Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Job Opening: “Fat Man From Space” Wanted To Rate Amelia Island’s Hamburger Offerings

Where’s the best hamburger on Amelia Island?

Some two years ago this blog’s hamburger expert, the Fat Man From Space, and I determined that the best burgers in these parts were:

1-Putt Putt at Main Beach. Yes, you read that right, Putt Putt! Try it.  2- T-Rays; 3- Salty Pelican; 4- Leddy’s Porch at the Florida House; 5- A tie with Halftime Sports Bar & Grill & Karibo.

With all the new eateries popping up, management changes and chefs moving around, it’s time to see what, if anything, has changed. But there’s a glitch. The Fat Man From Space is hanging it up. When I contacted this blog’s galactic gourmet to see if he was ready to beam down for another round of burger rankings he told me that he’s had enough and is moving to a galaxy far, far away.

Here’s what he told me:

The original Fat Man From Space beams up a key hamburger ingredient as he prepares to move to a galaxy far, far away, thus creating an opening for a new burger reviewer in this space.

“I’ll have to take a pass, Dave. And after all, much like Puerto Rico’s Menudo, the role of Official Unofficial Amelia Island Burger Judge is an enduring position handed down from person to person over the years going back to the time of the Spanish, when Pedro Menendez de Aviles declared the island’s very first burger to be “bueno, pero no mi favorito.” I was but a caretaker of this grand office for a brief moment in the sun, and now it’s time for new blood. We oldsters must step aside at some point and let youth’s abandon blaze new trails. Who knows where they will take us? Or what the burgers will be like there. I’ll be retiring down to Burger Raton, as one does, where shuffleboard and gummable beef sliders await me. But I hope history will remember me as an objective burger judge who put a little snap in each review. Today-ay… I consider myself-elf… the luckiest Official Unofficial Amelia Island Burger Judge emeritus-tus… on the face of the earth. That I might have been given a bad plate… but I’ve got an awful lot to lick for.”

My very best,


His is a huge spacesuit to fill. But fill it I must as readers are asking: “Dave, where’s the best hamburger on Amelia Island?”

I need a replacement Fat Man From Space (FMFS) burger reviewer.

The successor to the original FMFS will bask in anonymity with the same self-satisfaction as the original. When I suggested we reveal his identity before leaving he offered these parting words of wisdom:

“Let’s please leave me anonymous and let me fade into legend. Between you and me, I am not interesting enough to compete with local characters and fixtures such as Pajama Dave, Felix, Bartender Mayor, and Fresh Shrimp Guy, so I have to make best use of the only thing I’ve got going for me, which is the aura of anonymous mystery. Years from now as people finish telling stories about my adventures to their grandchildren, their grandchildren will ask, “But Papa, who was he?” And Papa will answer, “No one knows, child. No one knows.” And it will give those children a warm thrill and send their minds on flights of imagination. I’m doing this for the kids, Dave. For the kids. Please understand what I’m trying to build here. It’s bigger than us both.

The mystique surrounding the office will help you in your recruitment of my replacement. You will be temporary custodian of the legendary office and speak in tones of whispered wonder about that great honor. They’ll be beating down your door to don the storied mask and become the next Official Unofficial Amelia Island Burger Judge. Tom Sawyer will look on jealously from his half-whitewashed fence at the line forming outside your door. Play your cards right and you can be a part of history.”

Warmest burgers,


I can’t add anything to those incredible sentiments. I write this as I wipe tears from my eyes as I take the responsibility of perpetuating and preserving the Fat Man’s legacy very seriously.

So, I’m seeking a replacement. There are standards and criteria to be met. The Fat Man raised the bar high.

This island is chock-a-block full of talented writers ranging from former Newsweek, New York Daily News and Esquire Editor Ed Kosner to novelists John Grisham and David Baldacci, among others. Do you aspire to those lofty heights? Here’s your chance.

The successful applicant must be able to write a simple declarative sentence at the reading level of a cell phone distracted middle schooler. It should be clever and attention grabbing enough to cause them to actually put the stupid phone down and think: “Ummmmm, that’s interesting.”

Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth

The only person to know your identity will me. And I will fiercely protect your anonymity like Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth does Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) with dignity and absolute secrecy. If you have a big ego this is not the job for you. Your name will not be on the door and you will not wear a name badge. You will munch burgers in obscurity like Clark Kent, Billy Batson, and Peter Parker. But fame isn’t your goal, seeking hamburger perfection is! If your identity became known then the results might be skewed. Burger joint management might be tempted to provide you celebrity treatment, offering perks not available to our hamburger-hungry audience of diners. We can’t have that. I will assist you by suggesting burger venues, collaborating, editing your copy and occasionally contributing a review.

So what are the benefits other than providing island residents, visitors, and future generations with invaluable burger knowledge? They are meager. In fact they are nonexistent. There is no pay. And there are no benefits other than self-satisfaction. Oh, did I mention that you will pay for your own burgers? You will not be reimbursed. If you want to write it off on your income tax forms, that’s between you and the IRS. Don’t get me involved. I’ll be like Mission Impossible’s Jim Phelps and disavow all knowledge of your activity. Like the original Fat Man says: “You’ll be doing it for the kids.”

Another thing. There are some ground rules. You have to have a solid understanding of what a hamburger is and is not. First, hamburgers are round and made of beef. A vegetable burger is NOT a hamburger. It is a bunch of mashed up beans that are not edible. A Portobello mushroom stuffed into a hamburger bun is NOT a hamburger. It is a toadstool sandwich. Do not eat one of those, ever. You must never write about tofu unless you are making fun of it and mocking the people with sunken cheeks and dark circles under their eyes who tell you it’s good for you.

This is a proper hamburger in a proper bun!

Hamburger buns are also round and some have seeds on top. Hamburgers do NOT come in taco shells, or wrapped up inside a corn or flour tortilla. If you find a proper hamburger in a Mexican joint write about it. But it better not be red, green or orange and it has to come in a hamburger bun. Hamburgers do not come in ciabata rolls, dinner buns, croissants, bagets or any other sissy bread. No sireee Bob. They are served in a round hamburger bun, none of this artisan bread crap. And don’t even think about putting one on a bun made with cricket flour or getting that stuff anywhere near a burger or anything else you’re thinking of putting in your mouth. Good grief!

Normal people do not put mushrooms on a hamburger. They also do not put eggs on them. Toadstools and breakfast food are not compatible with a hamburger. There is no guacamole, truffled arugula, garlic aioli, or other such nonsense on a proper hamburger. Cheese, pickles, raw onions, jalapeno slices, tomatoes, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard are all OK. So is lettuce, but I don’t know why, since it has no taste and adds nothing to a burger except making the other stuff slide out the other side when you bite into it. Chili, A-1 sauce and Texas style barbeque sauce will squeak by too. If you find any of this confusing you need not apply.

A Ritz-Carlton burger?

Traditionally burgers come with fries, cole slaw, kosher pickle spears, potato salad or pinto or kidney beans on the side. They should be mentioned along with the price. Grits do NOT accompany a hamburger ever, I don’t care how deep the part of the south is that you come from.  At one time a local downtown eatery was offering a burger for $15 that sat on a big plate all by itself without even a sprig of parsley as a side. That’s a lot of money for a lonely burger. So, yes, price is a factor. For one of the best Fat Man reviews of pricey burgers read about his Ritz Carlton visit at Ritz-Carlton’s “Sports Bar” Prices & Vibes “Out Of This World” Says Fat Man From Space. For other reviews by the Fat Man go to Amelia Island’s Best Burger Verdict Ain’t Final Until The Fat Man From Space Says It Is. You will see that his is a large stretch spacesuit to fill.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article burgers are sold at an average price of nearly 400% higher than the cost of their ingredients. Misguided politicians pushing minimum wage increases are causing prices to increase as well as forcing restaurants to cut staff. Nationwide, the average restaurant price of a burger is $9.00 says the WSJ. If prices keep going up burger lovers will soon be telling restaurateurs:”I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” the plea Popeye’s pal Wimpy memorialized.

So if you think you’ve got what it takes let me know. Send me an email at: with your contact information, telling me why you think you’re qualified and we’ll talk. Put “Fat Man” in the subject line. Maybe we’ll go out for a burger and beer to get you started. Who knows, we may have the first Fat Gal From Space burger reviewer. But hurry, there’s lots of work to be done.

(Editor’s note: “Fat Men From Space” is a children’s book by Daniel Pinkwater about a group of aliens who attack Earth and eat up the planet’s supply of junk food, leaving only healthy stuff behind, a book that prior to meeting my alien pal, I’d never heard of but have since purchased for grandson, Luke.)


What Might Have Been: President Trump’s recent comments on how Andrew Jackson may have prevented the Civil War reminds me of a quote about Jackson I read a few years ago in a book whose title I have since forgotten.

President Trump indicated that if Jackson had been alive and in charge in the late 1850s or early 1860s his aggressive and forceful character, opinions and past policies may have combined to prevent the outbreak of war.

In 1832 when confronted by his soon-to-resign Vice President John C. Calhoun, who said that South Carolina would disobey a federally directed tariff, Jackson responded saying he would personally lead troops into South Carolina, and that he would hang anyone who opposed him on this issue including Calhoun. This encouraged a South Carolina politician to observe: “When Andrew Jackson starts talking about hanging folks, it’s time to invest in rope.”

South Carolina backed down and Jackson later said that one his regrets in life was not hanging Calhoun.


A Gal Named Gal: The new film Wonder Woman features an Israeli actress named Gal Gadot (32) in the leading role and it appears she was a good choice to play the part of a super power hero since she comes close to that in real life. The married mother of two served two years as an enlisted soldier in the Israeli military where she served as a combat trainer. She practices martial arts, played basketball in high school, rides a motorcycle, and competed in the 2004 Miss Universe Pageant as Miss Israel. Her maternal grandparents are Holocaust survivors and the loony tunes that run Lebanon have already banned the film because Ms. Gadot is an Israeli. That alone makes me want to go see it despite the fact I rarely attend a movie.


Dumb & Dumber Department: Everything the left tries makes it look dumb and dumber from the fake severed head of Donald Trump that loopy Kathy Griffith dragged around; whacko speeches by nutty California Congresswoman  Maxine Waters; unhinged racist tirades by convicted former Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown; island tipping testimony by Democrat Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson; stupid anti-American sanctuary city proclamations by New York’ s leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio among other Democrat mayors; sexting teenage girls by pervert Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner; anything California Governor Jerry Brown says; Nancy Pelosi not understanding that natural gas is a fossil fuel; and thousands of confused leftist crones wearing hats evoking female genitalia, shouting obscenities and marching around aimlessly and outraged like bussed-in inmates enjoying an outing from their asylum, are just a tiny sampling. Having that unhinged political Sasquatch wandering out of the swamp occasionally to insist that she actually won the election or that if she really lost it was somebody else’s fault, reinforces the fact that these people are dimmer than a one watt bulb. This is a party of misfits — a collection of insecure, unhappy, neurotic, freakish, confused, antisocial, paranoid, perverted, mentally ill, godless, lost souls and idolaters of bureaucracy. What’s even more frightening is that there are folks that believe in their silliness and support these nincompoops. Other than West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, is there a sane Democrat office holder out there?


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: As of this writing local piano man John Springer is retuning to where he started almost 30 years ago with his debut at the new 801 Kitchen & Bar (corner of Beech St. and South 8th Street) next Thursday, June 15 beginning at 7 p.m. John performed there starting in 1990 when it was the Beech Street Bar & Grill, left for the Centre Street Court Yard that eventually morphed into the Alley Cat, when the Beech Street eatery closed in 2011, and is now returning, bringing the original baby grand piano that he used all those years with him. He will be doing his “If I were to play” piano and vocals routine there possibly every Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7-10 p.m. in the downstairs bar area situated in the bay window. Go there, you’ll love it! Call ’em at 904/ 775-5909. Rumors are bouncing around that former Alley Cat owner Janet Vining is planning  a new tavern on or near Centre Street, and will plant former Alley Cat bartender Taylor Gammage behind the bar, but I have no verification of any of that. If you’re looking for a cozy spot to have a beer or glass of wine, listen to music and meet good people, then head for PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden at 12 South 2nd Street any Tuesday beginning at 7 p.m. when Dan Voll strums his guitar and sings to a friendly audience that will more than likely consist of a couple of folks you know. As I was writing the hamburger material above, I got a strong urge to head to Putt Putt and get a burger, which I did and I wasn’t disappointed. For $6.96 (including tax) I got a six-ounce, 100 % Angus beef,  Beach Bum Cheeseburger with Cheddar, onions, pickles, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard on a proper hamburger bun that in my opinion is still one of the best burgers on the island. Let’s see if the new FMFS can find one better or concur. If you want to eat at Putt Putt there are six tables with seating for about 21 folks, all outside. These burgers are not frozen and take 10 minutes or longer to prepare depending on how busy they are so phone ’em at 904/261-4443 for a call in order to take out or ahead to eat there if you’re bringing a crowd.

  • Comment (13)
  • As a lover of all red meat varities, a Burger is one of my favorites.The best on the Island is Cafe Karibo.Had the pleasure of eating lunch with you and Colson Hillyer at T Rays awhile back,was not impressed with their burger at all.Recent heart surgery has curtailed my red meat intake, bummer!Good luck with the search.

  • Let the burger quest begin!
    I recently had a burger from Denucci’s and it was great. Maybe the new Fat Man or Fat Girl can give them a try as well.

  • I have a burger gripe. Perhaps I am the only one in the USA that feels this way or perhaps my age is just showing. I really dislike getting served these huge burgers you can not even hold in your hand or get your mouth open wide enough to fit it in. I must say I disagree with the Karibo burger. Now it has been several years since I had one but once was enough never again. By the time I was halfway through the huge meat lump the whole thing had disintegrated into a sloppy mess. So that is my thoughts on a burger. Remember when McDonalds came out with the 1/4Lber? People were aghast, look at all the meat, it is so big, surely this is gluttonous. I personally feel 1/4LB is about right. Then we saw 1/3LB burgers and now it is very common to have the menu saying 1/2Lb burgers. Where does it stop? It is not an improvement. Enough said.

  • Dumb & Dumber above is beyond your usual brilliance David – excellonto – and thanks for all the good stuff on your great bog

  • Serious question, Dave:
    Regarding your “Dumb and Dumber” post, what are you hoping to achieve by promoting discord? Your name calling does little to promote dialogue. You provide no substantive analysis of current issues. You offer no solutions to the problems we are facing as a nation.
    Why not try political humor based upon facts – rather than appealing to the masses who have little knowledge of history, science, and governmental policies – and who seek only simple solutions to their problems? You may get a chuckle using your current approach; but you are not helping society.
    You can do so much more with your skills. I keep hoping you will live up to your potential.

  • I totally agree w/ you Dave, Putt Putt golf does have the best burgers!! Now if we can combine that w/ a cold glass of beer from PJD’s ……yum, what are we waiting for?!!

  • I love your blog and read them all. I NEVER comment on any of it, generally because you do a great job on your own, and nobody really cares about the comments anyway, but… I have to chime in on this burger thing. Having lived all over the country, and been a bit of a burger snob my whole life – Tasty’s is not only the best burger on the island, but very possibly the best burger in the country. When talking straight beef, cheese, bun to meat ratio, perfect amount of “juicy”, seasoning, and freshness. Not to say those others aren’t good, and you can dress up a burger just about anyway you want now a days, but based on the criteria above – Tasty’s hands down.

  • Great points covered in the Dumb and Dumber Department Dave. NO, there is no sanity to be found in that party. The lunacy is just unbelievable. All one needs to do is peruse MSNBC’s web site (the DNC propaganda site) and view what these nit-wits are telling their lemmings. I’d like to add another point the uninformed are crying about. The Paris Climate Agreement. It’s a plan that Obama initiated to reduce the Global Warming effect caused by human activity by 2030. The Paris agreement created this United Nations climate slush fund, largely underwritten by American taxpayers. In his final year in office, President Obama contributed $500 million from the State Department to this fund on two separate occasions. He did it without authorization from Congress). This is TEXTBOOK Redistribution of wealth. We know the Globalists want to destroy America and make it just one of many countries, no stronger or richer than anyone else. Climate Change means the Government can put 100s of 1000s of pages of regulations on energy production and consumption, e.g., they can charge a ridiculous tax from you and send the money out of the US to other countries redistributing your money to the UN to distribute to whom they choose. They lie and get you feeling responsible, then tax the hell out of you. They create subsidies for the poor, and charge the middle class 4 times what they pay now. All In the name of “Sacrifice for the greater good.” Sounds like your “You can keep your doctor speech, right?” Karl Marx said to create true socialism you must use political correctness and guilt to control health care and energy. If you can control them you can destroy capitalism and replace with socialism. That is what this is all about, Obama care and Climate change, destroying the middle class and creating a subservient populism under government control. Obama proposed (without congress) that all cars will have to be mandatory 54.5 mpg by 2025, it is also estimated it will cost 6.5 trillion in economic growth which will destroy jobs. Mind you, that this Paris agreement puts 0 restrictions on China and India (2 largest in pollution) and Russia is allowed to increase their emissions by 50%.”

  • I think we need to visit for no other reason than to try these burgers you tout and to see John Grisham’s home which I have helped pay for.

  • My husband and I also agree that the hamburger at Denucci’s is one delicious hamburger…cooked to order and gives Putt Putt a run for their money.


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