May 6, 2021
By Liesel Schmidt
SANDESTIN – Combining his years of experience as the captain of a boat with an expertise in restaurant management and menu development, long-time Destin native Gary Jarvis and his like-minded son Bryce have the seafood game well in their grasp. And while they could easily have rested on the success they’d created at Sunset Bay Café in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the father-son duo chose to launch a restaurant in Baytowne Wharf in 2018, capitalizing on the amazing views of their location to bring their guests a dining experience that truly celebrates freshly caught seafood and Southern comfort dishes at their best.
Creatively called Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster Bar, the restaurant invokes an oft-used nickname for Amberjack, a reef fish with no large, sharp teeth whose “slick lips” make them slip easily off the line. Aptly named for a fish common to local waters, the word “local” is at the very heart of this restaurant, as the fish and seafood so beautifully showcased on the menu is locally caught and brought in fresh off the docks in Destin each day.
As one might imagine from the name, the dishes at Slick Lips are largely focused on fresh seafood and oysters, utilizing each in a way that truly lets the taste and quality speak for themselves. Starting things off, a full oyster bar menu offers both raw and chargrilled oysters on the half-shell, presented in their purest form or adorned with house made toppings bursting with the flavor of rich and fatty chorizo cream with smoked gouda or garlic herb parmesan.
For something a little more decadent, the Oysters Baytowne features golden fried oysters on charred French bread, topped with Rockefeller cream sauce, crispy bacon, and parmesan cheese. It’s a deft display of creativity, as are all of their starter dishes, like the crab cakes topped by fresh mango papaya salsa and Cajun remoulade. The Smoked Cheddar Bacon Bombs – an unapologetic display of down-home Southern decadence – is crafted with scratch-made pimento cheese studded with bacon lardons that have been hand-breaded and deep fried, served with a sweet-hot chili aioli.
“We take pride in all that we do, from using the freshest seafood to making our premium custom cocktails,” said Executive Chef Jay Ammons, who has been at the helm since before the restaurant’s doors even opened. “We do it all from scratch here and take absolutely no shortcuts.”
That element of pride is evident on every plate, and the Jarvises’ passion and respect for ingredients is a vision shared by Ammons, who brings his creativity and expertise to bear each day as he leads his kitchen staff to execute perfection on a plate.
“We create a unique experience for our guests here, with our open kitchen where they can watch oysters being shucked and prepared and our attention to detail, which dictates that we do everything with excellence,” said Ammons, a largely self-taught chef who has trained under some of the best in the Gulf South.
At its core, Slick Lips is a restaurant created by true lovers of the sea, men who hold high regard for the beauty teaming in the local waters and wish to feed back into the area that they have long called home.
“This is a place created for families, with Southern hospitality and that feeling of being welcome served up right along with the food,” said Ammons. And that’s definitely something that’s sure to keep anyone on the line.
Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House is located at 140 Fisherman’s Cove, Miramar Beach. Open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations. For more information, call 850-347-5060 or visit www.slicklipsseafood.com.