30A Prime Interview with Grayton Seafood Co.
When I was asked to find a delicious restaurant that embodies old Florida right here on 30A, I immediately knew that Grayton Seafood Co was the perfect place to showcase. Typically, I go there for lunch as our office is just across the street. I contacted Jill Tanner who’s in charge of marketing for the restaurant and she helped me set up a meeting with Kenny Griner, owner of Grayton Seafood Company.
We met with Jill and Kenny on an extremely hot Wednesday afternoon not too long ago. As we walked into the restaurant with all of our camera equipment, we were greeted by the Grayton Seafood Company team with warm smiles and firm handshakes. We made our introductions, exchanged pleasantries and mic’d up Kenny up for the interview.
My first impression of Kenny was that he’s a true southern gentleman with quite the sense of humor. We had fun joking around for a few minutes before really getting into full interview mode. Once we did, we learned that he grew up in Pensacola but often visited the South Walton area. Kenny has another restaurant in Pensacola called “Chet’s” and it was there that he got his start in the business. Chet’s, like Grayton Seafood Co., is a family operation through and through. He told us that he cannot imagine going to work and not being able to interact with his family, for him that’s a must.
Kenny explained that when he retires he wants to live in Grayton Beach because it still has that old Florida vibe he remembers as a kid. It’s not as sanitized as Alys or Rosemary Beach and that’s what he adores about it. In his mind, Grayton Beach is the perfect location for his restaurant.
Grayton Seafood Co. is a place where you can go dressed nicely or in your bikini right off the beach. He wants people to eat wonderful food in a Floridian environment much like the seafood houses he grew up eating in. He also said that he wants to be known as the restaurant where people who work at other restaurants go to eat. For him, it’s all about comfort and great food.
Grayton Seafood Company has that Old Florida Charm
The atmosphere is an important part of any restaurant, otherwise, you may as well get take-out. If you’re looking for a true Florida Gulf Coast inspired setting this is the place you want to dine. Grayton Seafood Co. has all of those elements and more. The décor feels like you’re in an old boat with the grey ship-lap walls and fish painting(s) which Kenny revealed is part of the old Florida charm. The restaurant space is intimate and you don’t need to call ahead to make reservations as they operate on a first come, first serve basis. Their staff is fantastic so even if it is super busy the wait isn’t too long.
Grayton Seafood Company is one of those restaurants where everything on the menu sounds amazing so when Kenny offered us a chance to try his famous Crab Cakes and Creole Snapper without hesitation we said, “YES Please!” As Kenny brought out the plates we were shocked by the huge portions. The fried Snapper and Crab Cakes were beautifully plated as if we were in a white table cloth ladened fine dining establishment. Both dishes were served on top of mouth watering mashed potatoes and veggies. Kenny mentioned that his Crab Cakes have become quasi-famous and I can see why as they were literally the best I’ve ever had. The large Snapper filet was just as succulent.
The beer and wine selection at Grayton Seafood Co is fantastic. They have a bunch of local options such as Oyster City Brewing Company, Grayton Beer Company, and Idyll Hounds Brewing Company. They also offer Tallboys served ice cold, wrapped in brown paper bags that are awesome! Now that I think of it, I believe Adam, our camera man, washed his Crab Cakes down with a Miller High Life tall boy and I had a tasty cider beer. Grayton Seafood Company’s Le Cordon Bleu chef is in charge of their amazing wine selection, but the beer selection is all Kenny. Kenny is more of an Old Milwaukee and Pabst Blue Ribbon guy, but he recognizes the importance of wine on 30A. He’s been told that the wine options for a restaurant of his size are extremely impressive.
Grayton Seafood Co. is a Winner
It’s heartwarming to know that there are still mom & pop style restaurants like Grayton Seafood Co along the 30A corridor that celebrate the old Floridian feel. I have always been a fan of Grayton Seafood Company and meeting with Kenny just solidified why I love this place. It’s inviting and a great place to go for a gourmet meal. You can go there with your kids, by yourself, with friends or out for a romantic evening and it will never let you down. The next time you’re in SoWal, head over to Grayton Seafood Co and say hello to Kenny for us!
Grayton Seafood Co. is located in Grayton Beach, FL in the Uptown Shops across from Another Broken Egg.