Jeff and Genie McNally source food from fifteen local vendors. The only produce that doesn’t come from the immediate area is vegetables, and that’s the fault of Florida’s minimal growing season. The couple-owners of The Floridian want everything, from meat to garnish, to be locally sourced. And, they want it to play off of St. Augustine’s culture – without becoming fried shrimp and french fries. The idea in short: create new and exciting food from what Florida had to offer.
But Florida is an unusual state. It’s either chalk full of Southern charm or mellowing in a beachy vibe. As a city, St. Augustine adopts both equally. And as a restaurant, The Floridian navigates both equally. The quirky spot, tucked into a tree-shaded nook of downtown Spanish Street, serves up the classic Southern staples and dishes for the diehard vegan.
This means a lot of balls in the air for Jeff and Genie, including a menu that changes with the seasons. Chef Genie adapts to what local vendors can deliver at different times of the year, which doesn’t make the job easy. “We always joke that we definitely do it the hard way,” Jeff said. Genie chimed in, “But it keeps us energized.”
A marriage of cultures made from local fare is what Jeff and Genie began with and intend to keep. “The Southern spin is Genie’s side of the family,” Jeff said. “She’s eighth generation North Floridian. On my side, we were Floridian but not at all Southern. We were Bohemian. I mean, I was eating tofu stir fry for much of my childhood.”