There’s plenty to love in Port St. Joe, a seaside town in the Florida Panhandle with its charming downtown, great outdoors activities, natural beaches facing the Gulf and St. Joseph Bay and numerous locally-owned restaurants.
Here’s one more reason to visit Port St. Joe, Florida—Gulf County Taco Week!
Nine local restaurants in Port St. Joe will be serving specialty tacos for only $5 a taco. We’re talking shrimp done every which way, fresh fish from area wetlands and Gulf — even doughnuts!
And to take it one step better is the opportunity for visitors to win prizes. Print out passports found at VisitGulf.com/TacoWeek and visit at least one of the participating restaurants during Taco Week in May. Get your passport stamped at each restaurant, fill out the form and drop it off at the Gulf County Welcome Center (150 Captain Fred’s Place in Port St. Joe) for a chance to win. For official rules, visit the Taco Week website.
Wondering what these restaurants offer? We’re offering you a taste of what to expect.
Peachy’s (Cape San Blas)
Ben, the elderly pooch of owner Steve Sheridan, greets customers to Peachy’s restaurant located on Cape San Blas, the peninsula that stretches out from St. Joseph Bay. Sheridan started with a food truck and his food became so popular he opened the brick and mortar. His style is unique – fill out your dining requests at the counter and leave the appropriate money on the counter. Don’t have change? No worries, for there’s a bucket full of cash to accommodate.
According to Sheridan, he’s yet to have dishonest customers. “I wanted to do something a little differently,” he said.
Sheridan offers grilled shrimp and Mahi Mahi tacos for Taco Week, along with chips. And every meal comes with Ben.
“He goes everywhere with me,” Sherdan said. “He’s my copilot.”
Dagwood’s Delicatessan (Downtown Port St. Joe)
Alabama native and Johnson & Wales-trained Chef J.R. Grady produces large flavors in his small corner restaurant in downtown Port St. Joe. Customers lounge on the patio at Dagwood’s Delicatessan listening to Southern rock ’n’ roll while enjoying fresh ingredients.
“We make everything from scratch here,” Grady said. “We don’t buy anything ready made.”
His Bayou Shrimp Taco is a case in point, with fresh produce, shrimp and a nice kick from the semi-spicy sauce. Naturally, the style hails from his roots.
“It’s more Southern than California,” Grady said.
Other items to try include his homemade chips with a bacon dip and the incredible Irish Cuban Sandwich consisting of pastrami, pepper jack and white cheddar cheeses, slaw and jalapeño cream cheese on toasted French bread.
Provisions (222 Reid Street)
For those who worry about carbs — you might want to rethink that during Taco Week — stop at Provisions for their Chicken Lettuce Taco Wrap. Provisions serves up grilled chicken, lettuce, sliced carrots and cucumbers, sprouts, Asian-style noodles and a delightful peanut sauce to be assembled by diners.
This dish reminded me of my California days during the Atkins craze when restaurants offered lettuce wraps everywhere. In addition to being a healthy alternative, it’s a refreshing break from tortillas.
Sweet Bunz (102 First Street)
Start your day with an Apple Pie sweet taco at Sweet Bunz, known for providing the Port St. Joe region with delicious donuts. The mother-daughter team has used croissant dough for the outside shell and filled their “taco” with an apple and walnut filling and topped it with homemade maple icing.
“I know you’re supposed to eat tacos with your hands but you’ll need a fork and knife for this one,” said co-owner Kristy Wingate.
Grill 19 (St. Joe Bay Golf Club)
The chef at Grill 19, owned by Provisions restaurant, was on the fence about what to offer during Taco Week and naturally we were all too happy to help. He served us crawfish two ways — sautéed with a touch of chipotle and pico de gallo slaw inside crunchy fried tortillas and fried crawfish inside soft tortillas. Tough decision. We suggested serving both and letting the customers decide. (Okay, so yes, that was a cop-out.)
Grill 19 is located on the course at the St. Joe Bay Golf Club so it’s a great spot for natural views or an afternoon on the greens.
Uptown Raw Bar (Downtown Port St. Joe)
There’s three tacos to choose from here: shrimp tacos, Mahi Mahi fish tacos and a chicken mango-habanero chicken taco. Whatever you choose, know there will be plenty of hot sauces and other accoutrements on your table to accent your dish.
Uptown Raw Bar is known for its oyster bar where waiters shuck oysters before your eyes, its grouper sandwich and other fresh seafood and soon, more meat options. “We’ve captured the seafood market so now we’ll have the best steaks,” said co-owner Christian Johnson.
The Brick Wall Bar & Grill (Downtown Port St. Joe)
I couldn’t help but feel my alma mater pride rise as I entered The Brick Wall, a lively space with SEC flags hanging and sports on the TV. I didn’t belt out the LSU fight song but I wanted to sing after tasting the Sassy Shrimp Tacos, large fried shrimp topped with Sriracha aioli, chipotle sour cream, avocados, cheese and lettuce that’s served open faced. This taco’s large enough for a lunch meal and a bargain at only $5.
KrazyFish Grille (113 Monument Avenue)
Mark Haddock took an old service station and turned it into a colorful dining establishment with surf boards on the wall, Patron tequila light fixtures and tables built from river bottom cypress. He’s known for his blackened grouper tacos and the Mac and Cheese BBQ Burger consisting of fried mac and cheese as the bun, barbecue sauce, gouda cheese and lettuce. KrazyFish Grille’s drink menu is as colorful as his walls.
For Taco Week, Haddock’s serving up Aloha Shrimp Taco, crunchy fried shrimp with a fresh slaw and a delectable sauce.
Shipwreck Raw Bar (7008 W. Hwy 98)
The Port St. Joe region is known for its tupelo honey, so Shipwreck Raw Bar serves up their Bee Sting Shrimp Tacos with a drizzle of Florida’s finest. The tacos combine fresh Gulf shrimp with tupelo honey, a spicy lime slaw and a bit of pepper to resemble a bee sting, the owner explained. Once it stops burning, it feels really good. Since I hail from Cajun Country, I adored the burn.
Just like every restaurant we mentioned, go for the tacos at Shipwreck but stay for the other menu items. Shipwreck serves up oysters and shrimp done several ways, shrimp and grits and fresh grouper.
For more information on Gulf County Taco Week or visiting Port St. Joe, visit www.VisitGulf.com.
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This article was written by Cheré Coen.
Thanks to Port St. Joe for hosting us on a FAM trip to taste these delicious dishes ahead of Gulf Co. Taco Week.
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