We arrived early, even for a breakfast joint, and took a few minutes to explore the colorful exterior of the location. Bayou Joe’s was on the must do list for my travel buddy Jamo, and he couldn’t wait to share it with me. So we left the condo early one morning and leaving the wives and kids still sleeping headed to the other side of Panama City to partake in a breakfast delight that Jamo remembered from an earlier visit to the area. The gate was open, so we strolled down a long boardwalk over the water and settled in the outdoor seating area over the bay, just beating the strong rays of a promising Florida scorcher of a day.
The server delivered menus and suggested we get a fried biscuit as a side item with whatever we decided on. It seems we were off to a good start. Any place with a desert named “Drunk & Ugly” has to be tried. Still, what sent Bayou Joe’s over the top was a small group of night employees from a nearby hospital, still in scrubs and coming off a 12-hour shift, showing up to officially kick off the very first 8 a.m. Happy Hour I have ever heard of. I’m sold on that unique slice of tailored customer service alone.
Our server, a seasoned veteran of waterfront dining, swung by our table and asked which breakfast item we had decided on. Jamo, someone who likes his breakfast and is not shy about it, ordered up a Garbage Omelet. A hearty dish consisting of pretty much everything that can be grown in a garden with a large hefty amount of shredded cheddar to help everything stay in place. I opted for the namesake Bayou Omelet filled with shrimp, fish, and cream sauce. Our patient matron committed our orders to memory and headed off to relay our requests to the cook, leaving us to admire the collection of artifactuals and miscellaneous paraphernalia adorning the only wall of our outside setting.
The dishes were served, the food devoured, and there was conversation aplenty stemming from the steadily more boisterous healthcare crowd and a couple occupying the next table over who were from East Tennessee as well. The fare was on par for a breakfast dive on the water. A little more pricey than I normally consider spending on breakfast, but considering the location, it’s not too out of line, and the fried biscuit was a treat all by itself. That said, I would definitely come back if the opportunity presented itself just to get some Drunk & Ugly, and I’m not talking about a corporate Christmas party.
© 2014 G. Scott Brinkley. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.