Five years ago, Orange Beach, Alabama got a one-of-a-kind restaurant along Perdido Beach Boulevard. Completely outdoor-based and made from 27 recycled shipping containers all painted in a matching Azure blue, The Gulf in Orange Beach is a standout restaurant that is hard to miss for all the right reasons.
Capitalizing on the growing trend of farm-to-table, the utilization and sourcing of ingredients are only a few of the things that make The Gulf unique, which is why it was our first stop on the Alabama Gulf Coast Tour hosted by Geiger & Associates Public Relations and the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism Department. The tour is meant to highlight the island communities’ emerging culinary scene with stops at some of the most renowned restaurants along the Gulf Coast.
The Gulf Restaurant has a chef-driven menu that changes daily based on what may be available from the fresh market truck that delivers to the outdoor eatery, with multiple changing seafood options each week. Though some menu items are fan-favorite staples, patrons can also enjoy multiple different chef specials daily, making the menu diverse and exciting no matter how many times you have dined.
With a trendy, yet relaxed, environment, The Gulf General Manager Bryan Hentes says they aim for a fast-casual environment with a no-pressure serving staff. This ensures patrons can relax and enjoy a Mojito while watching the waves roll in, without the added pressure to purchase additional menu items.
If it isn’t clear yet, The Gulf takes food and drink very seriously. There are absolutely no freezers on the property of the restaurant. Every ingredient is fresh, locally sourced, and hand-cut and prepped each morning. The food isn’t the only star; however, the bar also lives up to the beachfront brand’s expectation.
We had the pleasure of sampling a large variety of menu items, courtesy of The Gulf, and it was nothing short of fantastic. Again, the menu changes daily, but some of the items our tour group tried included the Chicken Chipotle Taco Bowl, Shrimp Street Tacos, Seared Gulf Mahi, Steak Frites, Fried Grouper Sandwich, Signature Hand-Cut Fries and the Shrimp Roll. Now, what would I recommend to future visitors?
All of it. Usually, when you find yourself at a restaurant tasting, it’s easy to pick a clear menu favorite—at The Gulf that just wasn’t possible. Every single dish was bursting with a fresh and intensely delicious flavor that is perfectly complemented with a fresh drink and the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
Five years ago the bar had only 5 drinks on the menu using all local ingredients, and now that the menu has expanded vastly, while the commitment to quality still remains.
The most popular drink on the menu? The Bacardi-based Mojitos are hands down the number one drink at The Gulf. Does it live up to expectation? I can personally testify it does! While touring, I ordered a Lime Mojito and the flavor was incredibly refreshing and flavorful. With plenty of varieties from which to choose, the Mojito is a great option, but don’t forget the signature Bloody Mary made from infused vodka created in-house.
As you may have already deduced, I loved The Gulf. Not only for the many delicious food and drink options, but also for the small quirks that make the space unique, inviting and trendy. The Gulf has over 500 records that are played on a turntable, providing the music for the outdoor eatery with a sound that is authentic and different. It also has a wall that is affectionally coined “Love Locks,” which allows patrons to attach their lock of choice to the wall and throw the key into the ocean, signifying their commitment and love for one another.
I would not only recommend The Gulf as a destination point, but I would go further and say it’s a must-see when visiting. I’m not alone in that recommendation. During the busiest seasons of tourism, The Gulf can see upwards of 1,000-2,000 visitors every day. But fear not, it’s a beautiful and spacious venue that has a little something that everyone will love.
The Food Channel toured The Gulf as part of an initiative sponsored by the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism Department, hosted by Geiger & Associates Public Relations, Inc.