Chef/owner Jim Shirley, who cooks in his granny's cast-iron skillets, is founder and president of the Society of Great Southern Chefs, a position he takes very seriously when it comes to his charming, cracker-style Seaside hot spot. Not entirely old school, Shirley's menu features a fabulous fusion of new and traditional as seen in the house specialty, grits a-ya-ya: Smoked Gouda cheese grits in a fresh cream sauce, joined by sautéed Gulf shrimp, spinach, portobello mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, and shallots. Crab cakes and fried green tomatoes with roasted red pepper remoulade is one of my faves, and the pickled shrimp pâté is fancy South on a plate. Those not paying attention to their cholesterol levels may want to check out the bacon-wrapped filet mignon. On the sort of lighter side are sandwiches—the Pensacola pulled pork is a good one. Oysters are always fresh here, too. Oddly enough, the bar here prides itself on mojitos, further proof that this is not your typical Southern restaurant. Breakfast is highly recommended. On a nice day or when there is an event at the Amphitheater, try to score some seats on the outdoor patio.
Destin and Fort Walton Beach
Destin and Fort Walton Beach› Restaurant
Great Southern Cafe
83 Central Sq.
Our Rating Neighborhood Seaside Hours Daily 8am–9:30pm Phone 850/231-7327 Prices Main courses $9–$28 Cuisine Type SOUTHERN Web site Great Southern Cafe
Map83 Central Sq. Destin and Fort Walton Beach
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