The Factory bakes sizzling pizza pies and assembles an assortment of specialty ice-cream dishes in a classic checker-floored parlor atmosphere. Cooks paint Hunt Brothers pizza ($9.49/large) in selections from a palette of toppings, and Hunt Brothers wings ($2.79/5 pieces) play pranks on unsuspecting taste buds using buckets of zestily flavored heat-sauce. A specialty sundae puts out flavor fires with creamy scoops of Blue Bell ice cream slathered in syrups and more ($4.25). The Factory’s thick blended milkshakes cover a five-part flavor spectrum, from the familiar chocolate to the unsettled and constantly plotting conspiracy theories about melting that come with Mocha Madness ($3.45). To avoid overheating, hot dogs lazily recline on soft buns, appreciating the cool balm of relish and mustard ($1.50). Customers can also call in orders for pizza and wings and may request to speak to specific food items if they're available.
The balcony at Helen Back Again affords views of bustling Palafox Place below. As guests sun and people-watch, bartenders keep busy doling out ice-cold beers. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, fresh ingredients are tossed onto award-winning pizzas with a butter garlic crust lauded by writers from Esquire. Helen Back Again caters to bar and restaurant employees, and they have a deep and abiding appreciation for the military. Open 7 days a week, they host live entertainment as well as Military Night, Guys Night, Ladies Night, Bike Night, and Sin Night, in addition to broadcasting all sports games on a collection of HD televisions.
Not all 13-year-olds have the foresight to realize their life's calling, or the world would be full of unemployed professional puppy holders. Luckily for the foodies of Pensacola, Dan Pettis had a knack for his more practical dream. He started experimenting in the kitchen just before he entered high school, starting as dish washer and working his way up through the cut-throat world of the restaurant industry. At the top of the food chain, he is now both chef and owner at One 20 A Modern Bistro.
Here, he crafts a menu of innovative, fusion bistro cuisine, drawing inspiration from his southern roots and journeys to Southeast Asia and Japan. The artfully plated dishes take on southern accents with dishes such as blackened garlic sautéed shrimp accompanied by creamy cheese grits and mustard-rubbed pork chops with a side of braised collard greens. Whereas, international influences take the form of range-glazed tuna steak and stir-fried edamame.
Before plying his trade in Christiano's kitchen, owner and chef Chris Chirum worked as a chef for three decades, and his expertise shows in the menu's bounty of simple yet elegant meals. Several steps above workaday plates of pasta and meatballs, the dishes at Christiano's exude a handmade, pastoral aesthetic, with plates decorated with locally caught, whole-baked fish, racks of lamb in rosemary sauce, and four-cheese tortellini dumplings simmering in garlic butter sauce. A live pianist occasionally serenades diners as they feast on flaky Emerald Coast grouper or tomato-basil-topped linguine, making nights only slightly less sophisticated than an emperor penguin in a top hat.
Now in its 25th year, the Sandestin Wine Festival is one of the oldest and grandest gatherings of its kind, showcasing a multitude of events for vino enthusiasts and novices alike in the picturesque Village of Baytowne Wharf. Grape-adoring attendees will be able to sample more than 600 varieties of wine from all over the world during the festival’s Grand Wine Tasting, including sips from the winners' circle. Master vintners from more than 80 national and international vineyards will present their wares while educating observers about the intricate wine-brewing process, which includes selecting perfectly ripened grapes and assembling corks out of old monster-truck tires. Hungry oenophiles can head over to the culinary pavilion on the grand lawn, where edible exhibitions such as Food Treasures of Spain will be held. The festival will also include a retail tent, where wine-quaffers may purchase vintages to take home and enjoy with friends or to motivate fledgling backyard grapevines to grow faster.
Chef Quinlan draws upon his inspiration from coastal, Cajun, and Caribbean cuisines as he cooks at Poppy's Seafood Factory. His menu showcases entrees pulled from the Gulf Coast, such as lobster thermidor and fried shrimp, as well as boiled seafood feasts available by the pound—like British money or an absurd amount of American money. There are also plenty of steak and pasta dishes to go around, as well as an ample wine list.
Poppy, the owner, hails from New Orleans—a city known for both its good times and exquisite cooking. He came out of retirement to keep the good times rolling within the laidback, casual fine dining environment of his restaurant.