Emeril's Coastal Italian an Immediate Hit in Grand Boulevard
September 3, 2017 by SoWal Staff
Grand Boulevard is billed as Sandestin's "Town Center", and has matured into a destination unto itself with national brands, world-class events, and notable local businesses. It's an eclectic and upscale mix of offices, restaurants, and shopping.
The recent opening of Emeril's Coastal Italian at Grand Boulevard was one of the most anticipated events in SoWal for quite some time. Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden moved to the area a few years ago and have kept fairly low key. It was rumored they wouldn't open an establishment here, wanting to enjoy the quiet beach life and excellent schools for the two kiddos. But quiet and Lagasse do not play well together.
Emeril's newest restaurant in Grand Boulevard is a great fit for the area and for the dozen other restaurants in Grand Boulevard. It's already a major draw and on a recent visit, there were lots of folks waiting on tables and enjoying the large bar in the center of the amazing dining area with unique decor. Reservations accepted and recommended - call 850-608-7040!
Chef Emeril Lagasse, photo courtesy Emeril's Home Base
“The interior space and design of the restaurant was as much of a priority as the menu itself,” says Emeril.
The décor, inspired by Alden Lagasse’s vision for an approachable yet elegant atmosphere, merges Italian and coastal influences. The design team included interior designer Susan Lovelace (Alden's cousin), ASID from Lovelace Interior, design associates Brooke Williams, and interior design assistant Amber Miller. Also, architects Geoff Chick & Jeff Margaretten.
The Lagasses chose Landon Lott of New Orleans to be the featured artist showcasing his larger-than-life murals as a main focal point. The neutral color palette, furnishings and dramatic lighting create a sophisticated yet casual ambiance that balances the bustling open kitchen and lively rectangular bar and café.
Emeril has may awards as a chef, and extensive experience, but is best known for his outgoing personality. He became famous as a personable and warm showman, having appeared on many cooking TV shows, including the long-running Food Network shows Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril. Emeril's collection of media (including 19 best-selling cookbooks), products, and restaurants generates an estimated $150 million annually in revenue.
In 2002, Lagasse established the Emeril Lagasse Foundation to support children’s educational programs that inspire and mentor young people through the culinary arts, school food and nutrition and important life skills programs. Emeril and his wife Alden have been active with local charities and given generously of their time to Seaside Neighborhood School where Alden serves on the board. They helped establish a graden and outdoor kitchen at the school, and Emeril has contributed talent and promotion for many school functions to help the public charter school raise funds for operations and expansion.
Emeril’s Coastal Italian opens daily at 11:30 a.m., seven days a week offering one menu for both lunch and dinner.
The menu is Italian and local seafood-inspired, serving a variety of dishes from fresh pastas, flatbread pizzas and house made meatballs to a local fish special of the day, oysters Florentine and skillet Gulf shrimp. Emeril’s famous banana cream pie is featured on the dessert menu. Emeril loves to fish and heads out into the Gulf often to pull in the freshest fish. When he's pressed for time he'll hit the docks to peruse the latest catch.
“My team and I have had a lot of fun developing this menu and exploring all the amazing ingredients that the region has to offer. We are thrilled to open our doors and look forward to bringing an experience we can be proud of to our guests. We just try to make people a little happier leaving than when they walked in,” says Emeril.
Gulf Coast born and raised, Shane Quinlan is chef de cuisine of Emeril’s Coastal Italian and Ki Song An, a long-time Chef Emeril protégée, is the general manager. Shane has worked at several area restaurants and also thrilled palates as a personal chef.
Emeril’s Coastal Italian is located at 435 Grand Boulevard, next door to the Boulevard 10 Cinema. Both indoor and outdoor dining options are available. To learn more about the restaurant or to make reservations, call 850-608-7040 or visit www.emerilsrestaurants.com.