16 spots to try: New to the neighborhood

By Michelle Farnham
March 22, 2024

WALTON COUNTY – There’s no slowing down the South Walton dining scene! Check out one of these 16 new-to-you spots next time you’re needing a little culinary inspiration.

3 Sons Bar-B-Q

A new restaurant, but not a new business, 3 Sons Bar-B-Q started as a food truck back in 2013. Ten years later the Vaughn family and team decided to take the plunge into a full-service restaurant, serving meats prepared in off-set smokers. Here you’ll find classics like brisket, pulled pork, ribs and smoked chicken, as well as sides and desserts. Specialties include Trailer Tacos, Texas Twinkies and the Slab Wrap – their take on an gyro.

3 Sons Bar-B-Q is located at 6931 W. Co. Hwy. 30A in the revamped former Elmo’s building. Find them online at www.3sonsbarbq.com or call 850-278-6082. Closed Mondays, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays). Reservations are not accepted.

Big Bad Breakfast
Big Bad Breakfast

Big Bad Breakfast – Miramar Beach

James Beard Award-winning Chef John Currence broke into the South Walton scene a few years ago with his Big Bad Breakfast in Inlet Beach. Now he’s brought his brunch hot spot to the West side with the opening of his 22nd BBB location in Miramar Beach.

Dine-in or order take-out, choosing from such favorites as biscuits, omelets, skillets, pancakes and waffles; or from the lunch menu, sandwiches, wraps and salads. Try the fried oyster scramble, the huevos rancheros grit bowl, or Keke’s Wrap, which contains just about everything from the breakfast menu. BBB offers a cocktails menu featuring Cathead Vodka, as well as its Big Bad Cold Brew, made your way.

Reservations are not accepted, and breakfast and lunch are served daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The restaurant sits in front of the Silver Sands Outlets complex, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite 169, Miramar Beach.

Bosforo Mediterranean Seafood & Steak

Also located in Miramar Beach in the transformed former IHOP storefront, Bosforo is offering diners a taste of coastal cuisine from the other side of the globe. Think mezzes like hummus and babagannus, stuffed dates, falafel with lemon tahini, flavorful salads, and mains like chicken piccata, shrimp and polenta, and homemade pasta. Sip on speciality cocktails or peruse the wines by the glass, including reds, whites and sparkling options.

Reservations are accepted; for more details visit www.bosforomiramarbeach.com, call 850-353-2783, or visit 10859 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite 206, Miramar Beach. Closed Sundays and Mondays, Bosforo serves dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.

LandShark Bar & Grill

Part of the Margaritaville family of restaurants, LandShark Bar & Grill was recently welcomed to The Village of Baytowne Wharf in the former Marlin Grill spot. On the menu, find a fun mix of coastal and Caribbean flavors, with plenty of seafood as well as burgers and sandwiches. A family-friendly establishment, LandShark remembers the kiddos with its Little Sharks menu (burgers, fried shrimp, and chicken tenders). Sippers have lots of options as well, with a lengthy specialty cocktail menu, margaritas of every variety, as well as frozen concoctions, beers, and wines.

Open Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., you can find LandShark at miramarbeach.landsharkbarandgrill.com or call 850-308-2458. Set your GPS for 9011 Baytowne Wharf Blvd., Miramar Beach, within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Papa Surf Burger Bar
Papa Surf Burger Bar

Papa Surf Burger Bar

Offering plenty of star power from owners Brian and Brittney Kelley, Jason and Brittany Aldean, and Tom and Chris Glavine, Papa Surf brings plenty of flavor power, too. Dine-in or take out, burgers include unique combos like the Southern Burger (pimento cheese, tomato jam, dill pickle), the Green Chile Cheeseburger (queso, fire-roasted poblanos, pickled red onion) or the Burnin’ It Down (chipotle BBQ sauce, crispy onions, bacon and pepperjack). A quartet of non-beef sandwiches are also available, and the sweet potato waffle fries are worth a look.

Visitors can choose between dining in the air-conditioned restaurant, catching some rays on the front patio, or gathering around the beautiful backyard bar, built around a magnolia tree.

Found online at https://papasurf.com, Papa Surf is located at 4324 W. Co. Hwy. 30A, Santa Rosa Beach. Seating is on a first-come basis, and food is served from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Phone is 850-278-6440.

Palm Folly Club

Serving as the taproom and community space for Palm Folly Hard Seltzer, Palm Folly Club is a fun place to sit and sip indoors, lounge in the shade of the patio, or take the party to “The Island” for some sandy fun. The club frequently hosts special events like trivia night, goat yoga, cooking classes and chef’s pairings.

Founded on owner Meaghan Easterhaus’s belief that hard seltzers should be made with real fruit and no chemical extracts, all the seltzers are plant-based vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. Regular flavors include orange, blueberry-lemon, key lime, pineapple-mango, grapefruit rose, and strawberry hibiscus, a rotation of seasonal flavors keeps things interesting, as well as their house-brewed IPA and blonde ale.

For more details, visit https://palmfolly.com or stop in at 2602 Hwy. 98, Santa Rosa Beach. The Folly Club is pouring from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, closed Mondays.

Waldo’s Chicken & Beer

With its slogan “Always Made From Scratch” Waldo’s Chicken & Beer serves up Southern fried chicken and rotisserie. The menu includes tenders, sandwiches, salads, and plates served with two sides and a cheddar biscuit. For sides, you’re looking at French fries, mac ‘n cheese, white beans, collard greens, potato wedges, coleslaw and tomato cucumber salad.

For sipping, there’s tea (naturally), soft drinks, beer, wine and a dozen cocktails ranging from a trendy paloma to a seasonal slush.

Check out the menu, online ordering and catering options at waldoschicken.com or call 850-600-1639. Find them at 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy W., Suite 169, Miramar Beach, in the Silver Sands Outlet Mall complex. Hours run 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

87 Central Square
87 Central Square

87 Central Square

The latest entry into the South Walton culinary scene from Chef Jim Shirley, 87 Central Square focuses on the ever-changing story of the “now.” The food menu is on the smaller side, perhaps to make room for the extensive wine menu. Much on a mix of entrées (lamb ribs, duck poutine, a bulgogi beef burger), charcuterie and cheese boards, seafood paella, poke and sushi.

As the name would suggest, this restaurant is located at 87 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach at Seaside. They’re online at www.87centralsquare.com, phone is 850-231-7327. The bar is open from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m., while dinner is served from 4 to 9 p.m.

Canopy Road Cafe

Canopy Road Cafe found success in the 30Avenue complex of Inlet Beach, and has broadened its reach with the opening of its new Seagrove Beach location, 4785 E. County Hwy 30A, Building 5, Santa Rosa Beach.

The kitchen cooks up a little bit of everything, including specialty toasts, griddle favorites, Tex-Mex, omelettes, breakfast skillets, salads and sandwiches. Drinks include your classic brunch pairings: coffee, tea, juice and soda.

Check them out online at www.canopyroadcafe.com or call 850-213-4170. Breakfast and lunch are served seven days a week, 6:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. No reservations are accepted.

The Daytrader Tiki Bar

Escape to the sunny side of Seaside with a visit to The Daytrader Tiki Bar, from local Chef Nikhil Abuvala. The menu includes many dishes you won’t find at your average SoWal joint, like Katsu or Spam Musabi, Lumpia, boiled peanuts and Hong Kong-style lobster noodles.

The cocktail, beer and wine menus are extensive as well, to include a pair of drinks for two: the Daytrader Remedy (Mai Tai), or the Just The Two of Us (White Claw cherry vodka, gin, Campesino, Combier Bleu and sake).

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seating is on a first-come, first-served basis at 2236 E County Hwy 30A Unit 4 & 5, Seaside. Reach them at 850-273-8189.

Ghost Crab Pizza
Ghost Crab Pizza

Ghost Crab Pizza

With the motto “Scary Good Pizza!” Ghost Crab Pizza is the newest entrant into the pizza game here in South Walton. Using San Marzano tomatoes, premium cheeses and as much locally sourced produce as possible, pizzas come in your choice of 12- or 16-inch sizes. Build your own from their list of toppings – which includes premium options like prosciutto, gorgonzola cheese, and truffled ricotta – or opt for one of their specialties. Here you’ll find trendy hot honey on the Bee Sting with pepperoni, jalapeños and garlic, the Truffle Pig with mushrooms and truffled ricotta and prosciutto), and the Ghost Crab Rangoon with blue crab, artichoke and Thai chili sauce. Beer and wine are also available.

Ghost Crab Pizza is on the East side, 13123 E. Emerald Coast Parkway Suite C, Inlet Beach, and available at ghostcrabpizza.com or 850-213-4358. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

friends 30A Burger Bar

The long-awaited friends 30A Burger Bar comes from the Corchis Hospitality Group, the brains behind Inlet Beach favorites amigos 30A Mexican Kitchen and amici 30A Italian Kitchen. Savvy readers will notice the “friends” theme among all three restaurants, which fits in with the family-owned business’s “Friends, Family and Full Bellies” motto.

Located in the Watersound Origins Town Center on Highway 98, friends is a fast-casual restaurant concept offering smash burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken tenders, milkshakes and more.

Idyll Hound Proper
Idyll Hound Proper

Idyll Hound Proper

Whether it’s lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch, the menu at Idyll Hound Proper has you covered. Think burgers, wings and Nashville hot chicken, but also think Bao Buns, grilled prime rib and miso mushroom bowls. Anyone familiar with the local brewery scene will recognize the Idyll Hounds Brewing Company name, with more than a dozen varieties on tap, but the spirits and wine list is just as impressive.

Idyll Hound Proper is located at 12805 US-98, Suite E101, at the 30Avenue complex in Inlet Beach. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, reach them at 850-909-9041. Reservations are not accepted; visit www.Idyllhoundproper.com.

Local Cantina

New to the Greenway Station complex in the heart of Seagrove Beach, this is the first Florida location for the Ohio-based chain Local Cantina, Tacos & Tequila. The menu includes chips and dips, a wide selection of tacos, salads, quesadillas, bowls and fajitas, along with a kids menu and desserts. Vegetarians will be pleased to see some options here as well.

The over-21 crowd can even enjoy Margaritas To Go, with combinations including blood orange, colada and strawberry. Find Local Cantina at 4749 E. Co. Hwy. 30A, Suite 103, Santa Rosa Beach, open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).

The Salty Butcher

An independent, boutique butcher shop and wine bar, The Salty Butcher in Seagrove Beach is a purveyor of quality meats, cheeses, wines and specialty products (think specialty coffee, spices, grab-and-go meals). You may have seen them out at local wine events, hand-slicing prosciutto to go with their giant wheel of cheese.

Situated at 4749 E. Co. Hwy. 30A, Unit 101 in Santa Rosa Beach, find them online at thesaltybutcher30a.com or call 448-333-1050. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Watersound Village Market
Watersound Village Market

Watersound Village Market

After cutting the ribbon back in September, this sister restaurant to Seagrove Village MarketCafé has made a name for itself with its menu inspired by global travels and family traditions. Featuring the fried shrimp po boy that launched the Hartley Restaurant Group’s dining empire, as well as the Mexico-inspired San Miguel Bowl, Texas-based Hot Tangy Fish on Asian Slaw and a Saturday brunch menu.

Dine-in, order to-go, but don’t miss the take away menu, with grab-and-go options like jalapeño pimento cheese, corn chowder, or ham & collard greens quiche.

Visit them at 86 N. Watersound Blvd., Inlet Beach, online at watersoundvillagemarket.com, or call 850-563-8110. Open Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., with brunch until 2.

Wild Olives Bistro

Making its triumphant return to the 30A area, Wild Olives is a bistro serving quality wines and craft cocktails. Bringing you old-world favorites with the updated amenities of the new world, the menu changes seasonally. Lunch includes a selection of salads, handhelds, charcuterie boards and small plates. For the evening meal, large plates include a few catch of the day options, a reuben Dagwood, bacon burger, and the salt and pepper tofu.

Be sure to peruse the dessert menu, the extensive wine list, and the liquor list, with all varieties present.

Dinner is served Wednesday and Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; then Friday to Sunday lunch runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with dinner service going from 5 to 10 p.m. Note that the space, located at 4771 E. Co. Hwy. 30A, Unit C103, Santa Rosa Beach, becomes 21+ only after 2 p.m.