The Public House brings Euro pub grub to Baymeadows East

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Dining, Jacksonville | One Comment

The Public House, BaymeadowsThe Florida Times-Union originally published this article on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 in its Dining section. This is the unedited version of the same article. Read the Times-Union version.

For several years, a steady stream of small-chain, fast-casual comfort food outlets have come and gone from the eastern edge of the Point Meadows shopping center on Baymeadows Road near Interstate 295.

The latest tenant, The Public House, opened in November in space previously filled by Cross Creek Steakhouse & Ribs, Times Grill and Bubba Burger Grill. European pub grub is the comfort food du jour nowadays.

Atmosphere-wise, you won’t forget you’re in a strip shopping center. The well-lit, wide-open dining room and plentiful flat-screens are a far cry from Europe’s dark, ancient watering holes. Nevertheless, aspiring suburban hooligans will feel at home with soccer, UFC bouts and NFL Ticket on those flat-screens, along with 12 beers on tap and 25 domestic and import bottles behind the bar. Friday and Saturday nights bring live entertainment, an acoustic two-man band playing traditional and modern standards.

A glance of the menu will reveal English, Irish and German influences, along with—to keep everybody happy—mainstream American fare, including a New York Strip and filet. The kids’ menu is decidedly red, white and blue, too.

My dining partner and I began our virtual voyage abroad with two appetizers, the Sausage Bites ($6.99) and the Irish Nachos ($6.49). The former is a healthy portion of sliced German sausage with mustard and beer cheese dippers. The sausage was mild and wonderful with the stone-ground mustard and beer cheese. The “nachos,” meanwhile, were fully loaded potato skins—unoriginal but satisfying.

Sausage Bites!Our English-themed main courses, the Sheppard’s Pie and Fish N Chips ($10.99 each), offered extra-large portions suitable for sharing. The deep-dish pie was a well-executed strata of seasoned beef and sausage mixed with veggies and mashed potatoes, and finished with a layer of cheese. The heavy-battered fried cod bites gave good crunch and paired well with the addictive medium-cut seasoned fries and creamy dollop of coleslaw.

The general manager admitted that the 2-month-old restaurant was still playing with the dessert formula. The only options on our visit were the Key lime pie and German chocolate cake, both made on the premises.

We opted for the German ($3.99), a cake more appropriate in name than in origin (Did you know that German chocolate cake was invented in the U.S., by an American named German?). The cold, dry slab seemed like it had just been rescued from the freezer. The semi-sweet layers of coconut-pecan frosting were welcomed ooey-gooey interruptions to a cake that needed to find its inner “moist.”

Our server was friendly at every turn and helpful with recommendations. Food arrival time was teetering on the edge of acceptable given the number of diners on a Thursday night at 8.

Overall, The Public House has the potential to be a happening lunch spot with work colleagues and a fun night out with family or friends. The owners would do well to play up the global sports programming, live entertainment and friendly, neighborhood bar scene, all of which set it apart from the plethora of sports bars and national chains within easy walking distance. And while no one will accuse the menu of being innovative, what’s there is familiar and, in our recent experience, tasty. For comfort food, that makes the grade.
The Public House
10915 Baymeadows Road, Suite 135, Southside
(904) 538-0028

Type of cuisine: Pan-European pub fare
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Credit cards: All major
Bar service: Full bar
Catering: No
Children’s menu: Yes
Reservations accepted: No
Price range: Overall, moderate

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1 Comment

  1. Buddy
    January 20, 2014

    Hey Jay,

    Left you a comment under the TU review on-line. So funny, my buddies and I must have been at The Public House on that same thursday night.

    The food wasn’t great, but good enough to be a neighborhood pub and grub I guess. Not something I am going to drive out of my way for, and glad we have the Copper at my nearest old Bubba Burger location, lol…

    The beverage service was woeful, but our server was under 21 year old, and could not pour them herself. She was really trying.

    My friends did enjoy the brats that came with what appeared to be a tomato puree. The fish and chips were crunch enough, but I noticed no real seasoning in the batter.

    Again, glad I have a place like Culhane’s near me. Fionn McCool’s use to be my favorite fish and chips, but ever since they left the beach, I am not sure that is still the case. Still just not going to the Landing to eat, to big a hassle.

    Buddy