By Michelle Farnham
Sept. 27, 2021
SANDESTIN – The 2020 offseason proved the perfect time for the sun to temporarily set on Sunset Bay Cafe. The restaurant was closed for a major remodel, modernizing the dining room of Sandestin’s much-loved eatery. Upon reopening, guests were welcomed into an indoor space as lovely as the waterfront locale the restaurant is named for.
“We basically gutted it,” admitted Bryce Jarvis, who co-owns the restaurant with his father, Gary. “All new walls, all new floors. We’re really excited.”
A palette of muted grays and weathered wooden floors really brighten up the space, highlighted by white shiplap accents. One wall of the dining room is adorned with a colorful mural, adding splashes of beachy seafoam, coral, yellow and blue.
“It’s actually custom-made wallpaper, it’s pretty neat,” Jarvis admitted.
The outside dining space uses the natural beauty of the Choctawhatchee Bay as its décor, surrounded by palm trees, blue skies and sunshine. A row of outdoor tables take advantage of the shade from the building’s awning, as guests enjoy cool breezes coming off the water.
Quenching that summertime thirst is no problem, with a selection of house cocktails – including five Bloody Mary options, three mimosas, a screwdriver and the Tequila Sunrise. The nearby outdoor Tiki Bar is open seasonally, positioned near the resort’s outdoor pool and the bay. You’ll find breakfast options like hot or iced tea, cappuccino, espresso, and iced coffee, as well as juices, milk and soda.
Now for the food
Once you’ve chosen a seat, the real decision-making begins. Like any good brunch house, the menu is varied, broken down into Starters, Benedicts, Breakfast Platters, Omelets, From the Griddle, Soups & Salads, and Lunch Plates & Sandwiches.
Get the meal started with a homemade cinnamon roll with Florida orange cream cheese icing or fried cheese curds with marinara.
Benedicts include favorites like the Fried Green Tomato, served with blackened shrimp and Old Bay Hollandaise sauce; or the Southern Boy featuring white peppered gravy and sausage atop homemade buttermilk biscuits.
Hot off the griddle, diners can chose from pancakes, French toast, or waffles, adorned with fruity favorites like blackberries, peaches, bananas or strawberry cream cheese – all served with two eggs and choice of breakfast meat.
As with any good Southern establishment, there’s your Shrimp & Grits, Chicken & Waffles and Crab Cakes. You might not expect the likes of Shrimp Grilled Cheese (five cheeses, spinach, and Gulf shrimp) with a cup of tomato bisque, or the Seafood Tacos (fish or shrimp served your way with fried plantains and coconut pineapple dipping sauce).
As fishermen, the Jarvises understand the importance of fresh seafood, and source as much sustainably caught seafood as they can get, delivered straight from the Destin docks.
They’re famous for their Sidewinder Fries: curls of fried potatoes with the perfect amount of seasoning. Off the Starters menu, they come topped with white pepper gravy, bacon, chives, and cheese curds. The side is also available at sister restaurant Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House, located in the nearby Village of Baytowne Wharf.
Sunset Bay Cafe is located at 158 Sandestin Blvd. North, near the Linkside Conference Center within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. Visit them online at www.sunsetbaycafesandestin.com or call 850-267-7108. Breakfast and lunch are served seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.