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 jalape?os 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.
Since his grandfather opened up a restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1905, A. J. "Poppy" Tusa's family has remained in the restaurant business for more than a century. Poppy continues his family's traditions of providing hospitality and authentic Louisiana flavors at Poppy's Crazy Lobster Bar and Grill, where the chef and his crew boil Cajun-style seafood by the pound, assemble towering po' boy sandwiches, and pan-sear blackened Maine lobsters.
Though the food is fresh and flavorful, the restaurant's main draw may be its seaside dining room and dockside patio. Fishermen and generous mermaids can even bring in their freshly caught fish, and the kitchen will cook it up for them. There's live music and entertainment, and the full bar's mojitos, hurricanes, and beers add to the tropical environs.
Captain Larry maneuvers the Sea Blaster??a 73-foot speedboat??on four different cruises in the Gulf, departing from the HarborWalk Village. Dolphin cruises speed through the water during the day, coming up close to dolphins as they leap out of the sea in an effort to distract humans while they steal their sunglasses. With the addition of snorkeling, passengers strap on a simple breathing apparatus and paddle through the crystalline waters. Others spy dolphins during the sunset cruise, as the horizon burns pink and orange, or watch fireworks burst over the water from the Sea Blaster?s deck every Thursday evening.
San Gelato Café creates Italian confections the proper way, using ingredients and equipment imported from Italy. The shop offers more than 20 of flavors of gelato—including coconut, apple pie, and tiramisu—as well as more than a dozen types of sorbet, in fruit flavors such as banana, pineapple, and papaya. Additionally, the flavor selection always includes gluten-free and dairy-free options. These sweets can be paired with Italian coffee or fresh paninis, wraps, and pizzas.
There are plenty of reasons to come to Groovy Grouper Grill, including its menu. The adventurous bill combines culinary influences from Asia, Central America, Louisiana, and other hubs into dishes that might include meatloaf sliders with chimichurri, flatbread with smoked sirloin and bourbon glaze, or banana creme brulee. Revelry in the space is augmented by hand-crafted cocktails as well as wines from around the world. The space may also fill with pulsing music late into the evening.