Bud & Alley's Waterfront Restaurant & Bar Celebrates 35 Years in Seaside

Seaside’s Best Breakfast Foods, From Great Southern to Black Bear

Now that the winter blues are in the rear-view mirror, the biggest question of your sunny spring morning should be sunny side up or over easy? A wave of tasty choices awaits you at these Seaside eateries, where tank tops and flip-flops fit right in.

Bud & Alley’s Breakfast items include smoked salmon with a bagel, cream cheese, capers, and fresh chives, or the crab cake benedict with its tender, flaky and succulent jumbo lump crab.

Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant

Everyone knows that Bud & Alley’s is the most Instagram-worthy place to view the sun dip below the horizon every evening with a cold beverage in hand. But most are not aware that it’s also the place to be after sunrise to dine al fresco with Gulf-front views.

Diners will find the freshest daily baked breads on the menu, thanks to Black Bear Bread Co. Try my top two favorites — smoked salmon with a bagel, cream cheese, capers, and fresh chives, or the crab cake benedict with its tender, flaky and succulent jumbo lump crab.

Additional breakfast items include seasonal fresh fruits, cereals, and locally sourced farm fresh egg dishes. And, if you’re seeking a libation, try the refreshing frozen peach bellini or the award-winning bloody mary.

Breakfast from Black Bear Bread Co. at Seaside

Black Bear Bread Co.

With a name inspired by the local black bears pillaging the dumpster to eat the bread starter at the flagship Grayton Beach location, Chef Phil McDonald thought it was a fitting way to pay homage to the furry neighbors who appreciated the sourdough. “Freshly-baked naturally leavened bread, dynamically seasonal produce, and sensible sourcing are the inspiration for our menu,” says McDonald.

Wildly successful, McDonald and partner Dave Rauschkolb, founder and owner of the iconic Bud & Alley’s family of restaurants, now have a third location of Black Bear Bread Co. in Seaside adjacent to The Court and Town Center.

Plan on ordering the most incredible Paris ham croissant, or the tastiest tartine topped with bananas and whipped ricotta. Late risers will want to dive into the kale sandwich with avocado, feta and tahini on the coveted sourdough before heading out for a day at the beach.

Savor Seaside: Sampling the Iconic Culinary Delights, from Fried Pickles to Grits A Ya Ya

Great Southern Café

The creation of award-winning chef Jim Shirley, Great Southern Café is well known for its Southern cuisine. Offering homemade breakfast dishes and sides, like my favorite biscuit with sausage gravy, the dishes spotlight our local farmers and fisherman with a fresh take on their most popular dishes.

Try the famed Grits A Ya Ya (shrimp nestled on a bed of gouda grits), or The Fisherman (a grilled catch of the day topped with eggs, and choice of hollandaise, salsa or olive tapenade). For something lighter, don’t miss the avocado toast topped with West Indies marinated jumbo lump crab, or the locally made kombucha-mosa to kick off the day. 

Breakfast at Pickle’s Burger & Shake

Pickle’s Burger & Shake

Pickle’s first opened in 1993 in just 48 square feet of space and has grown through the years in size and in popularity with locals and visitors alike. This fast-casual grill is located right on Seaside’s Central Square, which is the perfect spot for people watching while dining.

Pickle’s might be known for their fried pickles, hand-cut fries, and the best grass fed-burger in town, but they also have one of the finest breakfast menus in South Walton. Pickle’s serves up everything from French toast and breakfast tacos, to omelets and breakfast sandwiches on buttered Texas toast.

Whether you’ve overindulged the night before or not, plan to order the hangover omelet loaded with tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, jalapenos, bacon, sausage and cheese. Or stick to the Southern tradition like me, with classic scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes and crispy bacon. There’s even a breakfast beverage called the Pickle Shot to wash it down with.

Wild Bill's Beach Dog Kolaches

Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs

If you are lucky enough to have had a kolache, you know it’s a Texas staple, but if you haven’t had one, you’re probably still trying to figure out how to pronounce the word. It’s “ko-lah-chee.” Kolaches are Czech pastries made of sweet yeast dough and filled with cheese and sausage.

The owners of Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs knew they wanted to bring a taste of their Texas roots to Seaside and right away started serving the delicious kolaches at their food truck on Airstream Row for breakfast. Plan to order a dozen to nosh on at your rental home or to take to the beach or pool. 

Susan Benton is the go-to resource for foodies visiting the Emerald Coast, a longtime freelance food and travel writer, and the owner of the original 30A blog. Follow @30aeats on Instagram.

Delicious Shrimp Soup from The Shrimp Shack, Seaside, Florida

The Coziest Winter Meals in Seaside, from Modica Market to The Shrimp Shack

The Seaside Times is dishing up and dishing on some of our favorite meals that will make you feel like it’s snowing – even if you’re really surrounded by sand. Read on to discover a few of our go-tos, including sweet treats to celebrate the holidays and savory delights that are perfect to snuggle up with on the beach. 

Modica Market

modica market croissant

Modica Market is known for its unforgettable pastries – and one of the best is the chocolate croissant. Enjoy a quick and tasty breakfast by grabbing a croissant and pairing it with an enormous fresh squeezed orange juice, or perhaps a mimosa. After all, it is the holiday season, so ‘tis the time to indulge. 

The Shrimp Shack

Delicious Shrimp Soup from The Shrimp Shack, Seaside, Florida

The Shrimp Shack’s Cajun gumbo won Chef’s Choice at the Seaside School Foundation’s Taste of the Race in February 2023.

This hearty gumbo is a go-to, especially when the temperatures drop. Enjoy a cup or heaping bowl of the classic roux base made with Andouille sausage and fresh Gulf Coast shrimp, topped with rice to make it even more filling. It’s like the taste of New Orleans by the beach. 

Crêpes du Soleil Airstream

crepes

What could be better than a hearty, savory crepe? Pretend you’re Parisian with a cheese crepe – and if you really want to get ready for full-on hibernation, finish off your meal with a chocolate crepe or truly indulge with a bit of Nutella. There’s a reason this is a longtime favorite in Seaside; the crepes are truly unbeatable, and one of the best ways to warm up during winter. Simply take your crepe to the beach and bundle up for an unforgettable day. 

Black Bear Bread Co.

hot coffee

One of Seaside’s new additions is also one of its tastiest. Stop by Black Bear with the whole family for an unforgettable breakfast – or pop in for one of the memorable coffee drinks. One wintry treat is the Beekeeper, made with honey, almond milk and sea salt for a savory sweet treat. 

Pickle’s Burger & Shake

fried pickles

Sharing is caring, and where better than Pickle’s, a longtime favorite for families vacationing in town? While the famous fried pickles aren’t exactly seasonal, they just taste better shared with family (as long as you get your fair share of a serving, of course). Grab the pimento cheese dip as well to make sure there’s more than enough for everybody. 

Black Bear Bread Co -Kale-Tuna-Tartine-Fall

Black Bear Bread Co. Hits Seaside’s Sweet Spot

Restaurateur Dave Rauschkolb is well known for his successful family of restaurants under the Bud & Alley’s brand in Seaside — Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, Pizza Bar + Trattoria and Taco Bar. As the founder of Table Five, a private chef and catering company, Phil McDonald has led elite kitchens from Florida to New York City. A love of surfing brought these two together. And a love of food prompted them to create an innovative new brand in Black Bear Bread Co., aptly named for the local black bears often found noshing on test kitchen bread at the construction site of the flagship location in Grayton Beach prior to opening in 2017.

With a second bustling location in Miramar Beach at Grand Boulevard, it seems only fitting that Black Bear Bread Co. came home to roost in Seaside where the idea first sparked, as Phil had been baking bread in the oven at Pizza Bar and started having long conversations with Dave about the lack of good bread in our area.

This food writer developed a gluten allergy (not celiac) in 2018, was on the elimination diet, and after about a year, was convinced by Phil that I could eat his naturally-leavened sourdough made with his 70-year-old starter. I caved, enjoyed every bite (without illness), and have never looked back, stopping each week to purchase the sought-after sourdough bread. One thing is certain, there is no lack of great bread here now.

Located on the east end of Seaside at The Court, Black Bear Bread Co. is the town’s neighborhood bakery, serving up freshly baked breads, specialty bagels, pastries (gluten-free included), Stumptown coffee, tea and a bevy of menu items for breakfast and lunch.

I was there for lunch, and upon stepping onto the porch of the quaint white building shaded by native scrub oak trees, could smell the fragrant orange blossoms in the nearby lushly landscaped garden of the outdoor dining space.

Entering the café, my eyes went straight to the glass case showcasing the incredible cakes by pastry chef Kara Enache, a long-time local who is now a leader at Black Bear, overseeing the bakers who arrive in the wee hours of the morning. The cakes are currently only offered at the Seaside location. Stacks of cookies, and bear claws the size of my hand had me rethinking my lunch order, but I stuck to my guns as I was on a mission to try a couple of the new creations that Phil had been testing.

First up was the olive oil poached local-caught tuna crafted into a salad on a sandwich with capers, radish and lemon on multigrain sourdough. Poaching made the fish moist and flavorful and each bite was perfectly balanced with just the right amount of brightness and acidity.

Ginger Sayor, a vegetarian visiting from Colorado, came along for the lunch date. She decided on the kale sandwich, which I was also eager to taste. Layers of avocado, feta, tahini, za’atar butter and fresh kale made up this most unexpectedly delicious sandwich on multigrain sourdough. Ginger said, “Every day brings a fresh change to the menu with so much to anticipate!”

The avocado tartine dotted with peppers and topped with poached egg on sourdough is another one the most popular selections at the café. It’s always satisfying and soul nourishing.

Chef Phil, master of pairing creative seasonal ingredients, was on site and sat with us at the comfortable banquette where the natural sunlight warmed the space. When asked what his favorite lunch menu items are, he said, “Definitely the grass-fed burger with caramelized onions and gruyere, and the bagel and lox board.”

Plan to dine in or linger on the patio at Black Bear Bread Co. with a glass of chilled chablis or a hot latte. You can also enjoy your lunch on the go. Just don’t forget to take a loaf of sourdough home with you.

Susan Benton is a longtime freelance food and travel writer, and the owner of the original 30A blog, 30AEATS.com, where she shares her passion and her commitment to sharing her healthy recipes and promoting local businesses and restaurants along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Chicken Shack in Seaside

Where to Eat in Seaside: The Chicken Shack and Black Bear Bread Co. Open

Seaside’s restaurants, Airstreams and cafes might best be summed up in two words — diverse and local. With nary a chain restaurant on site, our food joints are unique, and most specialize in one great thing — pizza, barbecue, seafood, gelato, fudge, coffee and Cuban dishes, for example. Many of them support local farmers and fishermen, showcasing Gulf fish and shrimp, as well as meat, produce and dairy from nearby farms.

The Chicken Shack

The Chicken Shack is newly opened between Sundog Books and The Great Southern Café, serving Southern fried chicken.

Chef Jim Shirley has been intrigued by the idea of a chicken shack for quite a while, says Madison Shirley of Jim Shirley Enterprises. When the opportunity arose to work with the Seaside team to bring his vision to fruition, he couldn’t pass it up.

“After all, there are few things more Southern than fried chicken,” Madison says. “Every mama has their ‘family’ recipe, and it’s a staple at dinner tables. Jim loves the opportunity to showcase Southern food culture in Seaside, particularly as the geographic diversity of guests continues to grow every year and some might not be as familiar with ‘true’ Southern food.”

The Chicken Shack’s structure is perfect for families and groups wanting to share a delicious but casual meal together. Customers can order at the walk-up window, and have the choice of sitting in the large, open seating area or taking their food to-go as they explore. With everything from family sized “buckets” of chicken to tenders to tikka masala, The Chicken Shack has a little something for everyone.

On the Menu

“Every Mama’s Chicken”

The star attraction is Chef Jim Shirley’s family-sized sweet tea marinated “buckets” of fried chicken, chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders. Along with this all-star lineup is an eclectic blend of other global chicken dishes, such as Korean fried chicken thighs, Vietnamese wings, chicken tikka masala, and more.

Fan Favorite

The “Bucket” O’ Chicken, for sure! Perfect for sharing with the family, and easily portable so guests can enjoy it wherever they would like.

Container Bar

Container Bar, also known as C-Bar, is also located between Sundog Books and The Great Southern Café and shares a communal seating area with The Chicken Shack.

“We’re beginning to see the next generation of guests and their families arriving in Seaside and dining at our restaurants,” Madison Shirley says. “They’re looking for the classic Seaside experience but also get excited about the evolution of the town. Guests will be able to grab one of 30 seats at this custom, upcycled shipping container and unpack their day, or walk up to the to-go window, grab a drink, then sit with their family and friends in the large communal dining area or stroll through town. We see the C-Bar as a fun, low-pressure bar that provides guests the opportunity to choose how they want to experience us.”

On the Menu

C-Bar’s lineup includes local craft beer, liquor and cocktails, which can be enjoyed at the bar or to-go from the walkup window. The Container Bar shares a kitchen and menu with The Great Southern Café, so guests will be able to get all their favorite Great Southern items including Chef Jim Shirley’s famous Grits à Ya Ya.

Fan Favorite

The local craft beer lineup is thoughtfully put together, and highlights some of the exceptional breweries in our area. You also can’t miss out on the awesome cocktails. A mix of Great Southern classics (like the mojitos) and C-Bar specials.

Black Bear Bread Co.
Located at The Court, Black Bear Bread Co. is Seaside’s new neighborhood bakery, serving up freshly-baked bread, pastries, coffees and teas along with a full breakfast and lunch menu. Business partners Chef Phil McDonald and Dave Rauschkolb collaborated with Stumptown Coffee Roasters. The café serves easy, on-the-go options and allows guests to linger and dine in. Seasonal produce and sensible sourcing inspire the evolving menu.

On the Menu

Baked goods include naturally-leavened bread, pastries, cakes and cookies, as well as bagels. Black Bear is the only establishment in Seaside that serves bagels, from Asiago to Everything, and there’s something for everyone’s taste. The full menu includes breakfast sandwiches, tartines, lunch specials and sandwiches, along with beer and wine.

Fan Favorite

The Bánh Mì featuring braised pork shoulder, pickled carrot, daikon, cilantro, and Sambal aioli on a baguette and the kale sandwich with avocado, feta, tahini, and Za’atar butter on multigrain sourdough have quickly become customer favorites.

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