F E A T U R E D R E S T A U R A N T
Celebrating a way of life that is immersed in the sea and sand, this St. Augustine Beach restaurant offers a stylish casual setting and inspiring food.
By Wendy White Kniffen, Publisher
When a new building rose from a sandy lot directly across from the St. Augustine Beach Fishing Pier and recreation area, St. Augustine Beach would never be the same. Based around the wildly popular lifestyle brand Salt Life, Salt Life Food Shack was a perfect fit for St. Augustine Beach and is now one of the area’s favorite dining spots. Drive down the road and almost every other car you see has a Salt Life decal in the back window. In this area, where the brand was developed, you see the Salt Life logo everywhere—on shirts, hats, sunglasses, shoes and now, best of all, emblazoned on one of St. Augustine Beach’s favorite restaurants—Salt Life Food Shack.
In 2009, influential team members who own Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille negotiated a licensing agreement with the owners of the Salt Life brand to create restaurants and destinations, which capture the spirit of the brand. Later that year, they converted their Jacksonville Beach Harry’s location to become the first Salt Life Food Shack. The restaurant met with great success and the St. Augustine Beach location soon followed. In April of 2014, the restaurant opened its doors.
Fanfare prior to the opening had been huge as the restaurant was featured on an episode of “Tanked,” which features a quirky team of fish tank designers and fabricators who develop fantastical custom designs.
Managing Partner Jeff Jabot is one of the prime movers of this popular restaurant concept and had a hand in every phase of its development—from interior design to menu development, and, of course, the custom-built, 1,000-gallon fish tank in the entrance of Salt Life.
“I just reached out to the producers of ‘Tanked’ and explained how well our concept would fit into their show,” Jabot explained. “It piqued their interest enough for them to make a visit and see it for themselves. They loved it and agreed we would be a good story for the show.”
The “marriage” of the Salt Life brand and a restaurant concept based on that lifestyle came to fruition because Jabot knew the founders of the Salt Life brand personally. “We reached out to them with the idea of giving Salt Life a sense of place. They loved the idea, and a deal was struck,” Jeff explained. “Now, anybody that has a question of what the brand is can come into Salt Life Food Shack and get a taste of what it’s truly about.”
With 6,200 square feet inside with roughly another 3,000 square feet of outside deck, the St. Augustine beach location is spectacular because its upper deck with a bar, which allows guests to enjoy the beautiful Salt Life atmosphere while dining and taking in views of the beach.
Salt Life just opened its third location on Amelia Island in November 2018 with another similar oceanview property. “We are always looking at other sites throughout the state, as long as the location is salty,” Jabot said.
“We are keeping the restaurants as true to the brand spirit as possible,” Jabot emphasized. “There is a lot of seafood on the menu. The menu was inspired by some of our favorite salty places we have visited, such as Costa Rica, Hawaii, Nicaragua, the Bahamas and the Keys. We were selective in sharing some dishes we enjoyed during those adventures..”
Salt Life’s menu best sellers are Fried Shrimp, Beach Boil, Street Tacos, Beach Burger and fresh rolled sushi. But, according to Jabot, the number-one best seller is the Poke Bowl, which was inspired by Wishbones in Playa Jaco [Costa Rica]. “It consists of fresh tuna seasoned with Caliches’s secret marinade and is served with steamed spinach over sticky rice and finished with diced avocados, green onions and sesame seeds.”
Salt Life Food Shack is open daily for lunch and dinner at 11 a.m. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday 4-6:30 p.m. Rooftop deck features bar and lounge.
“THE MENU WAS INSPIRED BY SOME OF OUR FAVORITE SALTY PLACES WE HAVE VISITED, SUCH AS COSTA RICA, HAWAII, NICARAGUA, THE BAHAMAS AND THE KEYS.”
“NOW ANYBODY THAT HAS A
Salt Life Seafood Shack
321 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine Beach