Pensacola, Florida
Friday December 15th 2017

Archives

Best of the Coast 2017—Restaurants + Food Featured Winners

Another Broken Egg Cafe
721 E. Gregory St., anotherbrokenegg.com

What inspired you to get started?
For years Linda and I drove to Destin several times a month for the quality breakfast we wanted. Linda is from Lafayette and we have a desire for full flavor. Tommy and Marcia Green encouraged us to bring that quality to Pensacola, which we decided to do in 2011.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Our customers constantly comment on the quality, freshness and flavors of our dishes. While it is certainly not possible to please everyone, our franchise is responsive to customer comments and we try to keep up with trends.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We offer fresh, flavorful breakfast, brunch and lunch in a  clean, pleasant family setting, served in a timely manner by professional, helpful, knowledgeable servers who have the customer’s best interest in mind.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We have hope of adding a second location in the Pensacola area within the next year. We are in love with Pensacola and it’s people. It took us a long time to find this city and we are delighted to live here.
Answers by:
Homer and Linda Biggers, Co-Owners

Bluejay’s Bakery
11-E S. Palafox, bluejaysbakery.com

What inspired you to get started?
I started Bluejay’s in order to create something for myself that reflected everything I wanted to see in a locally owned bakery in terms of flavors, quality and design. We have built Bluejay’s to provide our community with delicious and beautiful treats.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going? Our biggest motivation right now is the opening of our new permanent location. Palafox Market has definitely allowed us to interact and become close to our community and we look forward to being able to serve our customers on a daily basis.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Bluejay’s Bakery is a gourmet bakery focusing on everything sweet. We create anything from delicious cupcakes to elaborate custom cakes using quality ingredients with a focus on organic and specialty diet options.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Our next goal is definitely the growth and success of our new storefront. Through this project we will be able to provide our community with regular access to our treats in an adorable setting with easy access.
Answers by:
Justine Gudmundson-McCain, Executive Pastry Chef/Owner

Carmen’s Lunch Bar
407 S. Palafox, Suite B, carmenslunchbar.com

What inspired you to get started?
I have always loved food, travel and cooking. I was immersed in food culture at a young age and always wanted to create a unique dining experience. Carmen’s is the culmination of my culinary experiences and represents a social form of dining that I fell in love with in Spain.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
The people are definitely what keep me going and keep me inspired. I am fortunate to work with an incredibly hard-working and passionate staff. We all love creating a memorable experience for our guests. Seeing their smiles, hearing their laughter and clearing their empty plates are our daily inspiration.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Carmen’s is a neighborhood restaurant that focuses on delicious, from-scratch cuisine. The menu features eclectic international and Southern dishes. The restaurant is centered around an 18-seat U-shaped bar and has additional patio seating. Carmen’s is a bustling lunch bar by day and an atmospheric wine and tapas bar by night.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Carmen’s is about to celebrate our five-year anniversary. For me, the future of Carmen’s is about longevity and continuing to be a staple in downtown Pensacola. As our city grows, we want to continue to be the hotspot for delicious lunches and atmospheric evenings long into the future.
Answers by:
MariCarmen Josephs, Chef/Owner

CitySpree
4303 Spanish Trail, Suite A, cityspree.com

What inspired you to get started?
Pensacola did not have a delivery service like CitySpree when we opened nearly 5 years ago. We felt our customers would love to have options other than pizza and Chinese delivery.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
We are motivated by our desire to provide a quality service to our awesome customers and to build long lasting relationships with our business partners and within our community.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
CitySpree delivers from over 70 restaurants in the Pensacola area. Just visit cityspree.com, select a restaurant, fill up your shopping cart with food and drinks, and sit back and relax. We will see you soon.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We have expanded to Northern Alabama. Our Decatur market is active as well as Madison and Athens, Alabama.  We are now working on launching in the Huntsville area.
Answers by:
Ron Spradling, Owner

End of The Line Cafe
610 E. Wright St., eotlcafe.com

What inspired you to get started?
The love of cooking inspires me daily. I wanted to provide options for a healthier lifestyle, 15 years ago there were very few options for dining out. I love helping teach people how to prepare healthy food for themselves and their families at home, through the cooking classes.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
People are becoming more conscious of what they eat, going vegan and realizing that what we eat can actually change our lives. I can’t imaging not helping with this momentum. People motivate me with their stories of how they’ve overcome health issues. It makes me very happy.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
A casual cafe offering creative organic vegan cuisine, fair trade coffee and catering. A non-judgmental, pet-friendly, fun art space.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
I would love to join with other health minded businesses or organizations for events geared toward educating our community on how to enjoy life, eat well and be outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Answers by:
Jen Knight, Owner

The Fish House
600 S. Barracks St., greatsouthernrestaurants.com

What inspired you to get started?
The Merrills were looking to invest in downtown Pensacola, creating a spot on the water for friends and family to gather with good food, good service and good grits.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Pensacola. Our community is what keeps us going. There is so much positive growth and momentum, we are thrilled to be a part of downtown Pensacola.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
The Fish House is a Pensacola tradition. For over two decades, The Fish House has been serving up fresh seafood with dockside dining overlooking beautiful Pensacola Bay and Seville Harbor.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We love being a part of this great community and are vested in continuing to make Pensacola a destination for locals and visitors alike through the amazing assets our community possesses.
Answers by
: Maria Goldberg, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events

Five Sisters Blues Cafe
421 W. Belmont St., fivesistersbluescafe.com

What inspired you to get started?
Five Sisters Blues Cafe is an homage to one man’s fondest memories of growing up in the American South,  an homage to the “five sisters—his mother Jeannette and her sisters Cora, Sara, Dorothy and Margaret. Their love of food and music is what created the vision.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
The neighborhood is steeped in a rich African American musical heritage. It is exciting to see the revitalization of the Belmont DeVilliers neighborhood, taking ownership of the amazing history. This, along with the people of the neighborhood, continues to be incredibly motivating.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Five Sisters, located at the corner of Belmont and DeVilliers, is built on some of Pensacola’s deepest history. The reconstruction of the old Gussie’s Record Shop heralded the reawakening of the neighborhood. Featuring good ol’ Southern cuisine Five Sisters offers daily blackboard, house specialties and live blues music.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We are currently working on a project with the Mississippi Blues Commission, hoping to be designated as an official stop on the historic Mississippi Blues Delta trail. It would be an incredible honor for our neighborhood to receive the prestigious honor.
Answers by:
Maria Goldberg, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events

Hot Spot Barbecue
901 E. Larua St., servebbq.com

What inspired you to get started?
Our love for people and serving them great food. After all, barbecue is a tradition in the south.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
We have many employees that depend on us. Our family takes that very serious.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are a family business. Our goal is to make our guests happy with a great experience that includes our award winning barbecue and our friendly servers. And don’t forget those free cookies for your first visit.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Keeping our food consistent and growing our catering business.
Answers by:
Cheri Hlubek, Catering Manager

Jaco’s Bayfront Bar & Grille
997 S. Palafox, jacosbayfront.com

What inspired you to get started?
I was retired and thought I could offer a restaurant experience that was better than most that I had experienced in the past.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Happy customers and seeing our employees grow.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
A fantastic and diverse menu, served in one of the prettiest locations on the Gulf Coast with spectacular sunsets, a beautiful marina front and an energetic staff.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
To enhance our flavors and continue our staff growth.
Answers by:
David Hambrick, Owner

Jackson’s Steakhouse
400 S. Palafox, jacksonsrestaurant.com

What inspired you to get started?
Jackson’s occupies a revitalized 1860s building that overlooks Plaza Ferdinand—where, in July 1821, General Andrew Jackson accepted the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States and raised the American flag in Pensacola for the first time. This historic moment was the inspiration for the restaurant.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
At Jackson’s, we continually strive to provide a wonderful dining experience. Chef Irv Miller is inspired by the use of local products within all of our menus, thereby making an effort  to help sustain our local economy. This is always an inspiration.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Jackson’s procures only Midwestern beef from the heartland of America. Steaks and fresh, local seafood are hand-selected and artistically prepared to perfection. Over the past two decades, Jackson’s has earned a number of prestigious culinary awards on a local, state and national level.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We have recently embarked on a new project—Jackson’s is now open seven days a week serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, lunch Monday through Friday and dinner service nightly. As Pensacola grows, we are excited to grow as well.
Answers by:
Maria Goldberg, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events

The Leisure Club Coffee Bar & Restaurant
1151 Office Woods Dr., Suite A, theleisureclub.net

What inspired you to get started?
Denise Berry (the previous owner and also my sister-in-law) saw the need for great coffee in Pensacola. She had a vision for something new and exciting, and in 2010 my wife, Lee and I helped her open TLC downtown on Palafox.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
The support of our regulars let us know that we are doing something right which is the best kind of motivation. Also, the urge to provide every customer with the most tasty and expertly crafted beverages and edible items.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are the shop that started Pensacola’s coffee culture and helped it blossom into what it is today. It’s a great place to get fresh made, gourmet grilled cheeses, soups and salads. Everything is made from scratch in our tiny kitchen. And, brunch is served every day.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
To expand our catering department and venue rental of our space. We also have a couple of spots in mind for a second location.  But most importantly is to continue the incredible quality and service that has made TLC a success since 2010.
Answers by:
Matt Barnhill, Owner/Operator

The Magnolia
2907 E. Cervantes St., magnoliapensacola.com

What inspired you to get started?
We fell in love and wanted to spend all of our time together, so we decided to start a business. When traveling, we found ourselves gravitating toward small, locally-owned neighborhood joints, so that is what we opened.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Our incredible patrons and dedicated staff motivate us every day to do better, to be better. We take it seriously that people still choose us after six years in business and want to continue to give them reasons to.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
The Magnolia is a neighborhood bar with better food than you would expect from a neighborhood bar.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We started the M.A.G. Block Party this year as a way to marry what we are known for (food, drinks and good times) with what we are motivated by: connecting with people and paying it forward.
Answers by:
Bill and Kiley Manning, Owners

Maynard’s Donut Co.
875 E. Nine Mile Road, Suite 9, maynardsdoco.com

What inspired you to get started?
Tired of the corporate world, we determined that no one is unhappy going into a donut shop. So we decided that opening a shop on Nine Mile Road, where there were no good donut options, was a good idea.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
We love seeing the look on someone’s face the first time they bite into one of our donuts. The smile is infectious.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are a locally owned “mom and pop” type donut shop. We are not a chain, but do work with Southern Maid Donuts for our recipe. We have lots of donut options and everything is made fresh here in the shop every day.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We are hoping to get a food truck going this year.  And we’ll use that opportunity to take our donuts to many locations around the area to then see what makes sense for a second shop location.
Answers by:
Danny DeWitt, Co-Owner

New Yorker Deli & Pizzeria
3001 E. Cervantes St., newyorkerdeliandpizzeria.com

What inspired you to get started?
The Deli opened its doors in 1991 and was inspired by a love of food and a desire to offer New York style pizzas, deli sandwiches and salads to the community we live in.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Our motivation to keep the momentum going is the continued love of our community and the joy that it brings us to do what we do. We have a great deal of fun creating new menu items and we love the amazing connections and friendships we establish with our patrons.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are a small, locally owned business that aspires to deliver big. We have a huge menu that is sure to offer something for everyone. We make over 20 salads and eight made from scratch soups daily. We offer NY style pizzas, pastas and so much more.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Our goal is to continue to attract newcomers to the business and have the opportunity to show them who we are and why we love what we do. Our mission is to offer fresh quality ingredients, exceptional customer service and a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Answers by:
Wayne and Renee Nix, Owners

Nom Sushi Izakaya
410 S. Palafox, nomsushi.com

What inspired you to get started?
When I moved home to Pensacola several years ago I was excited about the revitalization of downtown.  For over fifteen years I’ve been focused on the flavors and simplicity of Japanese cuisine and I wanted to contribute that to the downtown experience.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Within this great revitalization of downtown, we see new restaurants and businesses opening constantly. It’s an exciting, fast paced climate and it drives us to better ourselves each and every day.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
I like to describe our izakaya as an intimate, fun, neighborhood bar and restaurant. We hope you gather here with your friends and family to share our small plates and sushi and to learn more about the vast and unique world of sake.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We are so lucky to have a fantastic, loyal customer base. Going forward, we want to reach more people in the Pensacola area by teaching them about the nuances of Japanese cuisine and fine sake through a casual atmosphere and good, honest food.
Answers by:
Brad Jones, Owner/Executive Chef

Polonza Bistro
286 N. Palafox, polonza.com

What inspired you to get started?
We wanted to have a place for people to come and enjoy great coffee, food and atmosphere.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
We have a lot of loyal customers. We are family.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Good, home-cooked style American food.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We want to continue to grow and we want everyone to know we are now serving dinner.
Answers by:
Jami Brown, Manager

Restaurant IRON
22 N. Palafox, restaurantiron.com

What inspired you to get started?
Our love of food and the ability to create a unique restaurant and contribute to the food offerings of Pensacola.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Cooking is a continual growth sport. There is always something new to learn and play with.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Progressive Southern cuisine with a hard focus on quality of ingredients and presentation.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business? We would love to add lunch back to our current offerings in the future.
Answers by:
Alex McPhail, Executive Chef

SaBai Thai Cafe
4104 Gulf Breeze Parkway, facebook.com/sabaithaicafe

What inspired you to get started?
I wanted to make Thai food for the locals—delicious, fresh Thai food. My family has great recipes and I wanted to share them with other people. In my family, I’m surrounded by talented women in the restaurant business so it seemed like a natural direction.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
I haven’t reached the end goal. For years I’ve dreamed of having a restaurant with a more metropolitan vibe, one that combines the esthetics of authentic Thai with an upscale and modern feel.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
A family owned and operated Thai café. A modern-day mom ‘n pop, serving traditional Thai food with a twist. When you eat with us you feel like you’re hanging out with friends and family.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We’re opening a new location in downtown Pensacola in the Spring of 2018. The new restaurant will feature modern Thai décor with a cosmopolitan vibe. We will serve classic Thai food in a contemporary atmosphere.
Answers by:
Pam VanNess, Owner

Skopelos at New World
600 S. Palafox, skopelosatnewworld.com

What inspired you to get started?
Ever since closing the location on Scenic Highway in 2009 I knew I wanted to reopen again. Downtown has been transformed in the last seven-eight years and it was a great opportunity to relocate our iconic restaurant to this vibrant area.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
I have always said that the reputation of a restaurant is only as good as the last meal a guest consumes. That’s what motivates me every day to excel in this endeavor.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are an upscale restaurant that serves local, fresh seafood, certified Angus beef and mezze dishes with Mediterranean inspired flavors. We also have one of the largest ballrooms for private events in the area.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We are creating fun events to enhance the downtown experience.  Such as our Food and Wine around the World festival in July and a New Years Eve dance.
Answers by:
Gus P. Silivos, Executive Chef/ Director of Operation

Sky’s Pizza Pie
5559 N. Davis Highway, skyspizzapie.com

What inspired you to get started?
I am inspired by creativity and it’s endless in the pizza world.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
My pizza patrons are my biggest motivators. The love for good NY style pizza is taken pretty seriously.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Sky’s makes authentic NY style pizza, plus calzones and stromboli, with all fresh ingredients. We are famous for our large foldable slices,  great beer, wine and customer service.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Sky’s next goal is to expand our kitchen into our next door location to better our service times for dine in, pick up and delivery. This will also give us more room for dine-ins and private parties.
Answers by:
Sarah Noble, Owner

Szotski’s Cheesecakes
2600 W. Nine Mile Road, szotskis-cheesecakes.com

What inspired you to get started?
I’ve always had a passion for making cheesecakes. During my 26-year career in the Navy, I made cheesecakes for friends and family who fell in love with them. They saw the opportunity and potential to develop a small business and encouraged us to take that “leap of faith.”
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Our goal for Szotski’s Cheesecakes is to not just raise the bar for cheesecakes in Pensacola but rather, be the bar. We pride ourselves in offering Pensacola the best cheesecakes possible as well as the largest variety of cheesecake flavors! We have currently created over 200 different flavors.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Focusing only on mini cheesecakes, we have created the perfect combination of size and variety. From a sweet treat for two, an office potluck for 20, or a wedding reception for 200, our mini cheesecakes are sure to be a hit. Szotski’s Cheesecakes is locally owned, family owned and veteran owned.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
Total world cheesecake domination. (Too much?)
Answers by:
Jason and Sonya Szot, Owners

Union Public House
309 S. Reus St., unionpensacola.com

What inspired you to get started?
The love and respect of baller food and libations and our awesome community.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
In our profession (and most others) the day you stop learning is the day it is all over. We have to strive to learn, innovate and stay fresh or it just becomes boring. Everyone can always be better and that is our motivation.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are a crafty southern pub where it all comes together. We take a cheeky, fun approach to our food and cocktails, while taking our techniques and execution very serious. Think: “fun, forward thinking southern.”
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We just want to keep growing and keep up our same high standards and great product.
Answers by:
Blake Rushing, Chef/Owner

V. Paul’s Italian Ristorante
29 S. Palafox, vpauls.com

What inspired you to get started?
With seemingly most of the original Italian owned and operated family restaurants across Pensacola no longer in business, Paul Bruno and David Hambrick conceptualized V. Paul’s Italian Ristorante as a need for filling the void, and what better location than downtown Pensacola’s vibrant and convenient Palafox Street.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
Not only is our team proud of the service we provide Pensacola, we also see incredible potential for growth. We are inspired by the way we bring families and friends together and we want to continue to delight our guests as we enter our fourth year.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
As Palafox Street’s family-owned Italian restaurant, we believe that only the highest quality ingredients can truly capture the essence of Italian cuisine. We revel in customer satisfaction: our esteemed culinary chefs, servers and hostesses ensure that each guest has a memorable experience that warrants a return visit.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We welcomed a new Executive Chef, Brian Vaughn, in August. We are excited to share his innovative talent, upscale Italian cuisine, and top-notch service with Pensacola. Plus we’ve got new menu items, cooking classes, tastings and much more coming up.
Answers by:
Contessia Gibson, General Manager

VooDoo BBQ & Grill
1741 E. Nine Mile Road, Suite B9, voosoobbq.com/pensacola

What inspired you to get started?
We chose to bring VooDoo BBQ to Pensacola because we wanted to be a part of a growing brand that we could help make successful.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going?
We love that our customers and our “krewe” have grown as passionate about our food as we are.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
We are a BBQ restaurant that combines slow smoked meats with New Orleans seasonings.  We feature over 13 signature scratch made side items and entrees like corn pudding, red beans and rice and jambalaya. We also have New Orleans favorites like po boys, BBQ shrimp and homemade desserts and beignets.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
We are excited to grow our sales and reach more customers through the Waitr food delivery phone app. We also look forward to continuing to grow our catering business as well as bringing new guests into our restaurant.
Answers by:
Rick and Sylvana West, Owners

Whisk
whiskpensacola.wixsite.com/mysite

What inspired you to get started?
I worked in different restaurants around town and realized I liked adding personal touches to everything I baked. Each order is different and it never gets boring. My cousin and her husband pushed me and helped me get my business started and I am so glad they did.
Now that you’re established, what motivates you to keep going? I am motivated by the amazing customers that I have. I love the ideas they bring to me and getting to see their faces light up when I open their cake boxes.
How would you describe your business to someone who’s never heard of it?
Whisk is an at-home bakery that delivers freshly baked goods right to your door. You can call, text, email and even reach me through social media with photos or ideas of what you are imagining and I’ll do all I can to make them come true.
What’s the next goal or project you want to see happen for you and your business?
I love being able to work from home and bring happiness to everyone’s celebrations. My next goal would be to keep making dessert dreams come true and trying to create more unique, tasty treats for everyone to enjoy.
Answers by:
Peyton Williams, Owner