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Johnny Earles Joins the Team at Seagar's in Sandestin

January 23, 2012 by SoWal Staff

Seagar's Prime Steaks & Seafood has announced a culinary collaboration with Johnny Earles.

Johnny Earles' roots in Northwest Florida go back to 1983, when he opened his first restaurant, Paradise Café, in downtown Grayton Beach, where the Red Bar is currently located. Within a short period of time Earles gained national attention with the Washington Post, which named Paradise Café the best restaurant between Atlanta and New Orleans.

With that success under his belt, Earles built and opened his legendary Criolla's restaurant on Scenic 30A in Grayton Beach. Criolla's was in operation for twenty years. The restaurateur was featured in the New York Times, CNN, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Bon Appétit and every
major newspaper in the South.

In the early 1990's, Criolla's was closed during the shoulder season. Earles spent the fall and winter months working with Chef Martin Berasetegui in San Sebatian, Spain. 

He has also worked with New York City chefs he calls the leaders in Manhattan cuisine, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Palmer and Tom Colicchio, now the head judge on the reality TV show, Top Chef. These three chefs are considered amongst the top two dozen chefs in America. He was a four-time guest chef of the James Beard Foundation, the prestigious non-profit organization formed to preserve America's culinary heritage.

He has also been a guest chef at Harlan Estate and Miner Family Vineyards for the Napa Valley Wine Auction, as well as performing guest chef stints in Miami, Nashville, Cap Juluca on the Island of Anguilla, and most recently, at Bon Appétit Magazine in New York City.

"I am honored to have an opportunity to work with Seagar's at the Hilton Sandestin Beach," said Earles. "I look forward to a long-term relationship with Seagar's culinary team."

He further added, "I've always been envious of Seagar's unique ability to secure incredibly difficult wine labels for Seagar's, I will be able to match our new seafood creations, with an emphasis on fresh Gulf seafood, with appropriate wines not to be found at other establishments."

"Seagar's is pleased to have an opportunity to work with Johnny Earles and his stellar reputation for fine cuisine." said Gary Brielmayer, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa general manager. "With his award-winning talents, Johnny is going to bring another layer of experience to the restaurant and focus on new seafood creations to do, in effect, what Seagar's has already done with our established excellence in steaks."

Ben Rose, with Southern Wine & Spirits has done business with Seagar's for many years. He is in complete agreement with Brielmayer, adding, "This is exciting news for Seagar's. Not only do they have the most extensive wine cellar in Northwest Florida with their highly qualified server's wine pairing expertise, now Johnny Earles' influence in seafood will enable Seagar's to continue to raise the bar to new heights for their guest dining experience."

Since its opening in 1998, Seagar's has distinguished itself for its classic steakhouse offerings, creative seafood presentations with international influences, dramatic tableside  preparations and open-theater kitchen. Best known for its beautifully hand-selected and perfectly cut and presented USDA Prime steaks, award-winning Seagar's continues to be extolled by critics as of the of the finest dining destinations in the region. Seagar's is Destin's
only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant and only one of two in Northwest Florida.

None of the traditional offerings or service will change. Johnny Earles will provide his creative culinary inspiration, allowing Seagar's to include some new and exciting seafood offerings in addition to the traditional steak.

Seagar's Prime Steaks & Seafood is located on the lower lobby level of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.  Reservations are recommended.

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