Blue Water Bay Restaurant
319 State Road 26
by Mary Miller
Blue Water Bay dining room
While visiting Gainesville recently, I saw a road sign for Melrose and recalled seeing the town listed on this site. When I mentioned I was headed that way, a friend suggested while we were there we should eat at Blue Water Bay.
It was only 20 miles away, so my daughter Angela and I took the lovely country drive on route 26.
It was late in the day, so the shops and art galleries were closed. We did drive around the Melrose Historic District. The homes are charming, some are on Lake Sante Fe. We also discovered an old building from another era housing the 'Homemakers Club.'
The Blue Water Bay restaurant is the first thing you see on the right as you pass through the historic district (which isn't very long.) The huge mahi-mahi hanging on the exterior wall is the tell-tale clue.
From the outside it looks like an intimate little dining place. When you go in, it is much larger than it appeared. The walls are covered with mostly local art. The tables are set with white linen tablecloths and black linen napkins.
The dinner crowd hadn't arrived yet, so I asked permission to take pictures. The staff and management were more than gracious.
We sat in a booth and quickly struck up a conversation with the threesome next to us. They had been enjoying eating there for forty years! They were from nearby Waldo (speed trap capital of Florida.)
They were delightful company and made the suggestion, since we hadn't been there before, we should have appetizers.
Dianna was our informative, fun and smiling server and agreed with the idea. She proudly told us of the “local gator tail” which quickly went on our order.
We added the blue crab artichoke dip and a “small” salad with mango chutney dressing. She assured us the salad was super fresh and would be more than enough for two. It certainly was both, and the dressing was fabulous!
Although the large portions of appetizers were enough, we were still seduced by the sour orange pie. When Dianna told us about the chocolate part, that did it! It was delicious and there was nothing sour about it.
In addition to the large dining room, there was a lengthy, full service bar with music. From where we were sitting we could hear the sweet voice of 'Shuree' playing acoustic folk. (Musicians vary from night to night.)More about The Blue Water Bay restaurant
Moderate pricing (Don't let the white tablecloths scare you)
Old time charm
Call for reservations during football season
“Florida low-country fresh cuisine featuring a Gourmet Seafood Buffet on Friday & Saturday nights. Featuring USDA Prime meats and a Gourmet Sunday Brunch with local in season Florida products
The next time I'm in Gainesville, we'll take another trip to Melrose on the weekend
to visit shops and catch the seafood buffet at Blue Water Bay!