June 20, 2020
12903 Hood Landing Road
Jacksonville, Florida 32258
Clark's Fish Camp is a dining tradition in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville. It is located in a rustic structure on Julington Creek on Hood Landing Road. Take Julington Creek Road east from State Road 13 for about two miles and you will come to Hood Landing Road.
Go south on it for a short distance to Julington Creek and Clark's. People visit Clark's both by boat and car.
The food at Clark's is above average, but the atmosphere is unlike anything else you will find in Florida.
The interior is loaded with what many consider to be the world's largest public taxidermy collection, artistically displayed.
You will be dining among panthers, deer, lions, fish, birds and scores of other quiet yet lifelike animals, including alligators. If you are an animal rights activist, you might feel uncomfortable.
There is also a daily alligator feeding, usually at 630pm, for the resident live gator, Lilly. She lives in a glass enclosure and is a popular attraction for visitors waiting for their own dinner. When I was last there, a pretty young blonde lady named Ashley was the alligator feeder.
The menu at Clark's features just about every kind of seafood you can imagine, along with an amazing number of beef selections. I've heard the steaks are great, but I insist on eating seafood when at a place called a fish camp.
Among the seafood offerings are oysters, catfish, mahi mahi, trout, crawfish, shrimp and other standards.
They have a good selection of bayou dishes like etoufee, gumbo, jambalaya and the like. They also have some very exotic dishes for those who are interested: rabbit, turtle, frog legs and other Old Florida standards. They even have kangaroo meat.
The full liquor bar has everything you can imagine. The kids love this place because it's a bit like dining in a zoo. It's also fun to go out on the deck and see the real wildlife in Julington Creek.
Weekends are very busy, and sometimes the parking lot fills up and there can be an hour's wait or more until you get a table. Clark's loyal followers do not mind the wait.