By Pam Windsor
Aug. 25, 2022
GRAYTON BEACH – Chanticleer Eatery has been a lunchtime favorite for years, with its gourmet sandwiches on homemade bread and popular desserts like fresh chocolate chip cookies and key lime pie. And now it’s becoming a hot spot for dinner with expanded nights and hours, and exciting new seafood dishes, as well as surf and turf.
When new owners, Jimmy Hasser and Adam Yellin (who also own Local Catch Bar & Grill), bought Chanticleer from husband-and-wife duo Sandro and Emily Wever, they wanted to keep everything that people already loved about it, but add and expand it just a little bit.
“We didn’t want to change a thing for lunch because of how popular lunch is with the locals,” Hasser said. “I would have no problem saying it’s the best lunch spot in or around 30A. So, when the deal was structured, we wanted to keep the people and the recipes. They had a lot of special ways they prepared some of the stuff. It was prepared with love, and we wanted to make sure we could do that.”
So, they kept what already worked and just added a little seafood to the menu, with lunch additions like the new Mahi Sandwich, served alongside the popular Reuben, the Turkey Avocado BLT, and the chicken salad sandwich on homemade bread.
And while Chanticleer was previously only open for dinner a couple of nights a week, it is now open seven nights a week with an expansive menu.
“What we did was we kept a couple of the most popular items from dinner (like the hand-rubbed pork chops), then we added seafood to it,” Hasser explained. “And we added a great executive chef. His name is Innocent Utomi.”
A native of Nigeria, Chef Innocent is a French-trained chief who has served as executive chef at prestigious restaurants like Capital Grille in Miami, and Great Southern and all the Seaside concepts in Santa Rose Beach.
“He’s so highly qualified and we think he does such a great job,” Adam Yellin said. “And we think he’s a great person, as well.”
Chef Innocent’s influence shines through the diverse dinner menu such as the Fresh Catch with Tomato Butter, Smoked Filet Mignon topped with demi-glace, served with mashed potatoes, green beans, and garlic butter sauce, and the Lobster Bisque Soup.
And during both lunch and dinner, the desserts that help make Chanticleer famous, are always available.
“Gourmet desserts made from scratch, like the key lime pie,” said Hasser, “and the cookies are exactly the same. The key lime pie is the same recipe, the carrot cake is the same, and we also have the fudgy brownie. People love those cookies and buy a dozen on the way out. It is the owner’s original recipe and she was kind enough to give that to us.”
Guests can also enjoy Happy Hour seven days a week from 3 to 6 p.m. at their full bar with craft cocktails, draft and bottled beer, and an extensive wine list. Menu items include burgers, wings, and poor boys, just to name a few.
Chanticleer Eatery has struck a unique balance: keeping what has worked so well for so long and creating new and exciting things that only add to the experience. It’s a win-win combination.
Chanticleer Eatery is located at 55 Clayton Lane, Santa Rosa Beach. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., reservations are not accepted but you can reach them at 850-213-9065 or visit www.chanticleereatery.com.