Grayton Seafood Co. Is the Local's Choice
February 26, 2018 by Manny Chavez
When Kenny Griner was a young boy, he learned to throw a cast net and soon developed a love for all things Seafood.
He opened Chet's Restaurant in Pensacola 25 years ago but made the decision to go smaller with his latest venture, Grayton Seafood Co. (GSC). Nestled in the shops of Uptown Grayton, his pride and joy has quickly taken on the reputation as the place to go for the freshest in seafood offerings.
“I’ve always wanted to live and work here in Grayton and I thought opening a smaller restaurant would be easier. Turns out I’m working harder, but I’m having more fun here,” laughs Kenny.
“In the mid sixties I grew up visiting my Grandfather in Niceville and we’d go mullet fishing on the bay or cobia fishing on the Gulf. As my Grandfather would often say, ‘any man who grows up on the water has no reason to go hungry’. So, crabs, oysters, shrimp, all things seafood was just part of our daily table fare.”
Grayton Seafood Co. only offers locally-sourced seafood served in a very low-key setting. Oyster sack curtains adorn the windows and if you order a cold tallboy beer it will be served in a paper sack wrapper. There’s nothing fancy about Grayton Seafood Company UNTIL your food arrives.
Thanks to Cordon Bleu chef Andy Brown, your first bite will convince you you’ve come to the right place. The daily chalkboard specials are determined by what’s available and fresh that morning. The off-the-menu crab cakes have become a local favorite. Discerning mullet lovers are in for a special treat at GSC.
“Our fried mullet with cheese grits is one of the greatest things on earth,” muses Kenny. “Mullet is very unforgiving…it has to be caught that day and we don’t even clean the fish until we get the order. The minute you fillet a mullet, the clock is ticking...you’ve GOT to cook and serve it fresh.”
Kenny is what you would call a hands-on restaurateur. He is in constant motion either greeting, seating, or shucking oysters. His friendly chatter will have you hooked from moment one. The restaurants house cat, “Bagheera,” can usually be seen occasionally peeking into the side door, wondering what’s on tap for the day.
Raw oyster lovers will rejoice in “Half Shell Happy Hour” held Wednesday-Saturday from 4-6 p.m. Priced at $8.95 per dozen and paired with your favorite beer, this is as close as it gets to Oyster Heaven. Pulling on your favorite craft beer or tallboy and throwing down those slippery delights will make all things right in the world, at least while you’re at GSC!
Speaking of beers, GSC offers on tap local craft beers from the Grayton Beer Company, Oyster City, and Idyll Hounds Brewery. As a self-professed “Pabst-Blue-Ribbon-beer kinda guy,” Kenny has domestic beer lovers covered as well with tallboy selections including Old Milwaukee and Miller Highlife.
With the help of chef Andy, the wine offerings are nothing to sneeze at with a multitude of selections at hand.
Although seafood offerings are what most people flock to Grayton Seafood Company for, menu items also include a variety of “non-fish” items including burgers, chicken tenders, and a 16 oz. ribeye. Melt-in-your mouth desserts include New Orleans Pecan Bread Pudding with whiskey sauce, Kahlua Cake, and Crème Brulee.
Every Saturday from 11-3 p.m., shrimp lovers line up for their Saturday Shrimp Boil featuring boiled shrimp, corn, potatoes and andouille sausage for $12.95/lb. with half-priced oysters and City Drafts.
Kenny has taken “come as you are” to a new level with his first- Sunday- of- the- month Pajama Brunch…wear your jammies, order brunch and get FREE mimosas from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the other Sundays, the Sunday Funday Brunch offers Bottomless Mimosas for $7.95 with your brunch order.
“We have a fun local vibe going on and with my son, daughter, and son-in-law working here, I am full of gratitude just coming to work every day,” says Kenny.
New to the restaurant is a very social local happening, the Tuesday Night Music Club featuring local musicians with gumbo and jambalaya being served beginning at 4 p.m. Music gets hopping at 5. Belly up for $2 off Draft beers and $1 off wines.
Normally closed on Tuesdays, Kenny decided to try this music-inspired event and is glad that he did. “We are having huge turnouts for this event with locals rubbing elbows and having a good time,” explains Kenny.
SoWal locals and visitors have a multitude of restaurants to pick from and an excellent choice would have to be the Grayton Seafood Company. Whether you’re leaving the beach and still in shorts and flip flops or dressed up just for the heck of it, the down-home ambiance of the place will put you at ease and the food is always as fresh as it gets. Just talking with Kenny is always a trip, so check it out and find out for yourself what “Grayt Food & Tall Tales” is all about!
For more information, please call 850-213-3683. Open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday with Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Location: 50 Uptown Grayton Circle (across from Another Broken Egg). Web: www.graytonseafood.com.