Staff Size: 11–25 people
Average Duration of Services: 2–4 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Arcade, billiards, bowling, and a full bar
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.
With multiple locations throughout northwest Florida, Helen Back Cafe does its best to ensure that cold drinks and hot comfort foods are always nearby. The eateries' signature items are its hearty pizzas. These hand-tossed pies won the 2012 reader' choice poll for Best Pizza in Emerald Coast Magazine, and Esquire urged readers to visit and, "eat the best pizza you've ever shoved in your sunburned face."
With 17 toppings available—including everything from meatballs and jalapeños to chicken and onion—patrons are able to build their own custom pie from scratch. A small selection of sandwiches and other classic finger foods round out the menus, giving visitors snacks to nibble as they enjoy a frosty beer or cocktail from the bar and listen to the live bands on select Friday and Saturday evenings.
For Helen Back Cafe, keeping customers happy is almost as important as giving back to the communities it serves. The staff regularly provides donations to charitable causes, and Helen Back Cafe proudly supports The Special Ops Warrior Foundation, which helps the dependents of fallen soldiers continue advancing their educations.
Ed's Hometown Seafood and Steaks caters to the entire family with a menu full of seafood specialties, steaks, and burgers for lunch and dinner. Kids might get a kick out of watching the lobsters in the live lobster tank, while adults might enjoy picking which lobster could best drive a tank. The staff prepares other fresh seafood such as soft-shell crab, Bayou catfish, and seafood gumbo. They balance the menu out a bit by also searing tender baby back ribs and juicy steaks. An adjoining sports bar has a full-service bar and hosts monthly dart tournaments and poker nights.
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.
For more than two decades, Bud & Alley’s, winner of Florida Trend magazine's 2010 Golden Spoon Award, has sated appetites with steak and seafood fare and filled eyes with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. After taking a seat in the relaxed yet elegant dining room, guests peruse the dinner menu's tempting entrees, such as steamed Prince Edward Island mussels flavored with thyme, feta, and a kick of chili flakes on grilled tuscan bread ($24). Southern-inspired sides enhance seafood plates, from a seared red snapper teamed up with sweet dill succotash and okra ($31) to seared diver scallops paired with creamy grits, fried capers, and an edible bust of William Faulkner ($32). A fillet steak served with portobello mushrooms and asparagus ($33) sets the stage for a classic romantic meal as couples clink and enemies hurl martinis or glasses of wine across the table ($8+). A visit to the rooftop bar infuses meals with a festive mood as revelers enjoy spectacular ocean views and sample a selection of top-shelf tequilas from Jose Cuervo, Patrón, and Sauza ($9).