Jacksonville chicken landmark revamping, reeling in seafood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Changes are coming to an 80-year-old restaurant known for its mouthwatering fried chicken in St. Nicholas.

Beach Road Chicken Dinners is getting a makeover and the new owners of this Jacksonville staple are hoping to restore it to its former glory. Nathan Stuart and Margo Klar, both owners of Orange Park Fish House & Oyster Bar, said they've got a full transformation and menu revamp in store.

"When you say Beach Road, it's like a little antenna pops up and it's, like, 'Oh, I know Beach Road. It's been there forever,'" Stuart said.

They said they had to take a bite out of Beach Road as soon as it was up for sale and potential demolition.

"Multiple people were looking at buying the property to develop and bulldoze and we thought we couldn't let that happen," Stuart added.

So they're hoping to save it by serving up a hybrid menu of seafood, the fried chicken that locals love, and new items that Stuart hopes will be staples for the next 80 years

"You can get fresh, local shrimp or the chicken that Beach Road is known for. We're going to carry both," Stuart said.

The restaurant's faded red and yellow sign will be replaced when the name changes to Beach Road Fish House & Oyster Bar. Inside, the transformations are already underway.

"We're painting inside and out. We'll have new hardwood floors put in, no more carpet. All the bathrooms are getting redone. We'll be getting all new appliances in the kitchen. Everything will just be brand-new," Stuart explained. 

Klar added they'll be turning part of the parking lot into an outdoor patio.

The restaurant is expected to reopen in September, but in the meantime, you can still order from its takeout menu.