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“Great Seafood Buffet”
Review of Southern Charm

Southern Charm
Ranked #43 of 2,029 Restaurants in Jacksonville
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $6 - $23
Cuisines: Barbecue, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Buffet, Reservations
Description: Cash only. Its worth every penny. Friday and Saturday Evening, Reservations are required for the Dinner Extravaganza....its an experience you won't want to miss!
Jacksonville, FL
Level 6 Contributor
232 reviews
130 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
“Great Seafood Buffet”
Reviewed September 18, 2011

I know what you are saying- this is a BarBQue place. Not on Friday nights. It is a seafood place and one of the best in JAX. The owner/chef does a great job of keeping every dish piping hot and fresh by doing something I have never seen anywhere else: the buffet is served to a single group lucky enough to have gotten here early or having made reservations. The ones lucky enough to have done so will enjoy a great meal served to only that group and all starting when the chef gives the signal. To top this off, he also continues frying shrimp to perfection and brings the shrimp right to your table in his pan to serve them fresh during the entire meal. The chef wears a huge oversized chef's hat and is a one man show the entire evening.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank fastman83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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174 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    133
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tallahassee, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Super friendly, super meal.”
Reviewed September 11, 2011

I'll keep it brief and to the point. The meal was very tasty. The portions were generous to mind boggling. The waiter and owner were attentive, and very friendly.

Don't let the exterior scare you away, inside it's very inviting, yet simple. If you want barbecue or fried seafood, you won't go wrong at Checkers.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank lyonsdigital
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jacksonville, fl
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Best Fried Shrimp in the World...and It Comes with Art!”
Reviewed July 28, 2011

A common complaint from many is that Jacksonville is a seamless, endless parade of strip centers and chain restaurants. One has to do some serious poking around to find real local color and flavor. Checker Bar-b-que fits the bill. The main attraction (apart from the spot's amusing outgoing chef/owner) are the fried shrimp. The 15-piece shrimp plate (with two sides and cookies) typically contains about 28 shrimp. (I always count.) Art likes to joke about his outsized portions. "We practice strict portion control here," he once offered. Another time he bragged: "That 15-piece shrimp dinner has exactly 15 shrimp. I counted each and every one of them." This monster meal costs eight or nine dollars. For someone with an insane appetite, the Trailer Trash Special would work. It includes the 15-pieces of shrimp, plus a BBQ sandwich and extras. The shrimp are fresh and locally caught. None of that farm-raised garbage from Ecuador or Asia. The breading is light and non-greasy. I'd have to say the opposite for the collard greens, which are greasy, which happens to be the way this eater likes them. Go there.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
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Helpful?
1 Thank senorbigstuff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Punta Gorda, Florida
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nondescript Exterior Hides Wonderful Food Inside”
Reviewed July 27, 2011

I was in Jacksonville to visit my daughter and her husband over a recent weekend. Knowing my penchant for good food and drink, she took me to several brew pubs for local craft beer but saved the best for last. That would be Checker Bar-B-Que. From the outside, this place doesn't look like much, but inside there is a cornucopia of real Florida cracker cooking waiting for you.

We went on a Saturday night for dinner, which starts at 6:30. The place is open then, but the night's menu doesn't appear until Chef Art rings the dinner bell at 7:00. Everything is buffet style and everything is excellent. You get three kinds of shrimp, a wonderful mashed potato, cheese and scallop casserole, barbecued short ribs, Florida whiting in a light corn meal batter, crab cakes and lots of real country sides. My favorite items were the blackened shrimp, collard greens with pork and the best cheese grits I've ever had. Once the buffet line is open, Art doesn't stop cooking. It's all you can eat, and he makes sure that you are well and truly stuffed by the time you waddle out of the place.

Two points need to be made if you are planning to go to Checker Bar-B-Que. First, do call ahead, especially if you are intending to show up for dinner on a weekend. Reservations are a must as the place will be packed. I'm told that it's sometimes possible to walk up and be seated without a reservation, but it's a crap shoot. The night we were there, some people were turned away because there were just no seats left.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the only beverages served at the restaurant are non-alcoholic, including soft drinks, sweet and unsweet iced tea and a lime drink. If you want beer and wine, you are welcome to bring your own. I would estimate that about half of those attending did bring their own beer, wine and even champagne.

The food, as I said, is great, and Art adds a lot to the experience with his colorful personality and obvious passion for his craft. "Hot Shrimp!!!!"

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chunkasaurus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville Fl
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“An Amazing amout of food.”
Reviewed April 10, 2011

I knew Art when he was at Palm Fish Camp and I wondered what happened to him. Then thru a friend, I found him here. If you like home style fried shrimp and fish cracker style, this is the place for you. Keep in mind that Art dont know how to count, when you order a 30 shrimp dinner you are more likely to get 60 shrimp. I go there for the seafood but the BBQ is pretty good also. On Friday and Saturday (reservations only) they have a buffet that you wont believe. Fried, Blackened, and peel & eat shrimp, fried fish, crab cakes loaded with real crab meat, cole slaw, baked beans, fried green tomatoes, and collard greens so good makes you want to slap your mama. While your eating, Art will come around with a skillit full of blackened shrimp and plate after plate of fried shimp....this place dont look like much on the outside but the food is great on the inside...come hungry...call ahead for hours because they change from time to time.

  • Visited April 2011
    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank gatorron7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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