The sugar white beaches, specialty shops and family friendly attractions at Dauphin Island, Alabama are open for business as usual despite what may have been reported. But, it’s another of the town’s treasures that makes a visit to this homey barrier island even tastier . . . the fabulous food.
Overlooking the public beach and pier, the Oar House Restaurant serves up made-to-order sandwiches, thick burgers, and homemade soups in an airy nautical setting on the Islands’s main drag — Bienville Boulevard.
Set high on pilings among a stand of old live oaks and towering palms, The Oar House is a local favorite and the place for tourists to hang out.
The full bar features Sam Adams and Stella Artois on draft, in addition to Yuengling and other domestic beers, and a variety of frozen and mixed adult drinks.
The warm honey brown and reddish tones of the antique heart pine floors at The Oar House are emphasized late each afternoon has the sun pours through giant window walls in the building’s rounded front. Guests wanting to catch the spectacular sunset over the west end of Dauphin Island may dine or sip a cool drink among the live oaks that grow up through the restaurant’s spacious back deck.
Set in a restored country-style home with a classic tearoom appeal, the Lighthouse Bakery on Chaumont Avenue is the sweetest place on Dauphin Island. The baker begins working on tasty creations hours before the sun rises over the east end dunes. She has to in order to meet the rush of customers each morning who come looking for the best pastries and omelets on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
The homemade cinnamon rolls and sweet Danish pasties are melt-in-your-mouth good, while made to order omelets come loaded with lump crab and other tasty add-ins. The Island’s best selection of specialty coffee drinks from Latte’, to Cappuccino and Espresso are also there for the sipping. Freshly made pies, cakes and a wide selection of hearty deli sandwiches are also on the Lighthouse Bakery’s old-style chalkboard menu.
The freshest seafood on the Island has to come from Skinners Seafood. The hometown seafood market on Bienville Boulevard features catches of the day straight from its own boats. Local crabmeat and oysters, and all sorts of fresh fish can be had to cook at home or steamed on the spot for carry-out along with corn and potatoes.
Fishing boats and pleasure craft come and go outside of Barnacle Bill’s at the Dauphin Island Marina. Self-promoted as the “Best Food on the Island”, this longtime local hangout serves up a selection of fried and grilled seafood specialties, and down home favorites from turnip greens and black-eyed peas, to sandwiches and burgers. In fact, the fried seafood platter, piled high with golden brown shrimp, fresh fish from the Gulf, sweet scallops and old-style hushpuppies, may well be the best on the Island.
Old-fashioned comfort food combined with gulf-side decor and large waterfront windows, give Barnacle Bill’s a retro feel, like stepping back a decade or two, or maybe three, when life was slower and a family trip to the beach was the highlight of the year.
Don’t let the simple décor of the Common Loon at Bienville reflect on the tasty meals served up there. From the shrimp and oyster basket and crab corn bisque, to their Crabby Patty sandwich made famous long before Sponge Bob Squarepants met Mr. Crabs, the Common Loon is an Island favorite.
Flamingo Fae’s Beachside Grill and Tiki Bar at the Isle Dauphine golf course may be small in size, but it’s big on savory meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The tastefully tacky décor of inflated pink flamingos, beer signs, miniature faux palms and paper umbrellas add visual flavor, while the large windows open the room to a dune-top view of the sand and surf below.
Whether it’s the Big Kahuna breakfast, a basket overflowing with southern fried shrimp, or a char-grilled Black Angus T-Bone, Flamingo Fae dishes up a full menu with island gusto. For a real filler-upper, order the super-sized Surfin’ Joe Spud with grilled chicken or succulent shrimp and Alfredo sauce to go with a generous beverage from the bar.
Street’s Island Grill and the Pelican Pub at 1102 Desoto Avenue is another spot where locals meet out-of-towners for good food and drinks with a view. Overlooking Indian Bay on the Island’s north side, the delectable duo offers up great drinks at the marina bar, crab claws and an incredibly large seafood platter in a relaxed island atmosphere.
At the Island BBQ the meat is so tender that you can cut it with a fork, but who needs one? Guests to this little roadside treasure on the Island’s east side are more apt to dig in with both hands when munching on the best ribs around. The meat falls off the bone and the homemade barbecue sauce ends up in places that you’d never expect.
Diners on the flagged deck out front can’t help but take in the aroma of meat slow cooking on the smoker, while enjoying pulled pork, beef and chicken under the blue Alabama sky. Burgers and fries, old school potato salad, Brunswick stew and oh-so-sweet Southern iced tea are also on the menu.
Just 22-miles south of Mobile at the end of the Dauphin Island Parkway, Dauphin Island is open for business with great beaches, great fun, great accommodations and great food. For more information, please visit www.dauphinislandcoc.com or call 877-532-8744. Dauphin Island is Alabama’s Family Beach within Reach®!