Auston’s on 98: Nashville hot, Florida cool

By Liesel Schmidt
April 12, 2024

Auston's on 98

MIRAMAR BEACH – They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and in the case of Auston’s on 98, it led a few Nashville-based restaurateurs to create something that reminded them of a place they’d always loved to eat whenever they came to Destin. Much like the iconic Buster’s Oyster Bar & Grill that served tourists and locals alike for 29 years before permanently closing its doors in 2016, they wanted their new restaurant to have a beachy, sports bar feel, with great oysters and a fun, welcoming atmosphere.

Part of the Just One More Hospitality Group portfolio, Auston’s on 98 has filled that bill since opening its doors in late summer of 2020. Unlike the rest of JOMH’s establishments, this is their sole Florida-based venture, offering a different concept than the others. The menu is built around the concept of high-quality seafood at a price point that isn’t cost prohibitive, served in a sports bar atmosphere.

“When guests come to eat with us, they can expect great food, live music and a daily happy hour, delivered with great service in a laid-back kind of place that just makes everyone feel comfortable – even if they’re rolling in off the beach,” said General Manager Jessica Evans.  

Auston's on 98

The wisdom of offering such a welcoming, beach-friendly space has been rewarded by success and loyalty – both from locals as well as the many tourists who frequent the area.

“We’ve definitely become a locals’ bar, and we feel we do a lot for the community in what we’ve created here,” Evans said. “Each year we also have more and more tourists who tell us that this is their favorite place to eat, and they’ll come back multiple times, even during a short visit. Hearing that always makes me smile.”

Offering a menu whose many dishes run the gamut from seafood platters and fish tacos to a full raw bar that has won the restaurant a 2023 designation for Best in Destin, Auston’s signatures also include little neck clams, New England style clam chowder and jumbo shrimp cocktail as well as turf-based grilled chicken platters and burgers. Naturally, being part of a Nashville-owned restaurant group comes with certain expectations, and Auston’s holds up its end in its own Real Deal Nashville Hot Sauce, a key ingredient in their Nashville hot oysters, seafood and chicken dishes.

Auston's on 98

“As great as our food is, something that impresses people is the family we have built between our staff and locals,” Evans noted. “More than half of our staff has been with us since we opened, and people love to see the same happy faces time after time when they come to visit us. I believe that workplace loyalty is a big testament to our ownership and management.”

Being the sports bar that it is, Auston’s claim to fame is a massive 102-foot bar, behind which one will inevitably find 32 craft beers on draft, as well as 37 flat-screen TVs perfectly positioned for viewing whatever games are being aired. Paired with the food, atmosphere and service, it’s a perfect combination for an experience that pays homage well to its inspiration, creating a place that may one day celebrate a longevity that makes it iconic in its own right.

Auston’s on 98 is located at 125 Poinciana Boulevard, Miramar Beach. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., reservations are not accepted. For more information, visit austonson98.com or call 850-842-3200.