June 12, 2020
By Sarah Murphy Robertson
SANTA ROSA BEACH – Chef Jim Shirley’s restaurants have welcomed guests to South Walton since he opened Great Southern Cafe in 2006. With the launch of Farm & Fire Southern Pizzeria in the fall of 2019, Chef now has six restaurants serving the 30A area.
Dan Tinghitella, director of culture and operations, is enthusiastic and passionate about the restaurant group’s newest endeavor.
“We want our guests to make their meal as much of an adventure as they want.” – Dan Tinghitella, director of culture and operations
“It’s been a real labor of love,” he freely admitted. “For one, we want our guests to make their meal as much of an adventure as they want.”
Sure you can order a salad, starter, and pizza. Or if you choose, you can order family-style and share a few starters and a whole roasted fish. Which essentially means: waves of food. The culinary team has designed the menu to work for larger groups, intimate date nights, and every sized seating in between.
Every dish cooked at Farm & Fire is done so in their coal-fired ovens. “We don’t have any other equipment – no grills, no fryers, no microwaves,” Tinghitella disclosed. Instead, food is prepared using the quick-cooking direct heat from 800-degree flames. One result is pizza with delectably charred crusts.
When asked what his favorite pizza is, Tinghitella admits to being a traditionalist.
“I’d order the Margarita and just let the flavors of those imported tomatoes sing and the char on its crust crackle and crunch.” But the Meatballs and Ricotta pie is another one not to be missed. The meatballs are made in-house, soaking up that homemade sauce and taking a two-day process to perfect.
Another dish that has become a guest favorite is the roasted chicken wings. The chicken is marinated for three days in garlic, fresh herbs, lemon, and olive oil and when roasted in the coal-fired ovens, the high heat gives them super-crispy skin while maintaining tender, juicy meat.
Their bar staff is shaking up cocktails comprised of cask-aged and house-infused liquors along with sharing a well-curated wine list of Spanish and Italian reds and whites. This makes choosing what to drink almost as challenging as your food order. These handcrafted sips were thoughtfully tested and Farm & Fire’s guests benefit from fine-tuned “drinks with soul.”
The special touches at Farm & Fire don’t end as your belly is getting fuller. The tableside coffee service was created by their bar manager and includes frothing the rye-infused whipped cream right at your table. Served alongside a hearty portion of Tiramisu (made with locally-roasted Amavida espresso) it might just equal a coffee lover’s nirvana. And since there’s always going to be a little bit of Southern flare on Jim Shirley’s menus, leave the diet and take the Key lime cannoli.
Yes Farm & Fire’s upstairs space has stunning panoramic water views, but trust me, you’ll also be wowed by its beautifully renovated interior. It’s unlike anything else in our area, with a distinct speakeasy-styled vibe that is all at once cozy and comfortable, yet sharp and elevated. So work up an appetite, grab your people, and head on over – pronto.
Farm & Fire Southern Pizzeria is located at 24200 U.S. Highway 31 in Santa Rosa Beach in the space above North Beach Tortilla Co. Open seven days a week for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. and the Speakeasy bar is open until 10 p.m. No reservations accepted. Phone for more information at 850-534-3086 or visit farmandfirepizza.com