Story by: Phil Heppding
Living in paradise as we do, it is easy to become accustomed to the white sands and emerald-colored waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It can be easily overlooked that along the 28-mile stretch of 30a in South Walton, we have a unique roster of world-class culinary talent. While being a favorite of locals and visitors alike since 2008, George’s at Alys Beach continues to raise the bar of the restaurant scene in South Walton.
According to Executive Chef Darek Tidwell, “George’s is all about using local ingredients that we put a progressive spin on while elevating the presentation and flavor combinations of the food.”
January and February were busy months for Chef Darek and General Manager Jake Purvis. Visiting local farms and vendors and sampling faire caught locally from the Gulf are all steps in the process of creating a truly unique menu. Combined with founder Ann Hartley’s eye for detail when it comes to the decor and service, one can quickly see why George’s is a “must-visit” on any trip to our area.
Looking for a great spot to enjoy a glass of wine? Rest assured you are in good hands with Jake and his team. “Its great that if I run across a unique wine that I feel our guests would enjoy, I can go to Darek and he can put a dish together to compliment the wine.” mentioned Jake. In addition, the menu garners praise for Chef Darek and his team with dishes designed for those guests looking for vegan, vegetarian or gluten free options while still maintaining the level of offerings George’s is known for.
Old favorites such as the jerk snapper and salt and pepper shrimp are combined with new dishes sourced form local purveyors and fishermen. ” Since we are not an Italian, Chinese, or Thai restaurant, we can take advantage of flavors from around the globe so someone visiting from Chicago, New York, or LA will be very comfortable with the presentation and decor but in a casual, relaxed setting.” mused Darek. “After all, most people are on vacation when they come here.”
As the season arrives, many of you know that Ann and George Hartley have entrusted the future of George’s to Chef Darek and Jake under the new owner, Spell Restaurant Group. Not to worry though, you’ll see many of the same friendly faces and delectable dishes that we have all come to love at George’s.
Want to go? George’s at Alys Beach is open Monday-Saturday from 11AM-3PM for lunch and 5PM until 9PM for dinner. They are closed on Sundays. For more information please visit http://www.georgesatalysbeach.net/about-us1/