Review: Caribbean Sunrise Bakery, Jacksonville, Florida
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SHORT REVIEW: Caribbean Sunrise Bakery
The food is very good, very fresh, and very reasonably priced. They have lots of goodies: bakery on premises, hot meals to eat-in or take out, clean bathrooms, and even a drive through! Caribbean Sunrise Bakery
4106 North Main Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32206
Monday-Saturday: 8 AM to 9 PM
Sunday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Less than one and a half mile off Highway 95 is one of my favorite Jamaican eateries.
If you travel I-95 to and from Florida, one of my favorite Jamaican eateries is located less than one and a half miles off Highway 95. Caribbean Sunrise Bakery provides an excellent alternative to fast-food at the same price. Instead of a burger and fries at McDonalds or Wendy's, you can have an excellent Jamaican meal of rice and peas fried plantains and your choice of chicken, fish or beef for the price of a fast food meal. And of course there are beef and vegetable patties too. Plus you get to see Jacksonville. I had passed through Jacksonville several times on my travels to south Florida but had never stopped to explore the city. This past spring, I decided to make a detour into the city and was pleasantly surprised. If you like water and are in search of reasonably priced housing and a decent job market, you should check it out. Jacksonville is very large (the largest US city in terms of geography), and very up and coming. And not as flat as South Florida. I was impressed.
To get back to Caribbean Sunrise Bakery: The food is very good, very fresh, and very reasonably priced. They have lots of goodies: bakery on premises, hot meals to eat-in or take out, clean bathrooms, and even a drive through!
Let me say at the outset that the people at Caribbean Sunrise Bakery did not know that I was going to write a review. My review is based on about seven casual visits to Caribbean Sunrise Bakery during business trips to Jacksonville and during a trip to and from South Florida earlier this year. I later called the Caribbean Sunrise Bakery folks up to let them know that I was writing a review and asked then to mail information, which they promised to send. It did not arrive. Judging by their hours, they are very busy people. Even as we spoke by phone the proprietor was quite hurried as he orchestrated meals for the lunch-time crowd. Anyway, the fine details of ownership, years in business, their motivations, and their names can be presented at a later date. The most important thing is the food.
Arriving in Jacksonville for the first time early this year, I decided to check out the yellow pages to see if there were any Jamaican eateries. It turned out there were at least seven, including, "De Real Ting Cafe (downtown, even closer to I-95), and Taste of Jamaica Restaurant on Beach Boulevard (farther east going towards the beaches) which I visited.
My entourage and I arrived at Taste of Jamaica one night just as it was closing so the only thing I can say about them is that the place looks good, the lady (proprietor) was very friendly, very laid back, very Jamaican. At that time of the night, she was probably very tired. Running a restaurant is hard business.
We did eat at De Real Ting Cafe, the fish was fresh, good, and the portion generous. I can't tell you anything about the jerk pork, ox tail etc., because I am a sea food vegetarian. I can tell you that I am a decent cook and my mom is a terrific Jamaican cook, so I am very hard to satisfy. In short, if I give a Jamaican eatery a pass, the food is very good!
De Real Ting Cafe is a large sit down and take-out restaurant and quite a melting pot. Our Trinidadian waitress was very engaging and friendly. And while we were there we were invited to a Caribbean boat ride on the St. Johns river (the very big river that flows through Jacksonville) later in May. However, De Real Ting Cafe deserves it own review. Back to Caribbean Sunrise Bakery.
My first visit to Caribbean Sunrise Bakery was the most satisfying because it was quite a surprise. I was pleased to find this very rootsy place with a bakery on premises and a wide variety of offerings: patties (meat, vegetable, and fish), hard dough bread, buns, Muslim bean pie, brown stew fish, fried plantains, oxtail, goat, etc. I took back to my hotel a fish dinner, ginger beer, vegetable and fish patties, and a bean pie (No, I did not eat all that at the same time).
The fish was fresh and excellent, the sauce a little heavy for my taste, the plantains a little too ripe for me, however the vegetables and the rice and peas were very good. The fish dinner was very generous, enough for two people. The bean pie was one of the best I have had. And I am accustomed to the excellent one available in New York. The patties were freshly baked and excellent. The surprise was the fish patty. I had not eaten one before. It was excellent.
On subsequent trips I have dropped in for take-out lunch or snacks and I have not been disappointed. It appears the patties are always freshly baked. However there is a run on them late in the day. There is a school across the street and it seems many of the students patronize Caribbean Sunrise. So if your taste turns to patties, stop by earlier in the day when they are fresher and more available.
The clientele was quite varied. During my visits I have observed whites, Asian Indians, Black Americans and assorted Caribbeans dining at Caribbean Sunrise. Among the more colorful customers I met were a Jacksonville Policeman, An African American Minister from North Carolina, and an elderly Jamaican man who was chairing a debate on local politics.
To get to Caribbean Sunrise from Highway 95, coming from the south, take the exit for Highway 1 South, go east about a third of a mile and exit onto Main Street. Take Main Street North for about three quarters of a mile. Caribbean Sunrise bakery is a stand-alone building at a far corner of a block on the left hand side of Main Street. Coming from the North, take the Highway 1 exit, go left on Highway 1 and follow the above directions.
If you travel Highway 95 to or from South Florida or if you happen to be visiting Jacksonville, I urge you to visit Caribbean Sunrise Bakery. In the age of the cell phone, you can call ahead and place your order and pick it up at their drive through window, without missing a beat. Their food is reasonably priced, and an excellent alternative to the fast food available off the highway.
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Phone: 206-339-9034 Fax: 206-339-9034