Catch a wave into Papa Surf

30A’s new celebrity burger joint serves substance and style

By Michelle Farnham
Aug. 29, 2023

GULF PLACE – There’s a new burger joint on 30A with a menu that promises to be as iconic as its blue building and the three partner couples behind it. Co-owned by country music superstars Jason Aldean and wife Brittany, Brian Kelley and wife Brittney, and baseball legend Tom Glavine and wife Christine, Papa Surf Burger Bar aims to be the new super-chill hang-out spot on 30A.

Burn It Down Burger
The Burn It Down Burger

Just steps from the Gulf Place complex and Ed Walline beach access, the menu includes chef-curated burgers, fries, a fish sandwich, turkey burger and a homemade black bean burger, according to General Manager Austin Miett.

“We have a beautifully crafted menu and it’s very simple, so it doesn’t create confusion for the guests,” Miett said. “All our sauces are homemade, the beef is locally sourced. A lot of our ingredients including our fish are locally sourced. We’re really diving into a high quality dining experience.”

The fries are worth a special mention, as they come in a classic skin-on waffle fry, Old Bay-style, or the show-stopping sweet potato fries with chipotle-cinnamon rub.

“That accents the sweet flavor but cuts against it a little bit – a bit of a sweet-and-savory flavor going on. People have told us over and over again they’re the best sweet potato fries they’ve ever had,” Miett admitted.

Waffle fries
Waffle fries, anyone?

So what’s with the name, Papa Surf, whose image appears on the eatery’s logo? 

“Papa is a mystical figure of the area,” Miett explained. “He embodies the laid-back, easy-going beach life guy that gets up, goes to catch a wave, then comes in to hang out at the bar, drink, and has a dang good burger.”

While eating that burger, Papa – or any other guest – has options for seating, too. Hang out on the covered front porch patio overlooking 30A (stay tuned for plans to add a lounge area with games), indoor seating among the air conditioning and indoor bar, or step out on the back patio for outdoor seating and a bar built around a majestic magnolia tree.

“The magnolia bar is magazine-worthy, it’s just beautiful,” Miett said. “You really feel like you’re in nature. It’s a cool vibe with ambient lighting and music playing. Everybody that’s come in has told us it’s their new favorite hangout spot because of it.”

Magnolia bar
The magnolia bar sets the scene for the back patio.

There you can choose from local draft or canned beers, a wine list expertly designed to pair with the burgers, and – until Papa Surf’s full liquor license comes through – select ready-to-drink cocktails.

Not for nothing, the venue is as beautifully curated as the menu. Charleston-based Cortney Bishop Design set to work on all three spaces.

“Every element was chosen to match, the seating, the decor on the walls. Every fine detail was considered,” Miett said.

Finish off the meal with key lime pie or cheesecake!

Papa Surf has launched a soft opening with plans in the works for a grand opening later this year. 

“I think this is what 30A needs; there’s really not much like this now,” he added. “We’re really dedicated to bringing impeccably designed product to the area and hope people come on out and enjoy some great service, great food, and nice cold drafts.”

For now, Papa Surf Burger Bar is open daily from 11 a.m. until the dinner crowd tapers off. Check out details as they become available at or find them on Facebook and Instagram @papasurfburgerbar.

Photos courtesy of Papa Surf Burger Bar