July 11, 2020
55716 Front Street
Astor, Florida 32102
Blackwater Inn is in Astor on the west bank of the St. Johns River where State Road 40 crosses over on its way from Ormond Beach to Ocala through the Ocala National Forest. This quiet river crossing is a slice of Old Florida, and so is the inn.
The inn has long glass windows overlooking the river, and is a good place to soak up the local atmosphere while having some above average food.
You can reach the Inn either by car or boat; there are docks to tie off your boat while you enjoy the restaurant.
This is not a fancy place, no linen tablecloths or napkins, but if you enjoy seafood and a tranquil view of a gently flowing river, you will enjoy the Blackwater Inn.
The surrounding community of Astor has an interesting history. William Astor from the wealthy New York family bought 12,000 acres and started a town he named Manhattan.
He built a church, school, sawmill and other public facilities. He also built the St. Johns and Lake Eustis Railway that headed west to Eustis and Leesburg.
The name Manhattan never caught on, and when Mr. Astor died in 1892 the settlers renamed the town Astor in his honor.
Williams son, John Jacob Astor IV, took over his property but in 1912 he died when the Titanic sank. The property was then sold and became a pretty quiet place up until the present day. People love to visit and vacation here, especially for the good fishing.
The menu includes full entrees as well as soups and sandwiches. Fried oysters are a specialty, along with fish sandwiches, clam chowder, shrimp, catfish and scallops along with other fish specials of the day.
You can even get frog legs, chicken wings and crab legs. One of the house specialties is grilled quail.
My favorite is the Florida Cracker Platter for $17.99 with 3 oz. of gator tail, 3 oz. of frog legs, 6 oz. of fingerling catfish, all breaded and deep-fried.
Many meals come with your choice of clam chowder or the salad bar, vegetables, baked potato or french fries, or rice pilaf. You can also get hushpuppies for an extra charge but they are worth it.
The small salad bar has plenty of fresh items, and there are also entrees for meat lovers such as prime rib and hamburgers, filet mignon and New York strip
The restaurant also has an open bar upstairs called William's Landing with a limited menu and a good river view so you can soak in the Old Florida scenery.