By Liesel Schmidt
July 11, 2023
GULF PLACE – As the owners of The Perfect Pig restaurant group, the Miller family has a name synonymous with fun times, great atmosphere and – of course – fantastic food. Now, with the opening of Shelby’s Beach Bar and Grill in Santa Rosa Beach, they continue that tradition, welcoming guests to enjoy the laid-back, casual beach vibe they offer and taste Southern coastal cuisine at its finest.
“The vision for the restaurant was to offer locals and visitors to the area a fun, upscale dining experience straight off the beach with amazing views of our beautiful Gulf and great people-watching,” said Vickie Miller, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Jeff, and daughter Shelby.
And indeed, they achieved that, boasting a location in Town Center Loop that straddles both town and beach, calling to beachgoers as well as those seeking a slowed pace and relaxed haven from life – if only for the space of a meal. Light-filled, open and airy with various shades of blue, the atmosphere is vaguely Mediterranean, becoming even more special with alfresco dining under a beautiful glass and awning roof.
“Our amazing location sets us apart from the start,” Miller noted. “Set in the beautiful Gulf Place community on the corner of 30A and Highway 393 directly across the street from the largest public beach access on 30A, we have amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico, and we are a quick trip up from the beach for lunch, dinner or grab-and-go food and drinks. We also have live music on a regular basis.”
The view, the ambiance, the music – they’re all key players in setting the scene – but the food is the star here.
“The food is heavy on seafood, of course,” said Miller. “But we also offer some items you won’t see on every menu in the area, like our skirt steak kabobs served over mushroom rice pilaf, pimento cheese wontons served with sweet chili sauce and our lobster rolls. Because we believe in the quality of our food, our fish is delivered fresh daily, and we use local produce whenever possible. In all of our restaurants, our guiding principles are scratch kitchens and seasonality. This means that everything is made in-house from the finest raw ingredients we can procure, and that we change menus seasonally to showcase what is fresh and abundant. We do all of this in beautiful, unique settings.”
Settings that serve as visual appetizers to the main event: best-sellers like Shelby’s footlong hot dog with a featured topping that changes daily, including one of their most popular: mango. Flavorful and refreshing, the 30A street corn nachos and their grouper sandwich are on most orders, and Shelby’s also offers daily specials to entice diners to try new dishes and find another favorite.
As a beach bar, their drinks hold high importance as well, and Shelby’s doesn’t disappoint. In the warmer months, their frozen cocktails and mocktails are the most popular, with daily changing flavors in addition to their standards of margaritas, rum runners, strawberry daiquiris and piña coladas. As for signature cocktails, Shelby’s Punch and the Happy Sour are both very popular options.
Rounding out the experience of dining at Shelby’s is the Miller family’s signature standard of service.
“The family is involved on a daily basis in the running of the restaurants and takes great pride in our wonderful staff, who are friendly, knowledgeable and know their customers by name,” Miller said. “When guests come to Shelby’s, they can expect to have a fun, relaxing time in a visually stimulating environment while enjoying some seriously delicious food and drinks.”
Located at 37 Town Center Loop, Santa Rosa Beach, Shelby’s Beach Bar and Grill is open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations. For more information, call 850-660-2069 or visit shelbysbeachbar30a.com.