The Terrace Restaurant
Classic restaurant touches live on in Inlet Beach
By Stephanie Burt
Sometimes it is the lapping waves that attract someone, gentle and clear blue as they wash up on white sands. Other times it’s the slower pace, the quiet nights or the mornings punctuated by the sound of palm fronds whipping in the wind. And for some, such as Chefs Thom and Kathy Kindos, it was all of that and more.
“Originally we were just visiting though the area, passing through, and fell in love with the quiet, surreal area surrounding us,” Kathy remembered. “At the time, New York City had become very overwhelming and we wanted a little tranquility and peace.”
So the couple left the city and the Kindos’s long-standing family tradition in the New York restaurant business. They expanded that tradition to 30A with the opening of The Terrace Restaurant in August of 1990, and have been serving guests in the same spot ever since.
“We have customers that have been coming here since August 1990, and we have served three generations of their families,” she said proudly. They’ve been serving food to families in the same building since the beginning, which is nestled in the curve of Highway 98 before it intersects with 30A a short distance to the west.
Inlet Beach is essentially a quiet, residential neighborhood, despite its proximity to the more popular Panama City Beach. Many of the families who visit like to keep things quiet and build traditions, and that includes at least an annual trip to The Terrace Restaurant. What keeps them coming back? Well, the food of course, which is fresh and flavored with Mediterranean tradition, often while using local seafood as the star of the plate. To Kathy, the appeal is simple.
“We just offer great variety of seafood, steaks, poultry, lobster and lamb and accommodate everyone’s appetite,” she said. “You can really tell that each dish is prepared to order using the freshest ingredients – and you do not feel rushed!”
Chef Thom helms the savory side of the menu, with popular items such as the Grouper Gourmet, pan-seared in a Chardonnay Sauce of artichokes, wild mushrooms and fresh herbs, or Parmesan-Seared Chicken, served with fried shrimp. Each entree comes with a choice of Greek or house salad, a classic restaurant touch that is hard to find these days. That’s an example of the attention to detail – which also includes homemade tartar and cocktail sauces for the fried plates – that keeps patrons coming back.
If patrons save room for dessert, Kathy tempts them with a variety of treats, the most popular of which is her coconut cake, a fitting dessert for a dinner in a beachfront paradise.
In a world of “restaurant concepts,” “fast casual,” and tasting menus, The Terrace Restaurant is a throwback in the best sense of the word, mainly because they have never stopped doing what they are doing: providing good food to families in a relaxed atmosphere. They are a true “Mom and Pop” place, run by two people who fell in love with the area and decided to make it their home. They hope you feel at home, too, after a visit to their restaurant.
The Terrace Restaurant is situated at 13741 U.S. Highway 98 in Inlet Beach. For reservations or more information, call 850-231-5202 or visit www.terracer.com. Meals are served Tuesday to Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.