Shoney’s in Pier Park is OPEN and it’s Delicious!

If you’re been looking for a fresh pick for your next breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s a new kid on the block in Pier Park in West Panama City Beach. Shoney’s in Pier Park opened yesterday with their grand opening to take place next week. Today I had the opportunity to have a sit-down with one of their market leaders for lunch after a conversation with their CEO this morning.

Lunch was delicious, and their cordiality has been second to none. If they run their business half as well as they’ve treated me, they’ll be very successful indeed.

First Impressions.


Ya know, I have to admit, with what little I knew about Shoney’s, I wasn’t particularly excited about one coming here. It’s not that I was unexcited, there just wasn’t any emotion at all.

But, since this is PCBDaily, and there’s an obligation to report on (if nothing else) something new, I figured I owed it to you; and them. My request for more information was interestingly responded to.

I was first called by the new Marketing Director of Pier Park, who told me someone from Shoney’s would be calling me. The next day I received a call from the Shoney’s Director of Marketing who said he was going to set up a call for me with the CEO. Reassuring him that a conversation with the CEO wasn’t necessary, it was insisted upon.

This morning I was connected with David Davoudpour, the CEO, who was just a flat-out nice guy. We had a great conversation for a few minutes and parted ways.

I texted the DOM for Shoney’s asking him if I could stop by for lunch and was treated to lunch by another senior staff member who spent more time with me than I do with any of my minions.

This morning, the CEO told me that they spend time and energy in community involvement, and I continued to feel that resounded over and over. Over the years, I’ve been treated to lunch, I’ve been given favors in hopes of a favorable word and the like, but they just made me feel good.

And I can tell you, they left a lifetime impression on me. And I’ll have no hesitation seeking them out when we travel or when we’re going out here locally.

This Shoney’s is different.


Naturally, when you see a larger brand enter into a market for the first time in a while, or if they open a new location, you’d expect them to try some things differently. This is no different.

The Shoney’s in Panama City Beach is doing a few things differently, but they’re staying true to the heritage their CEO emphasized to me this morning: that they offer “good value, family American dining.”

Some of the things they’re doing differently here include having a full steakhouse menu, full bar (beer and liquor), completely different ambiance, they have a Hometown Cafe (espresso, latte and mocha), and they have outside patio seating (that seats 60).

And another huge difference, and I mean huge in the literal sense, is that this is the largest Shoney’s they have, ringing in around 7,200 square feet.

The food and the prices.


When asked this morning what he thought Shoney’s was best known for, David Davoudpour told me “value, and fresh, quality food.” Rob, the representative that met me for lunch told me all the ingredients are fresh, nothing comes in frozen, and pointed to my onion rings stating they are all hand battered from fresh cut onions.

I have to admit, when Red Robin came in (right across the street), I was excited to try them, but I was disappointed in their price-point. I have a hard time taking my whole family there for less than $100. Remember, I have 5 kids.

When I was looking at the menu, I was impressed at the low cost of the items. It’s hard going out to eat around here without spending a fortune.

Davoudpour told me this morning that I had to try the burgers. So for lunch, I had an All American Burger, and was asked at the time of order whether I wanted pink or no pink. I chose pink and I was not let down. The burger was moist and tender, the bun was fantastic and the “fix ins” were perfect. The burger was perfectly adorned and it really was absolutely delicious.

As a side I got onion rings, and they were amazing as well.

My meal, with the water I ordered, would have been $6.99 plus tax. Not a bad lunch.

So, where are they?


Remember that Cantina Mexican restaurant across from Red Robin? They shut down and Shoney’s filled in their spot. They’ve spend the last couple months building and the inside looks great. They’ve filled it out nicely and they have plenty of room for professional groups (hello IdeaCamp) and private parties.

So, Shoney’s in Panama City Beach in Pier Park. Try it. It’s fantastic and totally receives the PCBDaily’s Stamp of Approval.

Complete Restaurant Guide for This Thanksgiving

For many reasons, fall is one of my absolute favorite times of year.  Business is slow offering some time to rest and hang out with the kids, the weather is cool, but not cold which makes being outside an absolute joy, and the holiday season brings excitement, joy and family time.

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks, and it’s also a time for FOOD!.  Having our Thanksgiving meal at home is bitter-sweet as we love preparing delicious food and love even more the leftovers that lasts for weeks.  Wait, who am I kidding, if you’re like our family, we’re tired of the leftovers by Friday!

And for us, every couple of years we like to shake things up and skip all the preparation and go out.  Just think of it: no grocery shopping, no preparing, no waiting for hours while being tantalized by the smell, and no clean up.  Or, if you’re visiting Panama City Beach for the holidays and don’t want to cook in your condo, you need a wonderful restaurant to cater to your every whim.

We called around to every place we could think of and this is the list we came up with of restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving for 2012.  If you know of others, or if you’re place is open, just let us know in comments and we’ll do our best to get it updated timely.

Thanksgiving Restaurants

Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant – Thanksgiving Buffet – $15.95 to $23.95 (kids 4 and under free) – 11am to 6pm

Saltwater Grill – “Traditional Buffet” – $21.99 (adults), $10.99 (kids), 3 and under free – 11am to 9pm

Dirty Dick’s – Thanksgiving Menu – $24.99 – 11am to 6pm

Wicked Wheel – Regular menu starting at $10.99 – 11:30 to 8pm

Boatyard – Reservations only – Special Menu – 4 people or more at $24.99 a person – 11am to 6pm

Also, be sure to check the comments.

Since I have published this article, there have been a good variety of others that have posted their restaurants in the comments section.  Please keep an eye on it for some updates (below).

Here are the ones as of this update.

Pineapple Willy’s – 11am to 8pm

Mike’s Diner and Oyster Bar


Shades Bar and Grill



Wicked Good Food at the Wicked Wheel

There’s a new restaurant in town, but it’s ran by some of the most seasoned dining veterans in Panama City Beach.  Having been in the works for nearly 2 years, The Wicked Wheel Bar and Grill opened in April and is serving “the best fried chicken and the biggest burgers on the beach.”

“The theme itself and the vision had been life long. The actual getting-it-custom takes time, and we were not willing to sacrifice quality to get it open any sooner,” said Jared Knetzer of The Wicked Wheel.

The Wicked Wheel is owned and operated by the same that own Pineapple Willy’s – the Buskell family. They are located right on Middle Beach Road (Hutchison) a few doors down (to the west) from Walmart and right across from Miracle Strip Loop.  There used to be a Tony Roma’s there, years ago.

Their fried chicken.

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a fried chicken guy.  Not that I don’t like that funky fowl – quite the opposite.  I’m just not a traditional fried chicken guy.  But, I had to try what was being touted as “the best fried chicken on the beach.”  I ordered the 3 pc Classic Original chicken meal and added a Custom Spicy drumstick to test it out.

When they  brought out my order, I was greeted with an elegant presentation of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy and seasoned green beans.  The chicken skin seemed to me to be perfectly crunchy yet flakey and the meat was juicy, tender and full of flavor.  I had ranch to supplement, but I didn’t need it.

The Spicy was hot, but not too hot.  It was good, had zing and will be my pick next time, if I don’t get one of their Classic Burnout Burgers.

The famous motorcycle seat bar.

Maybe “famous” is stretching it a little, but besides their food, it’s all anyone talks about – so maybe not.  The outside is accented with motorcycles and dedicated biker parking, but when you walk inside, you’re found with a whole motif that revolves around “custom cars, custom bikes, and all things cool,” said Knetzer.

“We have some motorcycles as seats at the bar [and]. . . If you look around you will notice everything from the 27 Ford T-Bucket hanging on the wall, the ‘hot rod hostess station’ which is made from a tool box, several car related signs through out, track lights made out of Fram oil filters, vintage car license plates, as well as art displayed throughout the restaurant,” added Knetzer.

The menu.

If you ask their wait staff what’s popular, they’ll tell you the chicken and their burgers.

Their Classic, Cheese and Bacon Cheese Burnout Burger is dressed in lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles and a variety of cheeses.

Their Custom Burnout Burgers:

Leadsled – ham, American cheese and bacon

Flame Thrower – pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, grilled onions, and peppers

Lowrider – white nacho cheese, chili, and pico de gallo

Sportster – cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and BBQ sauce

Shovelhead – provolone cheese, grilled mushrooms, and onions

Roadrunner – chicken breast and choice of cheese

And of course, they have a Challenger – which if you can finish (sides and all) in 14 minutes, you’ll get your picture on the wall and a free Challenger t-shirt.  What are you eating?  A Double Classic Burnout Burger with cheese.

You can view their entire menu here.

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, 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! 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

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!

Summer In The City: Zachary’s, Downtown PC’s Budding Vieux Carre


Our Summer in the City Series is all about new and exciting things you can spend the summer enjoying. From one end of Panama City to the other, we’ll bring you all that the city has to offer

World-renowned jazz bass player, Steve Gilmore says, “There is nowhere like this in the area.”

Gilmore moved to Panama City permanently years ago when his health and the health of his wife started to be “iffy.” He has played with jazz greats such as Tony Bennett, the Phil Woods Orchestra and George Coleman. Now, the Gilmore’s weekly routine includes the Wednesday night Jazz Jam at Zachary’s American Grill. While Steve plays with a host of local musicians, his wife Shirley snuggles into a plush couch and kicks up her feet with a close friend to listen as the smooth jazz fills the room.

Enjoy unique comfort food in one of downtown Panama City’s most enchanting digs. This place feels like several of the spunky restaurants from the New Orleans’ vieux carre, the French Quarter, blended into one fun hangout. Rooms don a variety of accoutrements showcasing a different genre and vibe for each eating space: Bohemian, Middle Eastern, country backyard, college bar, jazz digs.

Whether it’s a hamburger, an authentic Cuban sandwich, Tex-Mex Meatloaf or a Bangkok Salad, Zachary’s has a snack, lunch or evening meal for you.  Zachary’s is a place Earnest Hemingway would have frequented, stopping by several times a week for a Cubano Frenchie and a cold beer. If you know anything about Hemingway, he rather enjoyed a good meal and was known to stay in a place he loved for beer…after beer…after beer. At Zachary’s, friends shake hands and place their order for Loaded Fries in the sultry lighting of the aged downtown PC building.

Named after owner Karen’s son Zachary, a Marine stationed in North Carolina in sniper school, Zachary’s American Grill has been in our community since 2009. The restaurant started on Harrison Avenue and has since moved to their current location on Grace Avenue. Owners Cody and Karen Biggs are pleased to be in downtown Panama City and are encouraged to see the local businesses thrive and grow.

The Biggs’ recently loosened up their menu to bring more sandwiches and snacks with reasonable prices in a struggling economy. Cody says the fare of Zachary’s is “down right American.” He hopes that people do not see the bridge as a barrier and take a chance on his restaurant.

Appe-teasers (Appetizers, Served after 5 p.m.)

My good friend Ashlee said it is much more fun to call appetizers “appe-teasers.” I totally get this reference after enjoying the starters at Zachary’s. Whether you are in the mood for Thai, Italian, Cajun or the simplicity of Americana cuisine, there is a taste bud tantalization for you.  A truly sinful delight, Loaded Fries, includes a pile of shoestring French fries hand-tossed in cheddar cheese, topped with scallions, bacon and…well…more cheese! It’s a party in your mouth.  If you are attracted to a New Orleans-esque flavor, enjoy the Classic Shrimp Remolaude. Tender Gulf shrimp are tossed in a zesty house remoulade sauce, served on a bed of field greens and drizzled with sriachi. An interesting dish that I tried once merely out of curiosity was the Caramelized Onion and Bleu Cheese Quesadilla. Even if you are not a fan of bleu cheese, I double-dog-dare-you to try this starter. You will be glad that you did. (All appetizers are reasonably priced, ranging from $3 – $8.)

On the Lighter Side (Soups and Salads)

This house salad is surprisingly to die for, and this coming from a girl who does not love the salad! Do not fear the traditional chain restaurant bowl of anemic iceberg lettuce with some shards of shredded cheese and a crouton.  This House Salad is a blend of fresh cut romaine, field greens, bleu cheese crumbles, cucumbers, red onions, Craisins, sunflower seeds, croutons and finished with a signature Champagne vinaigrette.  Is your mouth watering yet? Should be! Other salads include BBQ Chicken Salad, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Bangkok Salad and Southwest Salad.  (Salads are all $9 and you can choose to substitute Shrimp or Salmon in any of these salads for just $2.) If soup tickles your fancy, try a bowl of Zachary’s Sweet Potato Bisque for $4 a cup or $6 a bowl.

The Pat Down (a.k.a. Hand-Patted Burgers, Made to Order)

You can rest assured that all of Zachary’s burgers are hand-patted and cooked to order. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a good hand-patted burger. Enjoy Big Bill’s Beef and Bleu Burger with caramelized onions, bleu cheese, American cheese, topped with a homemade Garlic Basil Aioli. Or, choose the Fire House Burger, which would be my brother’s favorite. This is one of those “enter at own risk” kind of burgers. It’s like your taste buds have gone on a quick-thrill roller coaster. The Fire House Burger has caramelized onions, bacon and Zachary’s signature firehouse jalapeno cheese sauce.  It’s totally worth the heart burn that MAY ensue. If you like to take matters into your own hands, build your own burger. Just about anything you could wish to go on a burger is available for you to build away! (Burgers are all $8.50 and are served with southwest pasta salad. Substitute Shoestring French fries for $1 or Sweet Potato Fries for $1.50.)

“Frenchie” Bliss (House Sandwiches on grilled French bread)

The dish that will keep me craving Zachary’s was my most recent pick – the Hot Ham & Cheese Frenchie. As is characteristic of this place, the chef chanced a unique twist on a traditional ham and cheese combo. On first bite, I threw my head back and made an inappropriate noise at the table. My boyfriend said, “What?” I told him that was sandwich speak for, “Oh yeah!” The Hot Ham & Cheese Frenchie comes with sliced Hickory Pit Ham, Provolone and Swiss Cheese as well as tomato, red onion, Honey Dijon Aioli on French bread. So good! Some other savory Frenchies include the Cubano (traditional Cuban with shaved meat), the Chicken Cordon Bleu, the Hawaiian Chicken and many more! (Sandwiches range in prices from $7 – $8.50 and are served with southwest pasta salad. Substitute Shoestring French Fries for $1 or Sweet Potato Fries for $1.50.)

The Big Shebang (Entrees, Served after 5 p.m.)

If your mom ever made you eat meatloaf, thank her. It’s a wonderful American delight and we should celebrate it. Don’t be afraid of the meatloaf. Karen Biggs, joint owner of Zachary’s, blends a meatloaf masterpiece she calls Tex-Mex Meatloaf including roasted corn, tomatoes and chilies. This southwestern inspired meatloaf is then topped with chipotle cream gravy and served over mashed potatoes with green beans on the side. Come get ya some! The entrée menu also includes house creations such as Zachary’s House Filet of Beef, Sherry Portobello Filet, Chicken Portabella and several other savory meals. (Entrees range in price from $14 to $24.)

“Somewhere That’s Green” (Veggie Delights)

Cody wanted me to make sure to let vegetarian friends know that Zachary’s will always have tasty treats for you. Veggie burgers are available and can be topped with any fun burger additions listed on the main burger menu ($6). The Grilled Veggie Frenchie is served with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, red onions, Provolone and Swiss Cheese topped with Chipotle Aioli ($7). On the entrée menu, Veggie friends can enjoy the Pasta Angelica which is a blend of sautéed veggies including fresh mushrooms, spinach, sweet peas and sundried tomatoes. This is tossed with a house Parmesan cheese cream sauce atop a bed of angel hair pasta, dusted with Parmesan and crisp green onions ($12).

Melt In Your Mouth (Desserts)

Top off your delicious meal or end your evening with a cup of coffee and one of Zachary’s mouth-watering desserts.  Try a piece of Outrageous Chocolate Cake, a four-layer dense dark chocolate cake filled with rich chocolate ganache and covered in a silky chocolate frosting.  Or, may I tempt you with a piece of Mile High Peanut Butter Pie or Key Lime Pie. (Desserts range in prices from $5-$6.)

My Take

If Zachary’s does not thrive in our community, Panama City should go outside, get a branch from the largest tree and prepare for a spanking.

Zachary’s is located in historic downtown Panama City on 425 Grace Avenue. Call Zachary’s today for dine-in, carry out, large or small meal catering at 850.557.3522. You can also visit Zachary’s online at