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Perdido Key

Island Epicurean Restaurant

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.

Poached eggs, bacon and grits

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.

Hub Stacey’s at the Point

Hub Stacey’s in the afternoon will make you say, ‘Aah.’ The shady live oaks and water-borne breezes make it a great place to escape from the summer sun. In the early evening, you can watch the sun take its colorful dive into Perdido Bay. And later, when the sun goes down, the musicians show up.

Hubbard and Donna Stacey opened the original Hub Stacey’s Restaurant in downtown Pensacola in 1998. Five years later they launched Hub Stacey’s at the Point. Both have persevered. They’ve survived Ivan, Katrina, and the BP oil spill. Considering the impact these events had on area residents, the local economy, and tourism, that’s saying something. Read the messages on the thousands of dollar bills that patrons plaster onto the walls and you’ll get to know the place a little better.

Hub Stacey’s at the Point opens at 7 am seven days a week. This makes it one of the few restaurants in the Perdido Key area serving breakfast. In case you want a little Bailey’s in your coffee, the bar opens at 7 am as well. Sunday through Thursday they close at 10 pm. But on Fridays and Saturdays, Hub’s keeps it going until midnight, nearly always with local musicians. (See calendar.)

If your taste buds are crying out for more fish and seafood, this isn’t your place. Hub’s is known for custom-designed sandwiches, homemade potato salad, burgers, wings, and other assorted “bar food.” You can bring your kids, your dog, and if the spirit moves you, your dance moves. It’s a great place to relax, be entertained, and meet new friends.

Our favs: The Ono (original chicken salad on a pita) and The River Road (Hub’s take on the Rueben

Tips for visiting Hub Stacey’s at the Point

  • Be prepared for outdoor seating. All under roof.
  • If you hate the smell of cigarettes, ask where the smoking section is before you settle in.
  • If you want to see, not just hear, the musicians, go bit early. 
  • If you feel like singing, go on Tuesdays. Karaoke starts at 6 pm (check calendar)
  • Sandwiches and portions can be pretty big. Take a look around before ordering, you might want to split an order with someone in your group.
  • When ordering drinks, ask about the bump.
  • If you don’t know where it is, use an app. It’s off the main road.
  • You can go by boat to Galvez Landing.
  • Dogs must be on a leash.

Fishermans Corner

Sitting just over, and almost under, the northeast end of the Theo Baars Bridge is a little place called Fisherman’s Corner. Aptly named, it was once a bait and tackle shop. But that was before the BP oil spill in 2010.

Later that year, businessman Jim Green took an interest in the site. A Louisiana native, Green had owned restaurants before. He had also once owned and operated Tipitina’s, a famous New Orleans jazz club. Partnering with local Willie Brown, a retired tugboat captain, the two opened Fisherman’s Corner in January of 2011.

Chef Andrew Brown helped create the Creole-influenced menu. The nephew of Capt. Willie Brown, Andrew Brown has had an impact on several other area restaurants. He was instrumental in the startup of both the Grayton Seafood Company in Grayton Beach and the Southern Pearl in Pace, Florida. Each is independently owned and has different menus.

 

If you plan to eat at Fisherman’s Corner, be prepared. It’s not much to look at from the outside, and the view isn’t going to wow you. But, if you arrive after five, you might find yourself waiting a couple of hours for a table. Did I mention that you’ll be waiting outside? In the elements. On the small back deck. Maybe even in the parking lot.

By now you might be ready to strike it from consideration — no lovely facade, no breathtaking view, no Bushwhackers. They only sell beer and wine. On the other hand, you’re curious.

The place is a bit of a surprise inside. The table cloths are white, the napkins are linen, and the wine list is extensive. Fisherman’s Corner has been on Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards since 2012. The menu is free-ranging – burgers, Po Boys, shrimp and grits, bone-in pork chop with blackberry barbeque sauce, and plenty of fresh seafood selections. If you go, be sure to save room for a bread pudding dessert. 

Our Favs: Gumbo and the New Orleans Praline Pecan Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce.

Tips for visiting the Fisherman’s Corner

  • Before you go scroll Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Zomato.
  • Make reservations for dinner, but be prepared for a wait no matter what.
  • Read our post Eating Out or Being Eaten? 2 Mosquito Repellants that Work
  • Avoid the wait by going for lunch or calling in a take-out order.
  • To Go – Ask about service charge up front. After 5 p.m. call an hour before you want to pick up. Don’t call after 7 p.m. during peak season. 
  • Dress casual. Just because they have a $245 bottle of Champagne on the menu doesn’t make it fancy.