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It's an Adventure in Food at St. Augustine's Blackfly Restaurant

By Allison Wilson

Blackfly The Restaurant in St. Augustine has earned a reputation for its unique combination of quality, service and ability to offer an experience that is out of the ordinary. As part of the internationally known Blackfly brand, which also includes Blackfly Outfitter, a fly fishing shop in Jacksonville, Florida, and Blackfly Lodge, a bonefishing lodge in Abaco Bahamas- it's as much a lifestyle as it is a restaurant.

"Our theme is an adventure in food and all of the places we have fished and had memorable meals in exotic places or in fishing lodges around the world," says Blackfly The Restaurant Co-Owner Vaughn Cochran. "Our culinary goal is to introduce our clients to our philosophy of 'good food, good service' and to combine that with some creative thinking in terms of our menu selections that reflect our travels in the tropics and our various backgrounds. The Blackfly fly fishing theme is also a part of the effort to introduce diners to the adventure lifestyle and the spirit of the outdoors."

Cochran, a St. Augustine native and international artist, created the Blackfly brand and logo while experimenting with Japanese calligraphy. In 2013, the Blackfly image of a fishing fly painted with the Sumi-brush technique was awarded "Best Business Logo" nationwide by the MSNBC Business channel. The restaurant was established in 2012 when Mike Hyatt and Cindy Stangby, owners of another St. Augustine restaurant, Collage, approached Cochran with the idea of combining the Blackfly brand's recognition with a fresh seafood menu.

"The seafood concept was easy as Blackfly is all about the fly fishing lifestyle and having a theme that represents seafood, the ocean and the soul of a person of the ocean," Cochran says. "My contemporary marine art was also a big part of the design and colors of the restaurant and allowed us to really build on the Caribbean feeling and the sense of adventure."

Blackfly's menu is made up of a seasonal core of seafood, steaks and tropical dishes. Chefs Matt Brown, Ryan Ruffell and Kevin Casucci challenge customers' taste buds on a weekly basis by presenting incredible specials that tease even regulars into trying something new. Among the most popular dishes are authentic Bahamian Conch Fritters and the fish dishes, which use fresh, local catches that aren't typically seen on restaurant menus, as well as Wahoo, Mahi, Hog Snapper.

"Our association with the ocean is our calling card," Cochran says.

Blackfly is also known for its special events, including cooking classes and wine dinners hosted by the wineries that provide the retaurant's strong wine selection.

Blackfly The Restaurant is located at 108 Anastasia Blvd. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, from 5 to 9 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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