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.

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Fall Foods: Dip Into Seaside’s Best Game Day Eats

As the Summer heat begins to relinquish its grasp on Seaside, Fall begins to creep in. When everyone switches from swim trunks to cardigans and the colors start to change, beachgoers swap beach balls for footballs and our town comes alive.

Autumn is full of fun events, fantastic foods, and a full calendar of football games. Watching your favorite team isn’t complete without a game-day snack. Luckily, vacationing in Seaside means you never have to choose between a good time and great food. Read on to discover some of the best Autumn eats, whether you’re tailgating or heading to the beach.

Modica Market

The classic market offers fantastic wings, which are the perfect pre-game meal. These wings are ideal for the armchair quarterbacks and are available for the whole fan club. Modica Market also offers a variety of snacks to round out your tailgate – after all, what tailgate is complete without chips and dip? Modica Market sells Buffalo Chicken dip, Southern-Fried Pickle dip, and Street Corn dip, just to name a few.

Shrimp Shack

Shrimp Shack is carrying on the Southern tradition of gumbo on game day and the Seafood Gumbo is famous around town for a reason. This gumbo is made up of a classic roux base and includes shrimp and andouille sausage, which is then topped with rice. The warm gumbo comes in two sizes: a cup or bowl. The smaller size is the perfect snack for a chilly tailgate.

Barefoot BBQ

This barbecue spot has your tailgate covered with their take on the shareable snack, nachos. The BBQ nachos include your choice of pork, chicken, or beef brisket, and the tortilla chips are then smothered with beans, cheese, onions, jalapenos, and sour cream. Be on the lookout for these nachos come kickoff.

Daytrader Tiki Bar

With many fantastic menu items like their Tuna Crispy Rice, Maui Fries, and Maui Burger, Seaside’s newest tiki restaurant and bar has your game day party needs covered with a tropical twist. Daytrader’s boiled peanuts were recently featured in The New York Times and make a lovely game day snack. Daytrader also offers happy hour wings that are easy to pick up on your way to watch the big game.

Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs

Swap football vibes for baseball vibes with specialty hot dogs, including the “Chi-Town” made with Chicago relish, celery salt, pickle, poppyseed, tomato, and white onions, or “The Carolina,” made with mustard, chili, and homemade slaw. You’ll be transported to your favorite field instantaneously. Of course, they also offer the classic hot dog and their famous soft pretzels if you prefer that local park feel.

Pickle’s Sandbar

Pickle’s Sandbar is the place to be during football season! Spend your gameday here while watching the Sunday Ticket and playing a game of cornhole in the sand. You’ll be bringing your tailgate to the beach! They now offer delicious wings, which are the perfect gameday meal as well as refreshing drink specials.

Founders Bill and Heavenly Dawson Bid Farewell to Their Five Seaside Eateries

Bill and Heavenly Dawson sell the five Seaside eateries they founded

After 32 years in business, longtime Seaside residents Bill and Heavenly Dawson sell the five Seaside eateries they founded — Pickle’s Burgers & Shakes, The Shrimp Shack, It’s Heavenly, Dawson’s Yogurt & Fudgeworks and Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs.

The new owners are Ashley and Clark Beecher, managing partners and homeowners in Seaside, along with operating partners Courtney and Baron Fields. The Beechers and Fields will continue growing the business operations in Seaside.

Ashley and Clark, who have two homes in Seaside and live in Houston, Texas, moved their family to Seaside during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March. They expected to stay for only a few days, but ended up staying for months. The family, including four children ranging in age from 22 months to 11 years, lived in their Venice Circle cottage, while turning their home on Savannah Street into a school house, even naming it Beechers Beach Baptist school, and having a schedule to help keep the kids on track. “The kids did extremely well here,” Ashley says. “During recess everyday they’d ride bikes to WaterColor.”

The Beechers also wanted to support local businesses, as the pandemic left many small businesses at risk of closing permanently. “I’d order from Duckie’s,” Ashley recalls, “and they’d leave my purchases outside so I could pick it up.”

When the opportunity to buy the Dawson places came along, the Beechers knew that it was important to Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis that nothing in this town is corporate run, and that the owners needed to have roots in Seaside. “We are a family that checks the box,” Ashley adds. The Dawsons say that initially The Dawson Group Stores were not on the market, but after meeting the Beechers and the Fields they knew this was a special opportunity and the right team to take the five stores in a positive direction.

Visiting Seaside regularly for the last six years, Ashley says she has become a sort of ambassador for the town. “A lot of people who come here are making memories that will last a lifetime,” she adds. “It’s a privilege to be a part of that and I take it seriously.” Together with their children, Ashley and Clark are excited to continue the legacy of a family-owned business in the heart of Seaside.

The Beechers partner with Clark’s step sister Courtney and her husband Baron, who are the boots-on-the-ground business partners. As hands-on operators, Courtney and Baron bring more than a decade of hospitality industry experience. Their backgrounds include an array of restaurant concepts, including burgers, refined seafood, Cajun seafood, full-service BBQ, and Tex-Mex. Baron has been the general manager for Pappas Restaurants Inc. in Houston, Texas and Courtney has been in management roles as well as Human Resources for the same company. Courtney and Baron are passionate about Southern hospitality, excellent food, consistency and providing an elevated service. The Fields will also serve on the Merchant Advisory Council. “For us to move here we knew it would have to be an amazing opportunity,” Courtney says. “And that’s what it came out to be.”

As a nod to the Dawsons, the eateries will keep their respective names, while menu overhauls at each location will add value and variety. New menu items at the Shrimp Shack include shrimp-salad-stuffed avocado and additional sandwiches options. Pickle’s gets a new salad mix. Taking the humble hot dog up a notch, Wild Bill’s adds gourmet dogs. “The menu will add an option for kids,” Baron says. “Plus, a more adventurous menu, andouille sausage with a Hawaiian bun, for example.” Daily specials, available Monday through Friday, are posted every Monday on each restaurant’s Facebook page.

The essence of the five restaurants will remain true to Seaside’s values of quality and excellent customer service. “Bill and Heavenly Dawson did a great job for 32 years, making it a big success” Ashley says. “They set it up for us to take it to the next level, so it’s a win-win for everyone.”

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