What’s in a Name? The Story Behind Shunk Gulley - 30A


What’s in a Name? The Story Behind Shunk Gulley

By: Jessica Roberts | Posted Jun 5, 2022

By now, you’ve no doubt heard of – and hopefully been to – Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar, the famously hopping hangout that has forever changed the west end of Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A. The seafood and casual fare restaurant has a packed menu, open-air decks with panoramic views, live music, a great selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Yet many still ask, what exactly is a “Shunk Gulley?”

“It’s the question we get asked more than anything else… what does the name mean?,” said Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar Owner Thomas Gallion.

“The Shunk family was one of the original families in this area,” explained Gallion. “The story of Shunk Gulley comes from long-time local fishermen who used to launch their boats out of what is now the Ed Walline Beach Access, right here at the end of Walton County Road 393.”

Before navigation equipment, fishermen would have to note their own landmarks in order to return to their favorite fishing spots. The land where County Road 393 runs straight into the beach is elevated and could easily be spotted from the Gulf, which is how the fishermen identified it.

Celebrating Oysters at Shunk Gulley!

Who’s ready to throw back some oysters at Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar?????? Happy #NationalOysterDay ~ https://30a.com/shunk-gulley-name-story/

Posted by 30A on Thursday, 5 August 2021

The Shunks would boat directly out until they would get on top of the “Shunk Gulley.” That name has been passed down over the generations.

“Many divers have noted that it is a very unique diving spot with a gulley that runs north to south and is legendary for being covered up with fish,” said Gallion. “When I was designing and constructing the building for the restaurant, the tower seemed to be the perfect spot to look out over the Shunk Gulley.”

Incorporating this local history into the Shunk Gulley story connects new with old, business with community, and highlights the restaurant’s mission to give back.

Early on, Shunk Gulley partnered with the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) to help provide artificial reefs for fishing and diving. New artificial reef structures have been deployed in the Gulf which bear the Shunk Gulley name. They have also partnered with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance to recycle oyster shells to help rebuild local reefs.

So from now on when you hear “Shunk Gulley,” you’ll know a little more about this local place with a funny name. A place for delicious food and great service, and of course, a great view of the famous gulley.

Beach Happy ????️ ???? Visits Gulf Place

How many of you have been to Gulf Place? ????‍♀️

Presented by: Grady-White Boats
MarineMax Panama City Beach | MarineMax Fort Walton Beach | MarineMax Pensacola

Posted by 30A on Saturday, 30 January 2021

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Jessica Roberts is a Santa Rosa Beach writer and event producer. When not working or writing, you’ll find her out on the water or traveling somewhere new.