Locally Sourced Specialties at Beach Restaurants
Each part of a vacation creates a collection of memories and stories. Why should the food you eat be any different?
When you vacation on Alabama’s white-sand beaches, even your food has a story to tell. You’d expect Gulf Shores and Orange Beach restaurants to serve seafood caught fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and back bays of the island, but there’s more to the menu than seafood.
Alabama’s beaches are located in Baldwin County, where farmland and pastures occupy thousands of acres. Generations of families have worked the earth to produce fruits and vegetables of all kinds. A quick drive to the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermens Market in nearby Foley will yield bushels of your favorite foods, from satsumas and lettuces to blueberries and watermelons. You’ll even find locally fished seafood and locally made food products. Stop in on your way to the beach and pick up Baldwin County produce and fresh, Gulf seafood for a meal prepared in your beach condo.
While some restaurants put their locally sourced options in their menu descriptions, some do not. Ask your server for direction. At Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar in Orange Beach, start with the Cheese Dip. A simple name for an oh-so-good appetizer. Cosmo’s Cheese Dip is made from cheese produced at Sweet Home Farm, a farmstead cheesemaker located off the beaten path in nearby Elberta. The dip is a creamy blend of Swiss, parmesan and Sweet Home Farm cheeses topped with feta and roasted tomato relish.
Boiled peanuts aren’t just for the ballpark. Fisher’s Dockside thinks they’re perfect to prime your appetite for lunch. Order a big bowlful the next time you’re in Orange Beach and know these big, juicy peanuts are fresh from Fidler Farms in Silverhill, a family-owned farm in operation since the 1970s. The Fidler family pioneered raising peanuts in Baldwin County more than 20 years ago.
Follow up your appetizers at Original Oyster House with Bill-E’s Bacon Planked Oysters. Of course, the oysters are locally sourced, but so is the bacon – and you can never go wrong with bacon! Bill-E’s Small Batch Bacon comes from a small family farm in Fairhope. They say once you try Bill-E’s bacon, you’ll never buy it at the grocery store again. Does that sound like a challenge to you? Then pull a chair up to the table.
If fried green tomatoes suit your fancy, check out LuLu’s in Gulf Shores. Tomato lovers know a grocery store tomato from a locally grown tomato. Ordonez Farms near Fairhope makes sure LuLu’s has its “A” game on when it comes to tomatoes.
There are plenty of other offerings for locally sourced, farm-to-table food at restaurants throughout Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Consider asking your server for their favorite selections when you’re browsing the menu.