5235 E County Highway 30a,
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
5235 E County Highway 30a,
63 Main Street
Rosemary Beach, FL 32461
Elegance and extravagance without the ego
Located at the end of Main Street in elegant Rosemary Beach, within the walls of the
elegant The Pearl Hotel, is the elegant Havana Beach Bar & Grill.
Elegant, to be sure, but prospective diners should not be daunted by the ambiance.
The restaurant maintains a Southern hospitality approachability that welcomes
guests dressed to the nines, and those who have stopped for a bite on their way to
The term house-made doesn’t even begin to explain the kitchen’s approach to food.
Everything is expertly sourced, from the Wagyu beef right down to the garlic.
Havana Beach is one of the few area restaurants that is not only attached to a hotel,
but is open three meals a day, 365 days a year. The kitchen also serves The Pearl’s
banquet services in the ballroom, in-room dining and on-site business meetings. To
be able to pull off Thanksgiving meals for 700 requires a talented kitchen staff.
The French cooking method of sous-vide helps to ensure meats are tender, juicy,
and consistent day-in and day-out. One dish that might be enjoying a water bath on
its way to your plate is the dry-aged, grass-fed short rib. The accompaniment
changes seasonally but, for example, it might be served with glazed local carrot,
chargrilled Georgia ramps, puffed red sorghum, and carrot mojo sauce.
The cut also makes an appearance on the breakfast menu in the grass-fed short rib
hash. This time the kitchen braises the meat and serves it on chopped herb-crusted
fries with a pan-fried Jenefers Garden egg and champagne hollandaise sauce.
Another crowd favorite is the grilled Spanish octopus dish, plated with heirloom
arugula, Florida orange, brown butter roasted fingerling potato, crushed Marcona
almonds, and dressed with a sherry vinaigrette.
This spring, the kitchen offered a true domestic spring lamb that is so fresh and so
expertly raised, you can actually taste the pea hulls the animal ate.
Upstairs at Havana Beach Rooftop Bar, guests can’t get enough of the nacho fries or
the smoked chicken wings. The latter is served with an Alabama white sauce so
tasty, guests have been seen dipping their spent chicken bones in it.
For those who like to sip as expertly as they dine, Havana Beach offers its
Millionaire’s Cocktail Menu. Wet your whistle with the Sidecar ($800), Margarita ($200), Rum Old Fashioned ($150), or the Vieux Carre ($130), crafted from some of the most extravagantly priced liquor ingredients in the world.
That Sidecar, for example, is a blend of 1.25 ounces each, Louis XIII Cognac, Grand
Marnier 1880, and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, shaken with ice, then strained into a
Coupe glass, and garnished with a lemon twist. Trés chic!
Havana Beach Bar & Grille is open year-round at 63 Main Street, Rosemary Beach.
Reservations can be made – and are recommended for dinner service – at 877-935-
6114. Breakfast is offered from 8 to 11 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner
5:30 to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge is
open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and closed Monday and Tuesday during the winter. Find
more information online at www.thepearlrb.com.
Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson Acme Ice House in Seacrest has done it again. Wednesday November 19th’s installment of “Food Fights” showcasing local 30A chefs cooking head to head (with three mandatory secret ingredients and only an hour’s time!), was overflowing with creativity, talent, and entertainment. Eager guests poured into the warm, inviting doors of […]
FOOW – B, D, LN Open daily $$$$ American Contemporary, Seafood,
At WaterColor Inn, 34 Goldenrod Cir,
Santa Rosa Beach (850-534-5050)
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
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 for lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner
service. 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
83 Central Square
Seaside, FL 32459
Proving it’s worth the wait
Ask anyone where to dine in South Walton and most will offer the same suggestion: The Great
Southern Café. The first in Jim Shirley’s local restaurant endeavors, Seaside’s Great Southern is
well worth the wait you may encounter upon arrival. Everyone wants a seat at the table, and
it’s the combination of sumptuous menu offerings and the restaurant’s ability to offer both a
quiet date night as well as a lively get-together that makes it able to stand the test of time, a
favorite year after year for residents and visitors alike.
Great Southern opened in 2006 and hasn’t seemed to slow for a moment since.
“Our crew at Great Southern makes sure you feel at home, and proven fresh Southern comfort
food makes you think of us when you are away,” Shirley said of his eatery’s success. Luckily, the
hankering for Great Southern fare can be satisfied at any meal, with breakfast, lunch and dinner
available every single day of the year. Located smack dab in the middle of Seaside’s picturesque
town center, the restaurant is ideal for delicious cuisine with friends, happy hour meetups with
groups, and special nights out with that certain someone.
A great start
The breakfast menu has something for everyone, including a veggie frittata (made with fresh
eggs, zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, and red pepper), grits and grillades (with slow-roasted
beef in a natural rich wine broth on a bed of Gouda cheese grits), avocado toast (topped with
two eggs your way or with West Indies marinated jumbo lump crab), or five different kinds of
Benedict, including a fried green tomato benedict and corned beef hash benedict.
Traditional breakfast favorites are also available, though they are anything but ordinary, such as
biscuits and gravy or a pancake plate (with vanilla pancakes, scrambled eggs and choice of
breakfast meat). And, of course, no Great Southern breakfast is complete without an order of
beignets and a Bloody Mary (made with horseradish, spiced beans and pickled okra, available
with or without vodka).
The lunch bunch
Jimmy Buffet’s song “I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever” may very well have been inspired by the
menu at Great Southern. Even appetizer items could quickly become a very satisfying meal,
such as a baked oyster trio (Acadian, Rockefeller and Bienville styles), Duck Calls (duck confit,
poblano, onions, peppers, tomatoes and crisp wrapper with Billy’s Spicy Mustard and pepper
jelly), and Soul Rolls (Shirley’s favorite menu item), made with chicken, collard greens, crisp wrapper, peach chutney and Creole mustard-horseradish. Don’t forget to celebrate your true
Southern side with a side of frog legs.
Entrée items quickly induce hunger pangs, including ginger chicken (with horseradish-spiked
marmalade, or Jezebel sauce as it is called at GSC), balsamic salmon (with balsamic glaze, feta-
caper relish, sautéed green beans and mashed potatoes), and even a surprisingly satisfying
vegetable plate, with your choice of four Southern sides and a corn muffin.
A ‘Quick Bites’ menu rounds out the lunch offerings, with such favorites as pimento cheese
(served with warm pita wedges), and a West Indies crab martini, made with jumbo lump
crabmeat, tomato and avocado.
An evening feast
The dinner menu glistens with flavorful choices, including the much-loved Grits a Ya Ya
(blackened shrimp, sauté of Applewood-smoked bacon, spinach, Portobello mushrooms, and
cream served on a bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits).
“’Travel and Life’ called Grits á Ya Ya the best Southern dish in Florida,” Shirley said of his
restaurant’s most glowing review.
For something even heartier, there’s the bacon-wrapped filet mignon (served with mashed
potatoes and sautéed green beans), or mac and cheese with bacon and shrimp (with Havarti,
aged cheddar and grand cru cheeses). Salads that serve as full meals are also available,
including a balsamic grilled salmon and a Caesar salad with blackened shrimp.
A hearty wine list, draft beer selections, and fully stocked cocktail menu complete the
experience. A kids' menu – with choices such as shrimp (grilled or fried), cheeseburger, or
breaded chicken fingers – is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of palates.
The Great Southern Café is located at 83 Central Square in Seaside, and reservations are not
accepted. Breakfast is served each day from 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,
and dinner from 4 p.m. to “at least 9:30 p.m.” More information can be found by calling 850-
231-7327 or by visiting www.thegreatsoutherncafe.com.
2236 E County Highway 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
Story by Phil Heppding Photos courtesy of Gerald Burwell On a brisk February afternoon, we had the privilege to spend a few minutes with Dave Rauschkolb, founder of Bud & Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside, Florida. Much has changed in the 30 years since Rauschkolb and his business partner, Scott Witcoski stopped in Seaside on their […]
Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson The holidays are all about indulging in the delicious, decadent food of our families’ traditions. Chef Derek Langford of Bud & Alley’s graciously shared some holiday memories and an especially celebratory recipe to enjoy this season. Chef Langford grew up in North Georgia, in a town called Winder just outside […]