Eugene Oviatt Memorial Series

My grandfather, Eugene Oviatt, came from a long line of Florida natives. His knowledge about Florida land went beyond experience, it drew upon intuition. Gene’s life was diverse and extravagant. Among his accomplishments were the creation of the first high-end seafood restaurant on Amelia Island, the 1878 Steakhouse. He was a serial entrepreneur. At various points in his life, he also owned a grocery store and a skeet shooting range in central Georgia. The man loved to feed and to laugh. Watch the videos below to hear stories about Gene’s life and background.

Christine “Teenie” Green talks about her nephew and memories of growing up in NE Florida swamps.

When we were teenagers we wanted to be great opera singers together… He was an entertainer. He liked to entertain people and have a good time and tell stories.


Wiley “Mike” Lee talks about working at the 1878 Steakhouse in Fernandina Beach, Fla. with Gene Oviatt.

Smokin’ sausage, drinkin’ bourbon — grandpa was great. He was rough, but he was humorous.


Tom Ott tells stories about working on big construction projects with Gene.

Gene kept the fear of the lord in me all the time. But I loved him.


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