WATERCOLOR – The FOOW Supper Club will present its second annual Mardi Gras dinner Thursday, Feb. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. Enjoy French-inspired cocktails and an authentic New Orleans dinner with FOOW’s prix-fixe Mardi Gras menu. Reservations are required; limited seating available. $95 per person; service charge and sales tax not included.
FOOW is located at 34 Goldenrod Circle, Santa Rosa Beach.
Pizza. Piiiiiiizzzzzzzaaaa. It is as craved and adored as foods go. Interestingly, it wasn’t until after WWII, when Americans really started their love affair with this cheesy, sublime treat. While occupying Italian territories, many American soldiers tasted pizza for the first time. And since then, pizza has become so beloved, that pizzerias represent 17 percent of all U.S. restaurants and 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month!
In 1987, October became recognized as national pizza month. It is no secret that October is a favorite time of year on 30A for locals and visitors alike. So it seems only fitting to recognize this favorite food during this favorite month here on 30A. The two 30A pizzerias we are highlighting are as treasured as their pies themselves.
Approaching their 25th anniversary this March, Bruno’s Pizza opened in 1990 as 30A’s first pizzeria. Self-described as “classic and old school”; every day they make their own dough and sauce, shred and blend their cheeses, and each pie ordered is hand-tossed. Owner Jeff Goodman shared the effort they put into the smoked meats for their Barbeque pizzas: “We smoke butts and brisket every day in house.” Ingredients-focused and proud of it, Bruno’s uses local vendors to source produce whenever possible. Their daily pizza buffet is a jackpot too – including a variety of their specialty pies.
After over 23 years in Seagrove, Bruno’s Pizza moved to WaterSound in December of 2013. When asked about the move, it has been the “second best” decision Jeff Goodman ever made. (Second only to coming to live in Florida in the first place!) “We have nearly 100 seats now and a shaded deck where we can serve many more guests and offer live music. It’s awesome” he replied.
Bruno’s Pizza is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are located at the front gate of WaterSound Beach, 6652 East County Highway 30A. Phone: (850) 231.1452.
The newer kid on the block, Pizza by the Sea, is a family-friendly favorite of our 30A community. Their casual, fun locations are the perfect place to bring your little people. Pizza by the Sea regularly supports local charities like Food for Thought (http://foodforthoughtfl.org/) and Children’s Volunteer Health Network (http://www.cvhnkids.org/main/) as well as sponsoring area schools and local youth sports teams. I asked owner Kristi Beer if this sums up their business’s philosophy. She replied yes. “We like that we’re super kid-friendly at our restaurants and also kid-focused with the organizations we help.”
While Pizza by the Sea’s pledge to give back complements the 30A community perfectly, so does their multiple options for the health-conscious lifestyle. With more and more people eliminating gluten from their diets, Kristi has seen the popularity of their delicious gluten-free crust “sky-rocket”, as have their Yum Bowls – all those much-craved pizza toppings served in bowls without the carbs of the dough. Through word of mouth, these menu items have become some of their top sellers.
Pizza by the Sea has two locations: right next to the Watercolor Publix on Hwy 395 and at Gulf Place on Hwy 393 and 30A. Phone: (850) 231.3030 (Watercolor) and (850) 267.2202 (Gulf Place). Open Sunday- Wednesday 11 am-8 pm and Thursday-Saturday 11 am -9pm.
They say fish is brain food, which is just what Chef Christopher Holbrook of Signature Catering of 30-A anticipates our new Gulf to Table events will ultimately serve up. When asked what these dinners will bring to 30A, he was quick to answer: “Education for the consumer. Our menus will highlight lesser-known fish; providing a platform for helping both local fishermen and our area’s ecosystem.”
Chef Christopher is excited for these private meals to provide one-on-one dialogues on fishing practices in our area. He is well-versed on the many factors driving the popularity of specific fish, and is ready to bring his knowledge to his diners’ culinary repertoires.
His Gulf to Table menus will emphasize a balanced progression; keeping it fresh and straightforward. “To me, the fish is the star and so that will always be my first focus” promises the chef. While his career’s spanned decades and time zones, most recently he notes his role in encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. His clients are health conscious but also food-savvy. He strives to push his food’s creativity, while also keeping them fit.
And, what is fine dining without exquisite wine? All of the signature event meals will offer unique pairings personally fashioned by 30afoodandwine.com’s partner, Chan’s Wine World. Guests should expect the unexpected and be ready to find some new favorites.
Informing diners, supporting local fishermen, improving our ecosystem, eating healthily…all while enjoying mouthwatering dishes and wine? Sounds like a pretty smart move!
Gulf to Table Signature Events with Chef Christopher at the helm can be reserved through 30afoodandwine.com. The inaugural meal will be held Saturday November 8th. For tickets please call 850.687.3776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WATERCOLOR – Diners at FOOW in WaterColor really can’t get much closer to the beach.
“It’s almost right at your fingertips,” said Dustin Parkman, the director of restaurants for WaterColor Inn.
With almost 270 degrees of floor-to-ceiling windows and a third of its seating on an outside patio, FOOW (pronounced ‘foo’) takes full advantage of its location. The view from this second-floor restaurant is of an almost-untouched stretch of beach with natural dunes rolling alongside the blue-green of the Gulf of Mexico.
The longstanding restaurant Fish Out of Water was redesigned and reopened in 2018 as FOOW. Stepping away from the strictly fine dining of the former restaurant, FOOW offers “coastal casual at its finest,” as Parkman described it.
The redesign was on par with changing demographics of WaterColor and the 30A area in general, Parkman said. Diners in years past were primarily older adults, but now they are increasingly families and those looking for a more casual atmosphere.
“We still have a high level of service and refinement but FOOW has a little more laid-back attitude; it’s a little more unbuttoned,” he said.
The concept has worked out amazingly well. Despite all the challenges of 2020, Parkman said it was their best year on record.
“We can handle volume and crowds now,” he said. “It’s more lively. I love the energy that restaurants can have, this sort of hum and this buzz. That’s what we’re working to create here.”
Approachable fine dining
At the new FOOW, everything is designed to be a little more approachable, including the menu, Parkman said.
Price points are more affordable for food and drinks and the menu offers plenty of options to mix and match to please everyone at the table from adults to kids.
But, Parkman noted, while it may be a more casual menu, the staff still strives for that fine dining perfection.
Ninety percent of the menu’s offerings are made in-house.
“We try to stay away from anything that’s not freshly made,” Parkman said.
Local grouper filets are still the most popular item on the menu. But a new item, the FOOW burger, made from privately sourced Wagyu beef, has become their second-most popular. It’s served on a brioche bun with garlic aioli and comes stacked high with fresh lettuce and just-cut tomatoes, looking like it’s about to fall over, Parkman said.
“As simple as it may be, a cheeseburger or hamburger can be messed up or it can be one of the best things you’ve ever had,” Parkman said. “There’s something to be said for a burger that is perfectly done and perfectly executed. As elementary as it may seem, it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds and it takes a lot of effort to have it just perfect every time.”
Room for your whole party
With about 265 seats available, FOOW is the largest restaurant along Scenic Highway 30A, Parkman said.
It features an open kitchen and a bar that is half inside and half outside. The patio has televisions and plenty of seating. FOOW also has a wine room that can be reserved for private events, groups or those who want to dine with more privacy.
FOOW is located at the WaterColor Inn, which is a four-star Forbes-rated hotel, and Parkman said the staff strives to meet those standards at the restaurant, too.
Even though flip-flops are welcome, the dining experience and service are of utmost importance. Parkman said a lot of that is in the details, from the look of the place to how it sounds, what the glassware and silverware feel like and how staff interact with diners.
“It’s those things you can touch, taste and smell, the tangibles of the experience,” Parkman said. “That’s what helps separate us from a more casual beachside restaurant.”
FOOW is located at 34 Goldenrod Circle and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are not accepted. Free valet parking is offered at the entrance. More information can be found at foow30a.com or by calling 850-534-5050.