dessert bite.  If you’re due for a theater night, check the schedule at Times-Union, book your tickets, and immediately call Juliette’s for a reservation, it will make for an incredible night on the town.

Shor Seafood Grill & Tavern

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront

225 E Coastline Drive

Upon entering the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront, it’s hard to miss the seating for Shor, the dining area is mostly open-air under the vaulted ceilings, with only minimal structuring separating it from the rest of the lobby.  Recently renovated after Hurricane Irma had her way in 2017, the restaurant and bar are still in a state of flux while they switch out and update furniture, but looking at it today, the style is contemporary without being too boring, and cozy without being too casual.  It’s classy here, relaxed and just a bit refined.

Open from 6 am to 10 pm daily, the main dining room closes mid-afternoon for menu and kitchen turnover, and the Shor Tavern bar behind it takes over the serving of customers between 2:30 and 5 pm and staying open until 2 am.  The full menu is available at the bar, as well as a plentiful assortment of libations to please just about everyone’s tastes. The bartender, Amie, is sweet, friendly, and more than happy to recommend some items from the menu: blackened mahi-mahi fish tacos with shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado crema, served with a choice of waffle fries or coleslaw; roasted cauliflower and kale salad with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a house ranch dressing made with Intuition Ale; assorted flatbreads, including four cheese, red grape and prosciutto with mozzarella, or bacon, clam, and burrata.

The majority of Shor’s ingredients are locally and thoughtfully sourced, and their Chef de Cuisine, Jeffery Coil has built the menu from the bottom up using his experience in Seattle to create a new urban style menu.  Not only are all offerings available at the bar, but the bar is extremely well-designed with customers in mind. There are plenty of purse hooks for one, which should be standard but somehow never are, and there are USB and standard outlets under the bar so you can quite literally stay plugged in while you sit and sip.  The solid glass pendant lights above the bar cast a warm glow and almost look like ice, a pleasing addition to the overall decor. A small but impactful detail is the bar’s use of colored paper straws, which aren’t just a fancy touch, they’re also more eco-friendly than typical plastic disposable straws. The grill and tavern are also wallet-friendly: patrons can get parking validation for the hotel garage, a great incentive to pay the hotel a visit and spend an evening along the Northbank Riverwalk, which will also have boat slips installed next year for the yachting enthusiasts, and is within walking distance of the renowned Florida Theatre.  So much thought has been put into the design, presentation, and experience of the restaurant, it’s “Shor” to please just about everyone. 

Hyatt Regency Market

Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront

225 E Coastline Drive



For the Downtown 9-5 crowd who are too busy to sit down and relax over a lunch meeting (shame, but understandable), those who are peckish at 3 am, and those who crave Starbucks at all hours, The Market has what you’re looking for.  A 24 hour a day, 7 days a week café in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront serves up soups, sandwiches, flatbreads, pastries, quiches, and chicken pot pies, just to name a few. They carry a multitude of beverage options including Starbucks coffee, tea, espresso, and frappuccinos; beer, wine, and cocktails; as well as a host of soft drinks and juices.  Everything is made fresh daily, making The Market a great grab-and-go option any time of the day or night.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Riverfront

1201 Riverplace Boulevard




If you crave an upscale, date-wowing, moan-into-your-fork eating experience, you are looking for all that is Ruth’s Chris.  With stunning views of the St. Johns and John T. Alsop Jr. Bridge (pro tip: get there just before sunset in order to watch the sky become a riot of color and the Main Street Bridge light up blue!) Ruth’s Chris exhibits their world-famous, impeccable white-glove service, and sizzling, USDA Prime steaks.  Make sure you check out the vintage photos and menus on the walls as you approach the hostess station and marvel at their prices from 1965: $6.50 for a filet, ribeye, or sirloin, or $13.00 for a porterhouse for two!

Ask anyone familiar with the establishment: Ruth’s Chris is an experience.  From the time you step through the double doors and into their intimate dining room, all senses are given a luxurious treat.  Tables covered in double white linens, sparkling glass, ceramic, and silverware, candlelight and softly glowing sconces on the walls, as well as “VIP red” carpet, evoke luxury everywhere one looks, in addition to the stunning river view and impeccably dressed staff.  It’s quiet here, guests and waitstaff alike speaking in hushed murmurs as though the very space were sacred, and it is: this is the Holy Church of Steak. It’s hard not to let out a gratuitous “Hallelujah!” when the sound of perfectly seared, sizzling steak hits your ears and you realize you are the lucky recipient of a perfectly cooked cut of top-grade beef.  The smells are enough to hijack your mind: steak crackling in butter on a 500°F plate, whole-pound baked potatoes piled high with all the toppings, and even just a whiff of their signature crème brûlée is enough to make you forget your diet forever and hope you wore your “big pants.”  The clear frontrunner of the Ruth’s Chris sensory experience, however, has to be the moment the first bite crosses your lips. Perfectly prepared, presented, sourced, and seasoned flavors are a sumptuous gift to the taste buds.  The simple but rich flavors don’t overwhelm but immerse in a thoughtfully opulent, gustatory escape that compels one to close their eyes and savor each bite for as long as possible. Ruth’s Chris is truly the pinnacle of “treat yourself” culture.

St. Johns Provision Co.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Riverfront

1201 Riverplace Boulevard



Tucked away on the left end of the main lobby of the DoubleTree Hilton Riverfront Hotel, restaurant St. Johns Provision Co. elicits an air of privacy and seclusion next to an equally intimate lounge.  Together, they serve up craft cocktails, beer, and coffees from local distilleries, breweries, and roasters, as well as food from a bill of fare described as “southern staples with coastal flair.” Plenty of seafood dishes nestle alongside comfort food favorites on the menu, which has a beautiful image of Downtown and the St. Johns drawn in 1876.  Menu items that stand out include the “Mayport Martini,” a shrimp cocktail elegantly served in a large martini glass with horseradish chili sauce and a slice of lemon; “Cowford Poutine,” a callback to the original name for Jacksonville before 1822; and the “Mayport Fish,” a “‘wich” consisting of fresh catch-of-the-day, fried, blackened, or grilled on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and remoulade dressing.  House desserts like “Chef Lou’s banana puddin’,” which is made fresh every day, and a mouthwatering orange dreamsicle cake called “The Orange Grove” will round out your meal with something sweet.

The lounge also offers happy hour specials Sunday through Thursday from 4 pm— 7 pm with $2 off appetizers, $3 domestic beers, $4 craft beers, and $5 house wines and well drinks.  A weekly signature cocktail, concocted by their excellent bartenders, typically features and highlights the local spirits of Manifest, Carve, and St. Augustine distilleries.  If you’re looking for something with a few more hops, you can always grab a Bold City Brew or Intuition Ale, and if you’re a total teetotaler, the tapsters would be more than happy to craft you a latte or americano made with local Martin espresso.

On the other side of the hotel, the expansive pool terrace has stunning views of the historic location of Cow Ford Crossing on the St Johns.  If you happen to get peckish or crave a libation while you’re by the pool, St. Johns Provision Company has you covered. Saunter up to the outdoor cabana bar and order from the same delicious appetizer and drink menu found in the lounge, but with distinctly tropically-sounding new names: Slip-N-Sliders, Poolside ‘Dilla (quesadilla), and Cha Cha Chicken (wings or tenders), to name a few.  If you find yourself there from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm on Thursday evenings, check out their excellent happy hour during the weekly Riverfront Live! event. Live local artists perform for pool-loving locals and hotel guests, adding to the “tropical resort” feel of the terrace. An excellent reason to always keep a pair of flip flops and some sunscreen in your desk for some post-office, Friday-Eve relaxation.

Southbank Johnnie’s

Lexington Hotel and Conference Center Jacksonville Riverwalk

1515 Prudential Drive



The lobby of the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center in Southside beautifully blends “light and airy” with “functionally industrial,” a dichotomy that somehow totally works.  Light, distressed wood floors, a plethora of contemporary seating, and modern accenting decor blend with 40-foot vaulted ceilings that showcase I-beams, skylights, and exposed metal rafters.  A pair of dueling baby grands in black and white flank a shaftless, exposed elevator at the back of the space which makes for a stunning focal point. The clean lines, open feel, and slight industrial look are recent: last summer, Lexington completed a $30 million renovation of the entire interior of the hotel and conference center: Five floors.  323 guest rooms. 18 suites. 35 thousand square feet of banquet space.

To the left of the entrance is a sprawling bar accompanied by a smattering of tables tucked into two alcoves.  This is Southbank Johnnie’s, the pride of the Lexington. Open from noon to midnight during the week and until 2am Friday and Saturday nights, Johnnie’s has the longest happy hour in Downtown, from 4 pm – 9 pm.  The craft-obsessed will love the bar’s commitment to serving exclusively local beer, and the foodies will dig the full menu that reflects simplicity and attention to detail. Their “Morsels of the Sea,” fried grouper bites with a Cajun-spiced remoulade, have a reputation on their own, and their fully customizable gourmet burgers feature three protein options, three types of buns (or a lettuce wrap for the low-carb crowd), four kinds of cheese, and eight premium toppings.

With a River Taxi port in front, Kings Avenue Skyway station in the back, and the termination of Route 1 at Prudential Drive, Aaron Holley, the hotel’s Food and Beverage Manager, proclaims: “All roads lead to Lexington!  It’s so easy to get here, we would love to see the lunch crowd come in and see what we have to offer.” Not only are patrons welcome to dial in to the hotel’s guest wifi, but there are USB charging ports set straight into the bar, making it an ideal place to host a working lunch.  If you eat a little too much, walk it off on the stunning Southside Riverwalk, just steps away from the front door. Additionally, the bar will validate parking for their patrons, so there’s really no excuse not head to Southbank for a sip and a bite.

Pier 1515

Lexington Hotel and Conference Center Jacksonville Riverwalk

1515 Prudential Drive



The other eatery found at the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center is Pier 1515 (that’s “one-five, one-five,” not “fifteen-fifteen,” FYI).  A nod to the hotel’s street address, Pier 1515 serves breakfast daily, with a simple but varied menu.  Standouts include a house corned beef hash and a carnitas (pulled pork) breakfast burrito, complete with refritos and tomatillo.  The restaurant itself is on the first floor of the hotel and will soon boast outside patio seating for the bistro dining-inclined, in addition to its spacious, casual dining room and an extra anteroom space that is typically used for expansive buffet spreads.  Aaron emphasizes that while Pier 1515 is a functional, full-service restaurant, the hotel is designed as a conference center and was made for private events large and small. The 35 thousand square feet breaks down quite nicely, from intimate spaces for a dozen or so to a 600 person ballroom, and any adjacent areas can be booked together in order to accommodate large groups with distinct, functional areas.

Pier 1515 handles all of the catering and room service for the Lexington, including their rooftop and pool deck events.  Once a month or so, Aaron books a band or a DJ to play poolside, sets up a full-service bar, and has loads of food brought out.  There’s even bottle service available for the first-floor pool suites, which come with their own private pool-adjacent patios and cabanas.  “It’s the ultimate venue for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or just a fun weekend hanging by the pool, it’s a great space” Aaron remarks.  Those portable bars and chafing dishes will be present at the new Topsider Brunch that Aaron is starting on the fifth-floor rooftop patio along with a stunning panoramic view of the St Johns River.  Aaron encourages locals, especially the hotel’s neighbors living in The Strand, The Peninsula, and Broadstone River House (opening in 2019), to come in for a visit and make Southbank Johnnie’s and Pier 1515 their new favorite standby for after-office drinks, a quick date night, rooftop brunches on the river, and poolside parties.