So you’re coming to Cape San Blas this summer for a vacation at the beach! For some, that means very little time spent dining out. (And for you, watch for future on where to catch or purchase the best seafood, how to prepare it and other tips for you “do it yourself” types) But for many folks, being on vacation means being on vacation from the kitchen, too. In a recent Ezine article, I did my best to give an exhaustive list of all the eating establishments on Cape San Blas, on the way to Port St. Joe from the Cape, and in Port St. Joe itself.
This article will expand the choices to two of our favorite nearby towns, Mexico Beach and Apalachicola. Why these two towns? Well, it seems despite the fact we have fabulous weather most of the time at the Cape, on the one rainy day we might get during our vacation, we’d head to Apalach or Mexico Beach to shop, sight see, and eat lunch while the clouds passed. The shopping in Apalachicola ranges from neat little places like Blue or Avenue E to antique shops and another personal favorite, Petunia’s pet boutique. In Mexico Beach, my daughter’s favorite place is Two Gulls, a cute store in a row of adorable shops on Highway 98.
Another disclaimer, lest I offend any of the fine eateries in these towns who are not mentioned — this is definitely not intended to be an extensive listing. These are just the places my family has settled into visiting over the years. And yes, we are creatures of habit and, like the monarch butterflies who migrate to and from Cape San Blas each year, we tend to head to the same places frequently!
Mexico Beach — Remember, they’re on Central time and the Cape is on Eastern time!
Beach Pizza, 2902 Highway 98, 850-648-4600. Gourmet Pizzas and Hot and Cold Sub Sandwiches. My kids love their pizza and want to stop anytime we’re in Mexico Beach. (Also, for those of you staying in our only Mexico Beach Vacation Rental, Gary’s Gift, Beach Pizza delivers!)
Mango Marley’s, 3104 Highway 98, 850-648-5000. Great seafood, burgers, “Jamaican Me Crazy” chips and other good appetizers. Full bar, video games and something always going on, be it a football game or what I hear is the latest, Wii Bowling on Wednesday nights. We had a blast last summer when we stopped in with a large group and everybody enjoyed their food.
Regan’s Pub & Oyster Bar, 8066 W. Highway 98, 850-647-2800. I’ve eaten lots Regan’s oysters at special events and parties and they’re yummy! They have a casual atmosphere with a restaurant on one side and a lounge with pool, darts and jukebox on the other.
Sharon’s Cafe, 1100 Highway 98, 850-648-8634. Great place for breakfast or lunch. The kids loved the “happy face” pancakes when they were growing up.
Toucan’s Restaurant, 812 Highway 98, 850-648-8207. One of my kids’ favorite places to eat when they were little. There’s a beach-side playground and indoor, porch and outdoor seating. We stopped in over this spring break and had a great meal and watched the sunset. Everything from full dinners to hamburgers to seafood baskets and appetizers. Full bar.
Apalachicola (there are lots more places we have not tried yet, but these are our favorites!)
Apalachicola Seafood Grill, 100 Market Street, 850-653-9510. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Apalach and sits right on the corner of the main roads into town. I guess that’s partly why it’s the first place we tried in town. The kids loved the fried seafood, and one of our friends loves the gumbo — or maybe it’s the chowder? I can’t remember, but we always have to be sure we go early enough for her to get some or she pouts!
Boss Oyster, 123 Water Street, 850-653-9364. Great setting on the water. Casual atmosphere and outdoor seating available too. You can order your oysters 17 different ways and you can mix and match your dozen! Also serves other kinds of seafood, but I always eat oysters. They serve lunch and dinner.
The Owl Cafe, 15 Avenue D, serves lunch and dinner. They serve Sunday brunch but we have never made it to one. This is one of my favorite places and we have always had wonderful food and service at the Owl. I love the black grouper, but the steaks, pasta and specials are excellent too. The Owl is a little more upscale and little more expensive than some of our other favorite haunts, but we think it’s worth it.
Papa Joe’s Oyster Bar, 301-B Market Street, 850-653-1189. Another great place to get oysters! They serve lunch and dinner and have steaks, salads and pasta as well as seafood.
That Place on 98, Eastpoint now has a sister restaurant, That Place in Apalach, 17 Avenue E, 850-653-9898. I’ve not been to the Apalach location, but we love the original “That Place on 98” which is located at 500 US Highway 98 in Eastpoint. Their number at that location is 850-670-9898. The website says Eastpoint is closed for the season but to try the new Apalachicola location. We’ll try to hit it next time we are down. The Eastpoint restaurant has great food, a nice view and friendly, casual service. Yeah, we all have t-shirts from there too because we love the name.
We have never been to some of the other restaurants in Apalachicola that folks say are excellent. They include Verandas, Magnolia Grill and Tamara’s. Like I said, we’re creatures of habit and only get over this way maybe once during our week of summer vacation at Cape San Blas. Someday we will be lucky enough to move down there full time and visit all these great places. So feel free to pick from our “tried and true” list or expand to some of the other great restaurants in either town. Bon appetit!