A Southern coastal approach to food Fish Out of Water gets revamped as FOOW
Locals and tourists who frequent the WaterColor area might be scratching their heads when seeking out the beach town’s former fine dining standard, Fish Out of Water. In its place now stands FOOW, a more hip and fun eatery that better jives with the WaterColor Inn’s “WaterColor casual” state of mind.
You’ll find coastal hues and casual touches, like a fish scale pattern on the silverware, a streamlined open-air kitchen, and clever quotes on the menus including Julia Child’s famous quip, "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."
What’s up with that unique name? you might be wondering.
“We wanted people to understand the correlation that FOOW is still owned and operated by the same company, but that it’s completely new, improved, and different,” said Andrew Czarnecki, managing director of resort operations for St. Joe Club & Resorts.
South meets coast
Chef de Cuisine Christopher Mayhue and Executive Sous Chef Preetam Pardeshi used a “Southern coastal approach” to craft FOOW’s new summer menu. Mayhue’s Southern heritage was called upon to craft approachable dishes, including the Pork Grilled Bun, with braised pork carnitas, mustard glaze, pickled cucumber and red onion. The FOOWly Loaded BLT combines Cajun-rubbed smoked turkey breast, avocado spread, garlic aioli, bacon, heirloom tomato, and farm greens.
The chefs are debuting their new FOOW Toasts – each served on house-made sourdough. Choose from the Heirloom Tomato (Sweet Grass Lil’ Moo Cheese, basil, balsamic and honey), the Carolina Pimento Cheese (candied pepper bacon, pickled red onions, and arugula) or the Gulf Shrimp Toast (avocado lime spread, radish and benne seed).
FOOW Buckets make their debut – with proteins like fried Gulf oysters or fried farm- raised catfish – and are accompanied by fries.
While the menu is served all day, there are a few dinner-only entrée selections, including Sweet Tea Chicken Breast, swordfish, and beef filet that come with the diner’s choice of side, hushpuppies and local vegetables.
No self-respecting Southern restaurant can get away without its own take on Key lime pie, and chef’s Keys to the South pie incorporates local fruits, toasted meringue and scorched lime.
Keeping the party rolling
While the restaurant is open for lunch and then again for dinner daily, the FOOWbar keeps the fun going from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. During Happy Hour (3 to 6 p.m.) select bottled beers are $4, draft beers $6, wines by the glass $8, and specialty cocktails are on special for $9.
Cocktails include classics like the Mai Tai, Sazerac and the Singapore Sling, but you’ll find an additional list of signature drinks including the Beach Hair Don’t Care (Cruzan Coconut Rum, banana, fresh citrus), Song of The South (Jim Beam Bourbon, sweet tea, lemon juice, peach puree) and the Pretty Sun-Burnt (Hornitos Reposado Tequila, lime juice, scorched grapefruit, ginger ale).
Room with a view
Part of the 2018 remodeling process was to increase the restaurant’s sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico, including the expanded Gulf-view bar that wraps from the interior outside. The outdoor patio space can accommodate 82 patrons, while the expansive dining room holds 206.
“FOOW offers Gulf views from every seat in the house, a variety of table options including booths, communal, and the patio/deck to accommodate parties of all sizes,” Czarnecki said.
The FOOWroom is a private dining area surrounded by an impressive wine cellar that holds up to 36 guests. FOOWwest is a semi-private section of the main dining room on a raised level that can accommodate 38 guests. FOOW plays host to everything from business gatherings to special occasion celebrations.
The FOOWshoppe, located on the first floor, rounds out the complex, offering FOOW spices and sauces, as well as apparel complete with light-hearted phrases that match the restaurant’s new approach.
“FOOW is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Located within the WaterColor Inn at 34 Goldenrod Circle, they operate on a walk-in basis only. Find more information online at www.foow30a.com