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Coastal Gourmet

Dining and Drinking at the Edge of the Continent

(page 2 of 5)

Pensacola, Fla.

There was a village of native Americans already here when Spanish explorers “discovered” Pensacola in 1559. The Spaniards called the tribe of Mukogean Indians the Pensacola, and that mistake stuck, a name applied to both the outpost and the beautiful bay alongside.

(Ed. Note: When not otherwise marked, the city is Pensacola.)

Joe Patti’s Seafood Market

 It is actually many operations, with the processing and wholesale part of the business going back 75 years, and the deli/restaurant operation happening much later. However, if you understand fresh seafood, and how important it is to get product to your table as soon as it comes from the water, you’re going to love this place. No pretensions here. Plastic utensils. Use the North Door for dine-in. Consider sharing platters. Mostly fried offerings but the food is fresh, plentiful and honest. Watch it come right off the boat.

(Restaurant) 610 S. C St., (850) 434-3193, (Market) 524 S. B St., (850) 432-3315, (800) 500-9929,

Five Sisters Blues Cafe

Pensacola, Fla., and Southern-style cuisine. Yes, that should work – and it does. The neighborhood could use some work, but the food is right where it needs to be. Fried chicken is done well, and there’s bean and ham soup, cornbread and pork chops.

421 W. Belmont St., (850) 912-4856, FiveSistersBluesCafe.com

Blue Dot Barbecue

 Blue Dot is reputed for the best burgers in the city; then there’s the rib sandwich. And then there are … nope, that’s it. OK, maybe a bag of chips and a soft drink. Father and son, Tom and Byron Long, keep it simple and good.

310 N. Devilliers St., (850) 432-0644

Flora-Bama Lounge, Package Store and Oyster Bar

 In 2004 Hurricane Ivan took this place down. There was hardly a cinder block sitting upon another cinder block, but it was rebuilt and turned out looking pretty much the same. Why mess with success? It’s famous for Mullet Toss competitions, bikini contests, chili cook-offs, the Santa Drop and New Year’s Eve Bash, among other mindless beach activities. But this joint is a blast and rightly deserves its honored place in history among fraternity alumni groups and beach bunny tales told late into the night.

17401 Perdido Key Drive, (850) 492-0611 (Florida), (251) 980-5118 (Alabama), FloraBama.com

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