What can we say about 30A in the Panhandle of Florida? Except – the best place EVER. We love it there and discovered it in July 2020. Probably late to the party, but hey, we’re Chicagoans by birth and Denverites by choice and 30A has been historically visited by southerners. We’ve gone back 3 times since and plan to go more. What’s 30A you ask? It’s a beautiful stretch of highway along the Gulf Coast of Florida, filled with picturesque towns and absolutely gorgeous, white sand beaches.
One of my favorite things to do in life is eat – especially when I’m on vacation and I’ve got a lovely glass of rose. There’s no better place to drink rose than on 30A (it rhymes!) and along with that, eat amazing food. We’ve discovered some favorites along our travels there, with everything from breakfast to brunch to amazing dinners! So here they are!
The Food Trucks of Seaside – “Airstream Row” in Seaside, has a variety of cuisines. All served out of cute little Airstream trailers. A sampling of the options….Bill’s Beach Bogs, Meltdown, Barefoot BBQ and Frostbites. Bills serves, obviously, hotdogs of all kinds…..Meltdown – Grilled cheeses of all kinds, and Barefoot BBQ is simply divine. Wash all that down with some Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Frostbites! Airstream row is lined up right in the town center of Seaside, along 30A. In front of all trucks are plenty of tables, underneath a canopy of cooling trees. This is no random food truck row on a city street. It’s a community of friendly people, serving great food (and even wine and beer!) and making sure you are a happy customer! We love strolling along here, even when we aren’t hungry. A couple of times, we’ve stopped for some food and enjoyed a Bloody Mary while people watching.
Great Southern Cafe – OMG ya’ll. OMG. So good. So good. If you like Southern food, here’s the place. My favorite time to go is breakfast, which is only served until 10am. Lunch starts at 11am. For breakfast, the very front of the menu says you should start the day with Beignets and either Bloody Marys or Mimosas. Yes. Obviously. Then you can move on to Crab Cake Benedict, Biscuits, Lobster Benedict, Chicken and Waffles, Grits. The list is endless. For lunch and dinner my favorites are Blue Crab Claws and Gumbo. Everything is served in a charming atmosphere with a lot of great outdoor tables right on Seaside town square. The servers were so polite they were even able to put up with my daughter’s crazy of tomatoes (gasp) on a barbacoa taco.
The Big Chill – we love this place, an outdoor food hall with various restaurants, shops, ice cream, and activities. Everything is open air and busy and full of life. The Big Chill has lots of outdoor tables and lounges, a huge screen for football games and various other showings (we’ve seen football, 80s Movie Night and Music Videos), corn hole games and fire pits. It is a blast. There’s even an occasional popup shop and farmers market. We love going on Saturday nights and watching whatever is on the big screen and just people watching. Our son never seems to tire of the smoked brisket at Local Smoke and I am obsessed with the Crab Roll Sandwiches at Hooked. Last time we were there, we weren’t paying attention too closely and the kids managed to go to Sugar Wave and buy an insane amount of candy while we relaxed and people watched!
Fish Out of Water – Wow. What a fun, beachy atmosphere. Located in Watercolor Inn, FOOW has a fantastic dining room and outdoor dining area, looking right over the beach. FOOW serves both lunch and dinner and we enjoyed a casual, relaxing lunch here. The grouper tacos are definitely worth a try and don’t forget the bottomless Mimosas. We sat right along the edge of the outdoor seating area and enjoyed watching all the activity at the pool and beach right in front of the Watercolor Beach Club.
Bud and Alleys – Bud and Alleys was one of the first restaurants in Seaside, making it over 25 years old and one of the staples of the community. The restaurant has a fun backgroud story, intertwining it with the history of the Seaside and when 30A all began. The restaurant has expanded from Bud and Alleys to adding an amazing rooftop desk, a pizza bar and a taco bar. It really is an institution. We enjoyed lunch on the rooftop deck, watching the waves and taking in the amazing white sand beach right in front. A crabcake and a cup of gumbo was a perfect lunch.
Brunos Pizza – Brunos holds a speacial place in our hearts because it’s in our favorite community in the area, Watersound. We’ve stayed in the amazing Watersound Inn every time we’ve gone to the area. We absolutely love this community for it’s friendly people and picturesque little streets. And part of its charm is the Watersound Beach Club and Brunos Pizza. Brunos is located by the Watersound Inn and is just a simple little, order yourself pizza joint. The food is amazing, the outdoor deck is charming and casual and the servers are wonderful. Bonus – they have live music most weekends during busy season. And those musicians engage with the audience and play great music. Our kids love it.