Marina Cantina Coming soon to Grand Lagoon!

 

New Restaurant at Capt. Anderson's Marina in PCB
Marina Cantina Opening April 30th!!!

There is a new, hot Mexican restaurant coming to Panama City Beach in just a few days!  I am as excited as an avocado….do they get excited?

Anyhow, having a mother that makes excellent home made salsa and with myself, having the inclination to put jalapenos on anything that doesn’t move…..I could not help but jump up and down when I found out that Jeff Freidrich, a seasoned Restaurateur was opening a nice Mexican Restaurant on Grand Lagoon at Capt. Andersons Marina.

Knowing that Friedrich had ran a chain of successful, Gourmet pizza restaurants in Seattle , I posed the question, “Why Mexican?”  He said that he saw the space and just knew he could do something great with it.  He asked himself, “What do we like to eat?”.  “What do we have a taste for that is not readily available in PCB?”  “How could we bring it here?”  These are the questions that lead him to the answer…….Marina Cantina, Modern Mexican Cuisine and Tequila Bar.

In the past, Friedrich mentioned he and his family had to drive into Panama City or down Highway 30A for gourmet mexican fare.  He wanted to be able to bring a nice, modern restaurant for our local PCB beachgoers with a discerning taste, and yet still make it casual enough that you could enjoy one of their signature margaritas in their flip flops.

The restaurant will not only have a full bar inside, with the largest tequila selection on the beach, but Marina Cantina will also boast a full bar outside, for patrons to enjoy nightly live entertainment on the dockside patio overlooking Grand Lagoon.

From what I have learned about this upcoming, modern mecca for authentic, Mexican cookery and a good time, is that there will always be SOMETHING going on.  In addition to providing a variety of live entertainment options for their customers, Marina Cantina will feature daily happy hour drink and appetizer specials.  Their menu, which is said to have been inspired by South American street vendors will include fare made from scratch  using fresh ingredients.   Vegetarian and kid friendly options will also be available.  You can get a taste of what they have to offer, starting April 30th, Monday through Saturday, from 11 am to 11 pm.  They will also serve brunch on Sundays, starting at 10 am.  I know where I am going to eat after church now!!

As I sat down with Jeff and listened to him talk about his new place, I could feel goose bumps inching there way up to my skins’ surface.  Here was a man that was passionate about his business, who believed in it, with every inch of his being.  Tableside gaucamole delicious.  Live entertainment every night….too cool.  But a person that is completely and wholly invested in their business with the desire to serve their community…well, that is amazing.  If the enchiladas are half as intense as Friedrich’s enthusiasm, the tables at Marina Cantina will surely be full.

I will you let know about those enchiladas after I try them and touch back in next week.  Until then, why not open up your Facebook and LIKE them or give them a call: 850 – 249- 5500.  If you are as excited as I am and want to enter your email at a chance to win tickets to the Family and Friends Pre-Grand Opening Party THIS weekend…..go to their website, http://www.marinacantinapcb.com/ to enter!

Wednesday Dinner at J.Michael’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar

This is the second in a series of articles in which we explore 7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About.

For this place, I had to come two different times to get information for my article. I made the trip there mid-week last week during lunch time, but upon walking in, I knew that was a mistake. It was busting at the seams! It didn’t look like there was but one table open. I asked to speak with a manager to see if there was a later time, and was told to come back one of the following days in the mid to late afternoon.

The second time I came in, I was able to speak with J.Michael’s daughter, Rachel, for a little while. She also gave me the number to contact J.Michael so that I could talk to the founder of this incredible joint himself. I gave him a call as I was leaving the restaurant and he told me to come right on back in because he wanted to give me a taste of what it was all about! Of course, I was more than willing and excited for this treat!

With that said, here is what J.Michael’s is all about!

All The Basics

Who to go to?                        J.Michael’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

What they serve?                   Lunch and Dinner

Where to be?                         3210 Thomas Drive, right in front of the light before the Bay bridge

When to go?                          Everyday, 11 AM — 10 PM 

How to reach them?               (850) 233-2055

How much to pay?                 About $10 for lunch, and around $15 for dinner

The Food

Ok, so according to Rachel, the most popular (cough, cough PACKED) times to eat there are either lunch on Wednesdays or Thursdays, or for dinner on weekend nights. I definitely saw how busy it can get when I came the first time. It was insane that I had never peeked my head in the place before with how much traffic it has. Apparently, my parents were ahead of me, seeing as they had already eaten there a couple of times before. I can’t believe they ate at J.M’s without me.

Any how, they offer a great selection of home-cookin’, turf, and plenty of surf. For starters, J. Michael’s is definitely the “oysters-can-be-made-basically-however-you-want-to-eat-them-at-any-quantity” kind of place, and it’s amazing. They have your classic reubens, favorite fish sandwiches, and big half-pounder burgers, while offering a flavorful top sirloin, a variety of shrimp dishes, and hearty seafood gumbo.

The local picks (other than the oysters) tend to be their steak, roast beef supreme, or shrimp J.Michael. Rachel’s, J.Michael’s, and most of the employees’ favorite meal is their red beans and rice, though. This great selection of food is all homemade, of course, right down to the cocktail sauce! And as you may have also assumed, the seafood and breads they serve are all from local suppliers. Awesome, right?

In addition, they claim to offer the coldest draft beer in the area! I wouldn’t know though, because well, I can’t, nor would choose to drink at all. So anyway, you guys will have to find out for me, and comment below to put this mystery to rest!

The People

To start off, this joint has had the same owner for 35 years now: J.Michael Stuart. He’s done a great job of making it incredibly family oriented, kid-friendly, and locally populated, with the help of his daughter. When a restaurant is family owned and operated, you know you’re in for a great time, with some good food, all in a pretty neat environment. Even though all of J.Michael’s employees aren’t family members of his, they all act like they are. You can tell that they have such a fun time at work, always helping each other out, cracking jokes on their fellow “siblings”, and daring to poke fun at “Boss-man” when they get the chance. Laughter lives at J.Michael’s! Together, they’ve all helped to serve 2.3 million people, just last year!

I was quite impressed by how dedicated J.Michael is to his business. He doesn’t just watch it run itself, like some restaurant owners do. Oh, no! The first thing he did when he came in for the day was to go behind the side bar, slip on a glove and start shuckin’ oysters with employee Tyler. I was sitting right in front of Tyler, just chatting, when he entered, so I wasn’t entirely sure that was even the owner until someone called him “Boss-man”. He shucked until he and Tyler were done with all of the many orders of oysters, and I thought that was pretty darn cool.

It shows how confident in his business J.Michael is, as he tells me that they “make it right”. It doesn’t take conviction from him for me to believe it, either. To those of you that have never checked them out before, J.Michael states how they “are like a book you’ve never read with an ugly cover. But don’t be afraid to come in, see what the stories are all about, and give it a try!” It was incredible timing after he said this, seeing as a few seconds following, a customer walks up to him and says, “I want to shake your hand. This is the first time me and my family have eaten here, and we were really impressed at what a nice job you do. Good food, and great service!” That, right there, is what happens when you read the J.Michael’s story.

The Environment

J.Michael’s has had three different locations, each one being more successful than the last. No matter what the location, though, people continually brought in things for him to put up all around the restaurant. The decor is certainly consumer oriented, with dollar bills and surfboards covering the beams on the ceiling and sections of the wall that aren’t already plastered by locals’ photos and seaside motif.

The place most certainly feels out-on-the-bay, with a southern touch. For instance, there are guns hanging everywhere! J.Michael told me that he started out with 2 or 3 guns, but once people saw he had those, many others decided to give him their rifles and such as well. So, he just started hanging them off of the ceiling. I thought it looked pretty neat!

My Take

When J.Michael told me he would “give me a taste”, I had no idea he meant he would give me four different dishes to try! But they were oh-so-wonderful! First I tried the employee favorite: red beans and rice. It was a total southern flavor, with nothing frilly. It was just good, hearty food; just like how it would be made at home. Next was the seafood gumbo. I could taste how very fresh the seafood was, and the blend of flavors overall was super nice.

Next, I tried the famous Shrimp J.Michael, which had such a strong homemade essence, exploded with freshness, and had a wonderful slight spiciness attributed to just the right amount of curry. For all 3 of these dishes, I found myself using all of my bread to sop up all of the leftover sauces and juices!

Last but certainly not least, J.Michael ordered me up a fried shrimp basket. Those, i dare say, were THE BEST fried shrimp I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot of fried shrimp. They were so big and plump, had the perfect seasoning, a nice light breading, and were full of impeccable flavor so much that there was no dipping sauce required! Sooooo good!

I know it’s not just talk when J.Michael told me, “Our #1 goal is the customer, and that has to come out to produce joy, quantity, quality, and price.” As far as I’m concerned, they get a check, check, check, and check!!!

Quick Pics
Links to the Other Articles

Introductory Article: 7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About

Tuesday Breakfast: Fatty Patty’s Cakes & Cafe

 

Tuesday Breakfast at Fatty Patty’s Cakes & Cafe

 This is the first in a series of articles in which we explore 7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About.

This was the first place I was able to go to, and I was happy to find that I actually knew the owners! Renee Schaarschmidt, who used to operate a wonderful and successful cake decorating business in conjunction with her cafe on the West end of the beach, had been the one to make my Sweet 16 birthday cake! In addition, I had grown up going to school with her daughter Kerstin (another baker extraordinaire). This is exactly what these articles are all about! It’s personally knowing the people and becoming friends with other locals, purely over the fact that both parties love great food.

So, anyway, all you need to know about a visit to Fatty Patty’s is below.

All The Basics

Who to go to?                        Fatty Patty’s Cakes & Cafe

What they serve?                   Breakfast and Lunch

Where to be?                         948 Thomas Drive, right across from the Navy Base (NSA PC)

When to go?                          Monday — Saturday, 6 AM — 2 PM

How to reach them?               (850) 236-9276 or (850) 236-9277

How much to pay?                 Just under $10 per entree

The Food

I was a bit surprised, upon viewing their menu, at everything they had to offer!  For breakfast they have a variety of different breakfast plates, sandwiches, and burritos, as well as several eggs benedicts, french toasts, pancakes, waffles, and omelets. When it comes lunch time, they can serve you up a burger, muffaletta, crab cake basket, or one of their numerous salads, deli-style sandwiches, or other kinds of awesome sandwiches. LOTS of choices.

If that wasn’t already enough to choose from, Fatty Patty’s has an ever-changing list of weekly specials, both for breakfast AND lunch. I’ll let you know what the remainder of the week has to offer farther down yonder in today’s post.

So pretty much, they can serve you whatever your heart desires!

The most popular plates ordered (other than the daily specials), per owner Renee, are the breakfast burrito, the cafe breakfast, and the classic eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce. Sounds good, right?

On top of that, there are so many desserts made fresh every day to spoil your sweet tooth! Mmm!

The People

You can tell from the moment you walk in the place that this crew is like family to each other. It’s great to sit and watch how they interact with one another, and how they seem to work so well as a team. I ADORE that! Having been on the other side of the counter in the past, I’ve learned that there is not any other way whatsoever to be successful in food service if it is not a team effort. The key: you have to actually like the people you work with. These people really care about each other and the artful creations they produce. Hence, awesome food.

I know the military members must LOVE having Fatty Patty’s just across the street from them!

The owner, now a good friend of mine, says her traffic has more than doubled (maybe even tripled), since her move from West End PCB Parkway (AKA Back Beach Road or Hwy 98). Unfortunately, she now only decorates cakes for close friends and family since it has proved to be too much to handle on top of her current shop. But never fear, there are PLENTY of pastries to go around! The love for baking has not at all disappeared from this eatery. Yay for yummies!

 The Environment

The greatness of Fatty Patty’s doesn’t stop with the people or food. The shop is decorated in a beachy motif, to create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. There are all of these adorable brightly colored lizards, flowers, and pictures scattered around the place, which give a nice little touch of brightness to the walls. Overall, quite cute.

I love their little quote on the front of their menus as well, reading “For the little Fatty Patty in all of us”. Gives a nice little touch, for sure.

My Take

I hereby give my stamp of approval.

I tried the Muffaletta when I made my visit. I am somewhat of a muffaletta fanatic, and have been searching the globe (more like the Bay County limits) for the best one in existence. This one took me one bite to know that I was going to return in the future for my fix. It was pretty darn authentic compared to other’s along the beach, too.

One thing I learned about the Fatty Patty’s operation from Renee was that she gets as much of her ingredients fresh from local providers, right down to the coffee. In addition, everything is completely homemade. You can totally tell when eating their food, because there is nothing generic about the taste here. Freshness and quality have always been incredibly important to me, and they get an A+ in those categories!

Everyone was so very nice to me from the moment I set foot in Fatty Patty’s; and that was before they knew I was going to feature them on pcbdaily.com! The first impression given from a restaurant will fuel the whole rest of the visit (or lack of). They quickly greeted me with a hearty “Good morning!” as I came in, and then let me know I could sit anywhere I wanted. I took a seat, and a second later, there was someone offering me a menu and asking if there was anything they could get for me right away. Wonderful service continued to be given, and didn’t slow at any point. Personalized, and friendly to every guest!

Overall, I quite enjoyed my visit to Fatty Patty’s Cakes and Cafe, and will be sure to return during my weekday lunch breaks!

Quick Pics!
Bonus: The daily specials for the rest of this week

Wednesday: For breakfast, 2 eggs your way, a grilled muffin, and home fries. For lunch, hamburger steak and gravy with mashed potatoes, greens, and cornbread.

Thursday: For breakfast, a half order of French toast, and your choice of bacon or sausage. For lunch, chicken casserole, pasta, green salad, and garlic bread.

Friday: For breakfast, a sausage or ham & egg biscuit, and your choice of home fries or cheese grits. For lunch, beef tips, rice, black eyed peas, and a cheddar biscuit.

Links to the Other Articles

Introductory Article: 7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About

Wednesday Dinner: J.Michael’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

New Series: 7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About

Who’s That Girl?

Ok, first of all, let me introduce myself…because you don’t know me yet.

My name is Marie Rivera, and I am the newest writer for pcbdaily.com! Panama City Beach has been my home for a grand total of 14 years, and I’ve loved every second of it! I am quite passionate about the people, places, and events in the area, and jumped on the chance to contribute my discoveries and thoughts on happenings around Panama City Beach!
My First Undertaking

My original idea for my first article started out as just that; one article. The more I delved into it though, the more my mind began spilling over with things I wanted to say and information I wanted to include. That’s when I decided that I would overload you with everything I have in mind for my entire first week with Pcbdaily.

So, with that said, I am going to write a series of articles with the goal of putting the word out for local-favorite restaurants in the area, as suggested and voted on by over 650 random PCB natives. When I say random, I mean that I went all around the area asking PCB residents at Pier Park, Gulf Coast, the beach, the navy base, etc. about their favorite  local hot-spots away from the mobs of beach invaders.

I began just asking for suggestions to put together a list, and was given about 45 places, which was a lot more than I anticipated from the first 75 or so people. I was pretty sure I’d hear names of local restaurants that I was familiar with, but more often I heard things that have never went through my ears before. This definitely intrigued me, and convinced me that I was getting myself into a lot more than I thought. But then again, this is the whole point of the articles, right?

It was definitely crazy trying to get the list down to where I needed it, but I just ended up narrowing the voting list down by only using restaurants that were suggested 10 or more times. That made it so much easier! I noticed too that the locals tended to choose places that were close to where they lived as their favorites, which is probably why I still hadn’t heard about some of the restaurants that were voted for. Although I obviously wasn’t incredibly familiar with the hot spots chosen, that’s exactly what made this so enjoyable! I was able to taste new flavors and experience new environments that seem to fuel the love for life on the beach! So incredible!

I am entitling the series “7 Local Restaurants the Tourists Don’t Know About”. Why 7? Because it’s my lucky number. No, in all reality, I chose 7 so I could feature 1 local hot spot each article that I had been to over the course of a week. I’ll probably get an article out every couple of days. Then, as a bonus, I am going to write an eighth article for a restaurant that really should get more traffic; not only in my opinion, but in many others’ in the area.

Sound good? Just keep your eyes peeled for my details of good eatin’ all around the beautiful Panama City Beach! 🙂

Links to the Articles

Ready to do your homework on the must-eat-at local restaurants? Click on the links to the articles to see what’s in store for you!

Tuesday Breakfast: Fatty Patty’s Cakes & Cafe

Wednesday Dinner:J.Michael’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Eating Gluten-Free In Panama City Beach

Gaining in publicity is the gluten-free diet, a way to deal with celiac disease or wheat allergies.  Thankfully, as this diet gains in publicity, restaurants are responding with gluten-free menu options. Where can you eat in Panama City Beach if you are participating in this diet be it medically or voluntarily?

Bonefish Grill- Hutchison Boulevard

Offering an extensive menu for those on gluten-free diets, Bonefish Grill even offers a choice of desserts!  The gluten-free menu is available online.    When dining at Bonefish Gril, don’t forget to ask for a separate gluten-free menu as well as letting your waiter know about your dietary restrictions.

Carrabba’s- Panama City Beach Parkway

This Italian restaurant has a special menu for those on a gluten-free diet, available online for viewing.  The menu offers several appetizers as well as main courses.  There is an extensive list of fish sauces available for those with a gluten-free diet.

Olive Garden- Pier Park

Olive Garden offers a variety of different menu options for those with special dietary needs concerning the gluten in many foods.  However, they do not guarantee that ingredients are safe from contamination.  They even offer a children’s dish for those growing up with this restriction.  Please see their gluten-free menu online.

Outback Steakhouse- West 23rd Street (Over the bridge)

Offering drinks, salads, desserts, kids meals, and main courses in gluten-free options, Outback has made the best of this dietary restriction.  The menu is available online for you to read before you visit.  The menu makes it easy for those with food allergies to socialize with others while eating out!

Pineapple Willy’s- Thomas Drive

While they don’t have a specific gluten-free menu, they do have several items they could make gluten-free.  They said “Pretty much anything that we can grill that doesn’t have breading would be Gluten Free, such as chicken, grouper, mahi-mahi, shrimp, prime rib, and also any of our salads (without croutons).” If you are gluten-free and wanting one of these items to be made, please let them know in advance that you are gluten-free and wish your meal to be as well.

Red Brick Pizza- Pier Park

Red Brick, not only offers a gluten-free menu option, but also trains their employees on the seriousness of keeping it free from contamination.  Made with fresh ingredients, heart healthy olive oil, and with less sodium, calories, and carbs than ordinary pizzas these gourmet pizzas range from 280 to 450 calories.  The process of making these gluten-free pizzas has been reviewed and accepted by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Celiac Disease Foundation.  RedBrick even donates a portion of these pizza sales to the CDF’s Team Gluten-Free to send children with severe wheat intolerance to summer camps. (The picture above is a Red Brick gluten-free pizza)

And The Golden Spoon Goes To… Firefly

Congratulations to Panama City Beach’s Firefly Restaurant on winning the Golden Spoon for the second year in a row!  The Golden Spoon Award is given by Florida Trend magazine in recognition of the exquisite cuisine and outstanding ambiance found at Firefly.  “We are thrilled to receive the award for the second year in a row,” said owner Dave Trepanier. “Excellence and creativity is something we strive for to set us apart from other Panama City Beach restaurants. It is our chef and staff that continually make us great every day, and this award is a direct reflection of that.”

Firefly is located in the Shoppes at Edgewater and was commended by Florida Trend on having “urbane dining with lots of fish, local oysters and serious sushi, plus a chef who dares eggplant pancakes and boar shanks.”

If you haven’t been to Firefly yet- it might be time for you to try it! Congratulations on the second Golden Spoon Firefly!

Thanksgiving Dinner at The Beach

Don’t know how to cook? Out of town for the holidays?  If you are looking for a place to sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner in Panama City Beach, we have your options!

Breakers — Our Traditional Holiday Buffet

Serving from 11am-6pm

On the menu:

Roast Turkey, Baked Ham, Baked Fish, Roast Baron of Beef, Popcorn Shrimp, Cocktail Shrimp, Giblet Gravy, Traditional Dressings, Sweet Potato Casserole, Steamed Vegetable, Tossed Green Salad, Waldorf Salad, Fresh Baked Rolls, Cranberry Sauce, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and of course- all the trimmings!

You can make reservations for your Thanksgiving dinner with a view of the gulf at 850-234-6060!

Dirty Dick’s Crabhouse — Dick’s Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

Contact Dirty Dick’s for their menu 850-230-3425.

Saltwater Grill – Saltwater’s Famous Thanksgiving Day Buffet

Serving from 11am

On the menu:

Sweet Potato Cider Bisque, Mixed Green Salad, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Caesar Salad, Roasted Turkey, Hand Carved Roast Beef Au Jus, N’Awlins Style Glazed Ham, Baked Mahi & Pineapple Salsa, Baked Macaroni & Cheese, Garlic Whipped Potatoes, Sweet Potato Souffle, Traditional Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Green Beans Amandine, Andouille & Pecan Stuffing, Rice Pilaf,
Pumpkin Pie, Peach Cobbler, Southern Pecan Bread Pudding, Yeast Rolls & Butter.

Call them at 850-230-2739 if you have any questions!

Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar

On the menu:

SteamShip Round, Honey-Glazed Baked Ham, Cajun Fried Turkey, Grilled and Fried Shrimp, Grecian Grouper, Fried Oysters, Biloxi Crab Cakes, Alaskan Snow Crabs, Potato Salad, Pasta Salads, Chicken Salad, Tossed Salad, Au Gratin Potatoes, Fried Okra, Mashed Potatoes, Southern Style Green Beans, Traditional Stuffing, Candied Yams, Squash Casserole, Broccoli Casserole, Fresh Baked Bread, home-made Cornbread, Apple Pie, Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Pecan Pie.

The dinner buffet is available for $19.95 and kids under 4 will enjoy their holiday meal for free.

Sonny’s Real Pit Barbecue

On the menu:

Meals for carryout include a smoked turkey or spiral sliced ham and your choice of three sides.

Call 850-230-4742 before November 20th to reserve your meal!

The Boatyard — Family Style Thanksgiving

Serving from 11am-7pm

On the menu:

Turkey, Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Andouille Sausage Cornbread Stuffing, Sweet Potato Souffle, Green Peas and Onions, Green Bean Casserole, Orange-Cranberry Relish, Rolls and Butter, and the traditional Pumpkin Pie

Dinner will be $19 per person plus drinks (and taxes and gratuity), and for 4 people or $76 you can reserve a whole turkey!  All leftovers will be packaged to take home- just like you cooked dinner at home!  They will also have other traditional meal options available as well as drink specials.  Find the detailed menu online.

Happy Thanksgiving from PCB Daily!