Gold Star Restaurants 2021

In many ways, the restaurant industry has come back to life, but it’s a new life. Many restaurants have been able to reinvent how they interact with and accommodate their customers, creating innovative ways to enjoy good food. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about some changes that will stay. In addition to rearranging indoor seating to allow for better spacing, we are seeing a marked shift toward increased outdoor dining options. We are very fortunate to live in an area that allows for this virtually year-round. In addition, many restaurants have kept their expanded takeout options in place, with an increased use of third-party food delivery services and curbside pickup. 

Our annual Gold Star restaurants list continues to evolve as we discover new dining options and old favorites offering new menu items, new locations, and new design. This year we are spotlighting the Gold Star restaurants that stayed true to themselves, upholding superior quality and consistency, as well as those who grew into their own reinvention. We are also thrilled to introduce you to a few new names and to celebrate the new locations of some favorite spots.

Unfortunately, we also shared in the sadness of many in our city when we learned of the Wine Cellar’s closing this year. Opening their doors 45 years ago, the Wine Cellar, an all-time favorite here in Jacksonville, leaves a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten. We will remember countless exquisite meals over decades and wish Vicki Dugan all the best.

Cheers to the restaurant industry for all that you do. The pandemic made it abundantly clear that you are not just about your food (no matter how delicious)—you play a huge role in our community. You are the first to donate to nonprofit and fundraising events, constantly providing all forms of nourishment to your neighbors. We truly hope this year’s list inspires our readers to give back to you. Thank you from all of us at Arbus Magazine

Enjoy dining out, and as always, if you feel we missed a spot, email us at We may just invite you to meet us there.

Read the 2022 Gold Star Restaurants list here.

Author: Arbus

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