FROM BREAKFAST TO DINNER, DAUPHIN ISLAND SERVES UP ISLAND EATS
Though Dauphin Island, Alabama may be best known for its sugar-white beaches with rolling dunes, the emerald green Gulf water and a mandatory laid-back state-of-mind, another of the town’s treasures makes a visit to this small barrier island even more tasty . . . the food.
The recently opened Oar House Restaurant serves up made-to-order sandwiches, thick burgers, and homemade soups in an airy nautical setting on Bienville Boulevard across from the public beach and pier.
Set high on pilings among a stand of old live oaks and towering palms, The Oar House makes its signature soups and focaccia fresh every day. The tomato basil soup and seafood gumbo are scrumptious, but the seafood chowder by Chef Joanna Day alone is worth the visit.
The full bar features Sam Adams and Stella Artois on draft, in addition to Yuengling and other domestic beers, and a variety of frozen and mixed adult drinks.
The warm honey brown and reddish tones of the antique heart pine floors at The Oar House are emphasized late each afternoon has the sun pours through giant window walls in the building’s rounded front. Guests wanting to catch the spectacular sunset over the west end of Dauphin Island may dine or sip a cool drink among the live oaks that grow up through the restaurant’s spacious back deck.
Set in a restored country-style home with a classic tearoom appeal, the Lighthouse Bakery on Chaumont Avenue is the sweetest place on Dauphin Island. The baker begins working on tasty creations hours before the sun rises over the east end dunes. She has to in order to meet the rush of customers each morning who come looking for the best pastries and omelets on the Alabama Gulf Coast.
The homemade cinnamon rolls and sweet Danish pasties are melt-in-your-mouth good, while made to order omelets come loaded with lump crab and other tasty add-ins. The Island’s best selection of specialty coffee drinks from Latte’, to Cappuccino and Espresso are also there for the sipping. Freshly made pies, cakes and a wide selection of hearty deli sandwiches are also on the Lighthouse Bakery’s old-style chalkboard menu.
Fishing boats and pleasure craft come and go outside of Barnacle Bill’s at the Dauphin Island Marina. Self-promoted as the "Best Food on the Island", this longtime local hangout serves up a selection of fried and grilled seafood specialties, and down home favorites from turnip greens and black-eyed peas, to sandwiches and burgers. In fact, the fried seafood platter, piled high with golden brown shrimp, fresh fish from the Gulf, sweet scallops and old-style hushpuppies, may well be the best on the Island.
Old-fashioned comfort food combined with gulf-side decor and large waterfront windows, give Barnacle Bill’s a retro feel, like stepping back a decade or two, or maybe three, when life was slower and a family trip to the beach was the highlight of the year.
Flamingo Fae’s Beachside Grill and Tiki Bar at the Isle Dauphine golf course may be small in size, but it’s big on savory meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The tastefully tacky décor of inflated pink flamingos, beer signs, miniature faux palms and paper umbrellas add visual flavor, while the large windows open the room to a dune-top view of the sand and surf below.
Whether it’s the Big Kahuna breakfast, a basket overflowing with southern fried shrimp, or a char-grilled Black Angus T-Bone, Flamingo Fae dishes up a full menu with island gusto. For a real filler-upper, order the super-sized Surfin’ Joe Spud
with grilled chicken or succulent shrimp and Alfredo sauce to go with a generous beverage from the bar.
At the Island BBQ the meat is so tender that you can cut it with a fork, but who needs one? Guests to this little roadside treasure on Bienville Boulevard are more apt to dig in with both hands when munching on the best ribs around. The meat falls off the bone and the homemade barbecue sauce ends up in places that you’d never expect.
Diners on the flagged deck out front can’t help but take in the aroma of meat slow cooking on the smoker, while enjoying pulled pork, beef and chicken under the blue Alabama sky. Burgers and fries, old school potato salad, Brunswick stew and oh-so-sweet iced tea are also on the menu.
Dauphin Island is Alabama’s Family Beach ® with great fishing, great accommodations and great food.