When I began planning my family’s trip this past December I narrowed my search to New Orleans. This was the original plan with a few stops along the way in Northern Florida. Due to my husband’s schedule we had to cancel the NOLA trip and I put all my energy into Northern Florida as our primary destination.
But the sad feeling of not tasting real New Orleans grub kept nagging on me and that’s how I found Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill. They call themselves ‘A New Orleans Style Restaurant’ and that motto definitely convinced me.
Harry’s has a few different locations and as my planning progressed I found they had a location in St. Augustine Florida. Aside from the food, their courtyard (which I saw mentioned on reviews and also on their website) was a huge draw for me. With two young boys, energy has to be burned somehow and the restaurant seemed to offer the best combo.
However, when we arrived it started to rain and we weren’t able to use their garden, but it turned out that they were extremely family friendly having enough for my kids to keep busy while we waited for the food. Plus, a plentiful kids menu with absolutely insane portions at low prices.
I never had a Po Boy in my life and was able to get the classic one with both crawfish and shrimp.
Lunch was a lot of fun, but after studying the map I wanted to try the real New Orleans food, with the creole cream sauces and other dishes. Not being able to do it during lunch, we looked at our map and realized that for our next location – Crystal River, Florida, we pass right by Ocala which Harry’s has a restaurant in and we decided that would be the perfect dinner stop.
Surprise Family Picnic – Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill in Ocala, Florida
No one said anything about making reservations. And I’m not really sure if reservations are taken. But we figured it was a Monday night, during the week, no one is on vacation yet, kids are in school in the US. Since I never heard of Ocala I figured it was a small town and we would have no problem at the restaurant.
We arrived at 6 pm to find a line literally out the door and a 45 minute wait. By this time we got the kids so hyped up for yummy food there was no turning back. However, as parents worldwide know, a 45 minute wait even for a Disney ride is deadly so we had to come up with an alternative plan immediately.
By this time the rain has totally stopped and the weather was perfect outdoors. I quickly inquired if they do to-go orders and I was told yes! The restaurant is located on the corner of Ocala’s central park which was as light up as St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights festival. It looked so inviting that my husband and I decided let’s have a picnic.
My oldest son has been begging to have a picnic since forever. The moment never arrived before, so what better timing than now.
And what a picnic it was.
We got some fried shrimp from the kids menu.
And a delicioius Shrimp Etouffée
This came with the traditional Grits and Corn medley
And we had the best family dinner ever – and probably one of the most memorable one of the kids by far.
Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill has several locations. Find the one closest to you and enjoy.
They also have several different menus for different times of the day and seasons.
A Surprise Family Picnic – Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill Review