Oyster House for its char-grilled oysters,
Louisiana Lagniappe, also in Destin, for
its redfish, and Seagar’s Prime Steaks &
Seafood at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf
Resort & Spa for its three-tiered seafood
tower. He also counts Seagar’s as having an
exceptional wine list.
“We offer a custom menu and access
to our collection of more than 600 wines,”
said Dan Vargo, executive chef at Seagar’s.
“Here, we stress sourcing local products,
from basic ingredients to seasonal items.
Everything we use to prepare our menu
items is fresh and comes primarily from
Panama City Beach
“We are all about the Gulf seafood here,
mixed with Southern and Cajun influences,” said David Demarest, public relations
manager for Visit Panama City Beach.
Demarest said planners can look forward
to Cajun blackened grouper, red snapper,
flounder, mahi-mahi, fish tacos and bay
scallops at such popular spots as Capt. An-
derson’s, recognized as the “Best Seafood
Restaurant” by Southern Living magazine.
Yonnie Patronis, one of the owners of
Capt. Anderson’s, said catering to groups,
no matter how large, is easy.
“In almost 50 years we’ve gone from
4,000 square feet to nearly 40,000 square
feet, and can seat more than 700,” he said.
“The highlight of this restaurant is that
people love to sit right up front and see
the fishing boats unloaded,” he continued.
“That’s where 90 percent of our seafood
Patronis prides himself on buying
whole fish such as grouper, pompano and
amber jack, to name a few, right in his
Other local finds popular with groups
include The Boar’s Head Restaurant &
Tavern, opened 35 years ago; Andy’s Flour
Power Cafe & Bakery, owned by John Cer-to, a third-generation chef from New York
City; and Firefly, whose chef, Derrick Lang-ford, considers as strictly farm-to-table.
The prevalence of owner-operated
restaurants that also offer catering is a plus
for meeting planners, Demarest said.
“Many of Panama City Beach’s best chefs
also own their own restaurants. This gives
them tremendous flexibility when it comes
to catering group functions and allows
meeting planners to offer their favorite
local cuisine to their guests,” he said.
Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, has some really wonderful local restaurants for groups
to enjoy, said Janet Roach, CGMP, meetings
and conventions director, Visit Tallahassee.
“We’ve also had three local restaurants
win the Golden Spoon award by Florida
Trend magazine,” Roach said.
One establishment, Food Glorious Food,
adds Southern classics like collards, cheese
grits, seafood and Andouille sausage to its
traditional fare; Zin & Sin serves venison
Brunswick stew, Florida blue crab cakes
and pecan-encrusted trout. The restaurants’ “Sin” dessert menu features such
decadent items as Southern Comfort butter
pecan cake and brown sugar bourbon cake.
Meanwhile, Cypress Restaurant is known
for its creative use of ingredients such as
sugar cane, fennel, okra and goat cheese.
Eugene, Ore.-based Sixel Consulting
Group’s 100 attendees met at the Hotel
Duval this past April.
Terri Campbell, director of travel ser-
vices, said “The Hotel Duval provided a
reception on their Level 8 Lounge, which
offers spectacular sunset views overlooking
The appetizers included an avocado
pancake with masala shrimp and creme
fraiche, grouper fingers with Cajun
remoulade and coconut shrimp with
The group also enjoyed a dinner at the
stately, private Governors Club, steps from
the state Capitol, where, she said, “tropical
salsas merged with Southern fare of Florida
cobia and cheesy grits.”
Campbell also cites The Edison, housed
in the 1921 City Electric Building, featuring
terraced dining overlooking Cascades Park.
“They offered paella, steak kebabs and
pita, accompanied by sweet potato puree
and charred Brussels sprouts, finished
with key lime brulee and coconut macaroons,” she said.
For a casual evening, she recommends
Proof Brewing Co., which features a state-of-the-art, 20-barrel brew house in Railroad Square Art Park. Brews and sangrias
accompany Taco Republik’s signature tacos
and custom guacamole bar.
“As a vegetarian, all venues offered selections to satiate my palate,” she said, adding,
“Tallahassee offers conference attendees
a variety of culinary experiences within
venues as unique as the food.”
CHEF DAN VARGO, SEAGAR’S PRIME STEAKS & SEAFOOD, DESTIN
CAPT. ANDERSON’S, PANAMA CITY BEACH
EMERALD COAST CVB
PANAMA CITY BEACH CVB
VISIT SOUTH WALTON
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