By J.M. Copeland
For Hometown News
Locals looking for a restaurant with good food and a view of which our northern neighbors can only dream will find both at JC's River Deck on Main Street in Daytona Beach.
Mention Main Street and most think of motorcycles, but restaurant owner John D'Hondt wants folks to know that if they go a couple blocks west toward the Intracoastal Waterway they will find another side to the famed thoroughfare at the northeast corner of the Main Street bridge.
"So many come and see the atmosphere and they just love it," Mr. D'Hondt said. "I have had a lot of Europeans stop in and a couple from Finland came in and they loved it. They don't have anything like this there."
The large wrap-around deck provides different views of the Intracoastal, the Main Street Bridge, one of the last drawbridges in the area, and spectacular sunsets.
"It's a beautiful view and we take for granted what we have," Mr. D'Hondt said.
Sitting on the water enjoying the sea breeze is bound to work up an appetite and the menu at JC's offers options for every dinner desire from appetizers to salads and sandwich baskets, featuring "Drunken Lobster," to full dinners, including a house steak and Lobster Mac and Cheese. The menu includes a special section for children.
"We try to cater to everyone's pallet. The bacon stuffed hamburger is like a gourmet burger," Mr. D'Hondt said.
My husband ordered the Drunken Lobster sandwich basket and was served a generous portion of beer battered lobster, French fries and hush puppies. I decided to give the house steak a try, after learning the meat is cut on the premises, with sides of a house salad, garlic mashed potatoes and hush puppies.
Both of us were pleased with our dinner selections. My steak was seasoned perfectly and very tender and the hush puppies were in a light, crispy batter and stuffed with jalapeno peppers.
Opening the day before Bike Week last spring, Mr. D'Hondt is ready to go into his second bike event with Biketoberfest. For this event, the restaurant will charge $5 for parking. Normally it is free, but those dining at the restaurant will get $5 off their meal.
Mr. D'Hondt hopes to attract a local clientele.
"When tourist season is over, I hope the locals 'discover' us," he said.
The restaurant bar has a full menu, including some microbrewery and seasonal beers. Appropriately the beer for October is Octoberfest, a rich, smooth ale.
Man's best friend is his dog and four legged companions are welcome at JC's. River Deck.
"Pets are allowed on the deck and you can dine with your dog," Mr. D'Hondt said.
Live music fills the air on Fridays and Saturdays and TGIF on Friday from 3 to 6 pm. features dollar drafts, 50-cent oysters, wings and sliders.
What could be better than starting Sunday morning off with breakfast on the water? The restaurant opens at 8 a.m. on Sunday, serving breakfast until 11 a.m., when lunch is served.
JC's River Deck is at 115 Main Street, Daytona Beach. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, later Fridays and Saturdays; 8 am. Sunday breakfasts. Call (386) 265-1954.