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I don’t love I-4, but I love the great restaurants that abound along the corridor. So to find away around the highway, this East-coaster discovered State Road 415. A locals best-kept-secret that runs into the budding city of Sanford. A quaint little downtown filled with hip pubs and live entertainment just off the waterfront. It’s also home to a landmark restaurant, directly on the banks of the St. Johns River and surrounded by the marina, a hotel, biker hot spot and more. The restaurant’s called the St. John’s River Steak and Seafood, located at 550 N. Palmetto Avenue, Sanford. Open for lunch and dinner, make sure to add them to your list of new places to visit. With BackStage Pass Magazine’s expansion

into Sanford, we have become pretty regular diners at St. John’s. But who wouldn’t be? With the friendly staff, amazing views from the dining room, the screened in lanai and outside dog-friendly patio as well as scrumptious food, it’s easy to see why. There’s even more at St. John’s to be impressed with, such as General Manager/Executive Chef, Keland McWilliams Sr.. After St. John’s River Steak and Seafood was acquired by new owners in August of 2016, they brought on New Orleans native and culinary trained Keland to show what he could do managing the busy kitchen with a staff of 4 others to assist him. He quickly proved he was the right man for the job and brought with him his Cajun Style of cooking to add flare to the new, much anticipated, menu (released in April 2017.) St. John’s is also home to Sanford native and server, Erica Ratliff. One of six children, she is a well known face around the area. Smiling and welcoming guests, she’s not only the first server at St. John’s, she’s one of the best. “I love being able to have this view everyday when I come to work. I also love taking care of our customers that frequent St. John’s as well,” Erica told us. She also mentioned that the Spinach Crab Dip and Shrimp were daily staples for her. She’s not alone, Chef Keland told us those are very popular items as the big seller, Alligator Bites. Currently St. John’s menu is comfortable for budget conscious dinners & families, but upscale enough for special occasions. You can order one of their amazing Burgers or Fish and Shrimp Tacos or sit down for a hand-cut Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail dinner. The seafood

section includes Shrimp, Crab Cake, Scallops and Clams. And the Hand-cut steaks feature Ribeyes and New York Strips as well. On the new menu you will get to try Chef Keland’s amazing Gumbo. A recipe handed down from his 80-year-old grandmother loaded with, as they say in New Orleans, the holy trinity and more. Shrimp, Chicken, Adouille Sausage and many more secrets ingredients. You can also anticipate a ½ Roasted Chicken that will be served with house-made Pineapple Mango BBQ Sauce. Also Catfish New Orleans and even a Crawfish Etouffee, to name a few of the surprises. Local musicians add to the ambiance at St. John’s River Steak & Seafood every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Plan Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day) Brunch starting at 8 AM, where you will enjoy items like Eggs Benedict, Waffles, Shrimp & Grits and more. Then for Dinner, Lamb, Steaks or Seafood will be a wonderful selection for the holiday. The large bar at St. John’s offers an amazing view from every seat. And it’s the perfect spot to stop in for Cinco de Mayo and enjoy $3.00 Margarita’s and a large selection of Chef Specials like Quesadilla’s, Steak or Fish Tacos and Chicken or Steak Fajitas.

BACKSTAGE PASS MAGAZINE • APRIL 5 - MAY 4, 2017

There are a lot of changes taking place at St. John’s Steak & Seafood so we know something new is always waiting for us each time we return. You won’t be disappointed, so venture out to the waterfront and let us know what you think. Bon Apetit!

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