The Island Epicurean on Perdido Key specializes in breakfast, lunch, and catering. Considering Perdido Key has just one main road, you would think it would be easy to spot, but it isn’t. To find it, drive to the rear of the Villagio shopping plaza, then turn left.
The Epicurean is a family business. It is owned and operated by Stacey Certain and her son, Chef Jordan Scott. Scott started his career working in restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee. Later, he graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. When he came to the Gulf Coast in 2014, Scott began working with fellow Chef Johnathan Kastner. Initially, the two designed the menu for the Orange Beach Brick and Spoon and got it off to a great start. Later, they continued to collaborate when Kastner launched his own restaurant, the Anchor Bar and Grill.
In 2016, Jordan and his mother, Stacey, teamed up to start a gourmet catering service in Orange Beach, calling it the Island Epicurean Food Company. Two years later, the pair decided that expanding their business to include a restaurant would provide several advantages. For one thing, more people could enjoy Chef Scott’s cooking.
With his training, Scott could easily stick to complicated, fancy fare. But, both he and his mother also love Memphis-style cooking and comfort food. Their menu reflects this with choices that range from Crab Cakes Benedict to biscuits and gravy and avocado toast to wings. Many of the dishes that aren’t Scott’s creations come from old family recipes. The menu changes seasonally, particularly the sides, which are always fresh and local.
The Epicurean’s mix of luxury and family carries over from the menu to the place itself. Step inside, and the first thing you’ll see is an elegant dining table topped with orchids and candlesticks. The table is made from the former doors of St. Thomas by the Sea Catholic Church in Orange Beach. The weathered mahogany doors were given to Certain when the church replaced them. They stayed in her garage for two years until Jordan and a friend refinished them to create the centerpiece of their new venture. The table seats 14 comfortably and is used for communal dining. For those who don’t want to join in, the Epicurean has plenty of smaller tables in the adjoining dining room.
The pottery used by the Epicurean reveals another local connection. Many of the serving pieces used in the restaurant are the work of Maya Blume-Cantrell. A local artist, Maya’s clay studio is located at the Coastal Art Center in Orange Beach. There, she creates both functional pieces and artistic sculptures and also teaches the art of pottery to locals and visitors.
The Epicurean serves breakfast and lunch between the hours of 7 am and 2 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. This schedule leaves time for Scott and Certain to work with clients on their catering needs and to prepare dishes for their ‘Gourmet-to-Go’ cooler. Specialty orders and cooler items can be picked up Tuesday through Saturday until 5 pm.