Pensacola, Florida
Saturday April 21st 2018


Taste Test

A “Taste of the Beach” returns to Pensacola Beach
by Hana Frenette

A “Taste of the Beach” offers a perfect way to spend the weekend. You can stroll alongside the beach, taste a few signature dishes from a variety of restaurants, and watch a crab race or two.

“All the beach restaurants will offer sample-sized dishes, or ‘tastes,’ and all items are $5 or less,” said Maureen LaMar, executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The 21 participating restaurants will set up tents on the sidewalk along Casino Beach. There will also be live entertainment showcasing musicians and dancers, and an area for children that will offer face painting, mini golf, coloring contests, a bean bag toss, and of course, crab races.

“The crab race is basically this area where they have all these little crabs, and you pick the one you want to win and then they start the race,” LaMar said.

It’s not necessary to bring your own crab. You simply show up, choose one to root for, and enjoy the race.

“Taste of the Beach” will take place on the third weekend in September and will offer beachgoers something to do on the beach after the summer is over.

“We think it’s one of the most beautiful times of the year, and this helps to extend the season,” LaMar said. “We really wanted to have some fall activities on the beach.”

This will be the third annual festival for “Taste of the Beach.”

“People have really responded well to it,” LaMar said. “It’s growing bigger each year.”

Whether it’s the free entertainment, the crab races, or the delicious food, people have been supporting the festival since its beginning.

The food this year seems to focus on exotic flavors and customer-friendly consumption. No knife and fork needed—unless you’re trying to show off.

“We’re going to be offering our key lime pie and our Jamaican fish tacos,” said Nick Loizos, general manager of Hemingway’s Island Grill. “We chose these dishes because they have an amazing flavor and they are easy to eat, so it’s good for the customer.”

Hemingway’s has participated in “Taste of the Beach” since its beginning in 2008 and is a favorite among festival patrons. Surf Burger is hoping to make an impression as well.

“It’s our first time,” said Kayla Doss-Haney, manager of Surf Burger. “We’re going to have a shrimp taco and red beans and rice.”

Surf Burger isn’t offering burgers?

“We can’t have an open flame so we wouldn’t be able to grill them fresh,” Doss-Haney explained. “But we’re doing the red beans and rice because we started serving it on Mondays and it has been very popular.”

There are some first timers in the entertainment lineup as well. Petty Cash, Tomato, and Hush Puppies will all be making their “Taste of the Beach” debut. They should fit right in, seeing as it’s a taste fest and two-thirds of the bands’ names reference food.

In addition to the live music, there will also be live dance. Dancingly Yours and the UWF Dance Team will perform on Sunday, as well as the Panhandle Cruisers and Shine Show, a group that encourages the restoration and repair of special interest vehicles.

“Taste of the Beach” really does have something for everyone—food-wise and otherwise; choose from over 45 different dishes, watch a car show or a crab race, get your face painted and hear some local live music.

WHEN: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18-19
WHERE: Casino Beach, Casino Beach Blvd., Pensacola Beach
COST: Free entry; $5 per sample-sized dish
DETAILS: 932-1500, or

3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday    Crab Races
10 a.m.-3 p.m.    Miracle Strip Corvette Show
11 a.m.-1 p.m.    Charred Melon Cherries
1-3 p.m.        Hush Puppies
3-4 p.m.        Tomato
10 a.m.-3 p.m.    Panhandle Cruisers Shine
& Show
11 a.m.-12 p.m.    UWF Dance Team
12-2 p.m.        Dancingly Yours Dancers
2-4 p.m.        Petty Cash
Beach Pops
Crabs We Got ‘Em
Dog House Deli
Famous Dave’s Pensacola
Flounder’s Chowder House
The Grand Marlin
Hemingway’s Island Grill
Hilton’s H2O
Land Shark Landing
Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Café
Native Café
Paradise Bar & Grill
Peg Leg Pete’s
Sandshaker Lounge
Sidelines Sports Bar and Restaurant
Surf Burger
The Dock