Chef John Sallman Revives Beach Walk Café at Henderson Beach Inn

October 22, 2011 by Susan Benton

An old haunt on the Destin food scene, Beach Walk Cafe, has come to life recently with the appointment of Executive Chef, John Sallman. A Florida native, Chef Sallman is taking Beach Walk by storm and making many changes to resuscitate what used to be one of the area's premier restaurants. 

Bringing his culinary skills to the forefront, and using the Gulf of Mexico as his inspiration, Sallman has managed to create an enticing and exciting menu which changes frequently and is based on local seasonal ingredients whenever possible. Chef Sallman is also happy about Beach Walk’s recently acquired liquor license and newly revamped wine menu.

Plans are already in the works for several incredible chef tasting menus including wine pairings set for fall. On a recent trip to Beach Walk Cafe, I was able to experience one of Chef Sallman’s tastings. I arrived and found the dining support staff to be more than professional, and was pleasantly surprised by my waiters’ knowledge of the menu, wine list, as well as his personal interest in wine. Chef Sallman and his recently appointed Sous Chef Dedrick Gibson make a young energetic team with a playful spirit that is highlighted in the food presentations.

The first course was perfectly seared fois gras, topped with a poached egg nestled on a bed of French toast with bacon crisp, and what Sallman described as “breakfast for dinner.” I was transported to a culinary dreamland, of which I did not want to return. The second course of dueling tartares, one being tuna and the other filet, were fresh, hip and played well off each other just like Sallman and Gibson. The final presentation of chocolate – chocolate cake by well-known area Pastry Chef Charles Lee, took dessert artistry to another level and then I realized with disappointment that the meal had come to an end.

Beach Walk Cafe is located in The Henderson Beach Inn and has unobstructed panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. The beauty found in the surroundings as well as the food makes this a well-rounded culinary experience you will not want to miss. They are open nightly for dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m., and reservations are recommended.

The restaurant is the perfect setting for a romantic dinner, and Beach Walk Cafe also offers catering for special events, such as weddings and corporate functions. The “toes in the sand” dinner is yet another option for guests, with beachfront dining available with advance notice.

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Susan Benton

A Gulf Coast native who now calls SoWal home, Susan spent much of her childhood traveling the world as the daughter of a Naval officer. Susan is known for her connection to area chefs, and her passion for promoting local farmers, businesses and artisans.

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