Great Southern Café

For a restaurant to become a Seaside icon, it must have three things: a porch to sit on, a place to park your bike, and a recipe for excellence. That’s exactly what Chef Jim Shirley has been cranking out since he opened Great Southern Café in 2006 - quite a feat for a chef with four restaurants in SoWal alone.

The Bay, 45 Central and Meltdown on 30A are each wonderful in their own right, but it’s the front porch living and the chef’s appreciation for southern cooking that sets Great Southern apart from the rest.

Great Southern fuses Southern cooking with flavors from around the world using local produce from nearby farms and fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a place for seafood, steaks, veggies, handmade burgers, hearty Southern breakfast and cold drinks alike.  

Pimento Cheese served with warm pita bread represents the blending of culinary influences that Jim Shirley’s restaurants are so well known for. As do the nostalgic Soul Rolls, a blend of chicken, collard greens and peach chutney in a crispy wrapper. 

Chef Jim Shirley’s Grits a Ya Ya are famous. Blackened shrimp, Applewood-smoked bacon, spinach, Portobello mushrooms and cream are laid to rest on a bed of smoked Gouda cheese grits and topped with sweet potato hay. And if the grits are famous, then the fried chicken is a rite of passage. Mashed potatoes and gravy with a side of green beans pay homage to Southern Sunday dinners.


Great Southern Café earned a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2015, and Chef hand selects the wine list himself. One of the best happy hours in SoWal happens daily from 4-6, and the porch is the perfect place to relax and take in the scene.

Sunday brunch is a SoWal tradition, and Great Southern Café will start you off right with beignets and coffee, or a Bloody Mary and a Fried Green Tomato Benedict. Whichever way you roll, its guaranteed to be a great time.

Great Southern Café is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks on Central Square in the heart of Seaside. See menus and more at Find info on specials and upcoming events on Facebook. Front porch living never tasted so good. 

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Great Southern Café is a business partner and supporter of our community website covering South Walton and the Emerald Coast of Florida.

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