30A’s New (& Improved) Bars and Restaurants - 30A


30A’s New (& Improved) Bars and Restaurants

By: Kristy Gustafson | Posted Apr 1, 2021

For decades, people have flocked to our beautifully eclectic seaside communities for a taste of the simple pleasures that come along with beach life. As for the people who stay for good, they’re making their mark on our small town in ways that will make any discerning foodie, wine-o, craft beer, and craft cocktail lover feel right at home. Let’s take a look at a few of our new (and newly improved) favorites.

1. The Citizen

If we could choose one word to describe Alys Beach’s latest and greatest, it would be pristine. The moment you step foot into this elegant seaside tavern is like a waft of fresh air, complete with notes of modern luxury. Inspired by coastal cuisine from around the world, this seaside tavern offers local fare with a nod to their Southern roots. From their freshly shucked oysters to their fabulous seafood towers, the vibrant flavors throughout their menu are plentiful and are sure to not disappoint. The Citizen’s brilliantly crafted cocktails pull out all the stops and are almost too beautiful to drink. (Almost…) Now open for lunch. Brunch coming soon!

The Citizen at Alys Beach – 30A Beach Bites

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Posted by 30A on Friday, 19 November 2021

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2. Pazzo Italiano

What do you get when you take an Italian native and local, award-winning pizza chef alongside an entrepreneur from small-town Romania who’s worked in the restaurant world since age 14 and dreamt of opening his very own ever since? For Alfonso di Bonito and Levente Tischler, it’s a dream made true in the form of their local eatery, Pazzo Italiano.

Their wood-fired oven is imported all the way from Naples to bring authentic flavors to teleport you to Italy and back.

Last summer, they opened their doors in Santa Rosa Beach, a sister restaurant to their Destin location, that boasts the same family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Crafted from family recipes, their dishes include a combination of favorite Italian staples as well as sophisticated flavors complete with their very own spin.

3. Scratch Biscuit Kitchen

“Baked with care, served up square.” For Southerners, fluffy, flaky, and buttery biscuits are practically a love language. Add Scratch’s house-made jams, jellies and gravies, and you may just discover a love to last you a lifetime. For 30A’s new kid on the block, they’re bringing their delectable, made-from-scratch biscuits and a casual, family-friendly environment that’s sure to feel like a home away from home. Check out their new spot in Watercolor’s Town Center for a playful breakfast and lunch that’s sure to delight and surprise. Be sure and ask about their Mug Club to take advantage of their signature blend coffee and a screaming good deal.

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4. Distillery 98

Named for and located just off the historic highway that runs parallel to 30A, Distillery 98 is the perfect blend of industrial and rustic, hard work and easy living. Stroll through their distinctive shipping container entrance, past the windows that overlook their expansive production floor, and you’ll find yourself in their tasting room that will make you feel right at home. With beautiful sinker cypress accents, a glass garage door that opens up to an intimate patio, and rotating food trucks from around the area, it’s the perfect spot to kick back with loved ones and toast freely the “Spirit of the Panhandle,” handmade from 100% Florida-grown, non-GMO, organic corn. Follow them on social for news about their seasonal grain-to-glass releases, upcoming events, and more.

5. Grayton Seafood

Located in the heart of Grayton Beach, comes a place that welcomes its patrons with open arms and treats them like family. After all, it takes one to know one for this close-knit crew.

While they’re far from new to the area, their new and improved outdoor-only space has completely transformed this quaint, tucked-away place with its open-air tent, glistening string lights, and nightly live music.

Every dish is made from scratch at this neighborhood gathering spot where you’re encouraged to come just as you are. Try fan-favorites like their crab cakes and Kenny’s famous gumbo as you sit back and take in their all-around good (and Grayt) vibes with a cold one or a shared bottle from their fabulous wine list.

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6. Black Bear Bar Room

This natural wine bar is located in the Shops of Grayton and aims to please the minute you step into its chic and humble abode.

Showcasing organic and exotic wines, farm-raised oysters shucked right on the spot, and wine-driven snacks and shareables, everything they do exceeds expectations and bursts with flavor.

And we’re not just talking about their grass-fed burgers and Prime Rib Fridays. Join them for regular live music events like their Sip ‘N Song, featuring local musical stylings from Dion Jones, Boukou Groove, and more.

7. Farm & Fire

At the foot of the Choctawhatchee Bay sits this Southern-inspired pizzeria. And at the heart of what they do is their 800-degree, clean-burning, anthracite coal ovens. With the help of local farmers, fishermen, and artisans, they keep their menu true to name and offer seasonally inspired selections year-round alongside their delicious coal-fired pizzas. Stop into their Speakeasy for uniquely crafted cocktails or walk downstairs to check out the newly modified North Beach Social for an open-air bar and dining experience overlooking the Bay.

8. Idyll Hounds

Another oldie but goodie, Idyll Hounds Brewing Company feels fresh and new with its recently transformed taproom and outdoor patio. With offerings like their made-to-order, Chicago-style hot dogs, fresh fruit frozë, and always-changing taps featuring old and new craft beer favorites, rest be assured you’re in good company with “The Hounds.” Looking for something light and refreshing? Check out their brand-new line of seltzers.

9. Louis Louis

For decades, they’ve called themselves a “kitschy American café” with their art-filled walls, old-school chandeliers, and open-air patio where live music, just like its sister restaurant Red Bar, reigns supreme. But you haven’t seen it like this.

What was already an eclectic atmosphere has been taken to a whole new level with their latest renovation, featuring Amish barn wood floors, new neons, and quirky velvet and vinyl wallpaper, as well as a collage of authentic posters that pays homage to all things European and American pop culture.

The expanded kitchen is complete with a whole new line and extra oven to pave the way for a revamped menu that now includes dishes like Red Bar’s famous manicotti. As for the biggest change of all, you may just have to see it to believe it. The men’s room is now tagged with funky graffiti and even features a golden toilet.

10. North Beach Social

Located just below Farm & Fire is Chef Jim Shirley’s newest bayside spot to eat, drink, and be merry. (And be social.) North Beach Social not only boasts some of the best sunsets with its open-air beach bar overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay, but its menu showcases some of their most popular dishes from all five of their restaurants. Among local favorites are Great Southern’s famous Grits a Ya Ya, the Bay’s Bomber Burger, 45 Central’s poké bowls, along with fresh raw oysters and specials of their own. Outside seating is aplenty at the bar and deck with a large white sand beach where kids (and adults) can play. With daily drink specials, nightly bonfires, live music, and Beach Bocce Wednesdays, what more could you need? Open seven days a week from 11 AM and 9 PM.

11. LaCo

In other revamp news, meet LaCo. Or should we say re-meet? After rebranding and undergoing extensive renovations at its Seacrest location, the Latin-inspired coastal kitchen formerly known as La Cocina, is officially back open for lunch, dinner, and, best of all, brunch––all served daily beginning at 10 AM. Along with its freshly upgraded space that features a new bar area, furniture, flooring and more, its new and improved brunch menu promises “a different type of brunch experience” and includes dishes such as Lobster Avocado Toast, Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash, Pan de Platano featuring brioche banana bread, espresso cream and mixed berry crumble, as well as Chilaquiles Rojo, a traditional Mexican breakfast dish.

12. COMING SOON: The Grove 30A

Outdoor dining on 30A never looked this good. The soon-to-open Grove 30A will be a “brunch by day, bites by night” restaurant. In addition to their daily brunch featuring classic breakfast options (and bottomless mimosas every Sunday), their main focus will be on farm-fresh, healthy daytime fare. Four nights a week beginning at 5 PM, they will be serving up creative small plates along with a curated selection of beer, wine, and delicious craft cocktails. Not to mention, live music, of course! Enjoy it all from their beautifully intimate indoor bar or alfresco dining space amid shaded cabanas, a covered terrace, and picnic tables on the green. Coming late Spring to Blue Mountain beach!


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Kristy Gustafson is a writer, born-again beach girl, and author in the works. You can catch her on her YOLO paddleboard, the tennis courts, toes in the sand, or up and down the beach in search of the area’s best Bloody Mary. Follow along her adventures on Instagram @kristyerin10.