When we were on vacation a couple of weeks ago, we asked a few Destin locals where we should go to get some good fried shrimp. They all assured us that Dewey Destin's was the place to go. They didn't steer us wrong! Most of the time asking a local is the best way to find the really good places to eat. It won't take you long to know if you're talking to a real foodie. If you ask a resident for a restaurant recommendation, and they start to rattle off the name of all the chain eateries in town, politely thank them, and move on. However, if you ask a local, and the first sentence is something like this - "Well, it doesn't look like much, but the best food in town is at this little place where we all like to go" - then listen up! You've probably found what you're looking for!!
There are two Dewey Destin's locations. The older location is literally "a hole in the wall"on the bay, as we were "warned" by a couple of its regulars, who highly recommended it. The second location is just recently completed and is on the wharf. It is what I term casual dining. The contrast between the two atmospheres is stark, but the menu and food are the same. We loved them both! It just depends on what kind of dining experience you are looking for. The kids both said they preferred eating on the peer at the original "hole in the wall" location best. It was the pick of the locals we spoke with, as well.
We did have a bit of trouble when we went to eat at the newer location. Our waitress initially refused to serve us. Fortunately, I caught on pretty quickly, covered the Ole Miss logo on my shirt with my hand, and she was appeased. :) She is a sweet and funny young lady who plays soccer for the Gators. She's a great little waitress, too!
Now, let me tell you a bit about the food. Dewey Destin's fried shrimp is simply some of the best we've ever eaten! We also loved the stuffed shrimp. They're available fried or broiled. Both were excellent. The key lime pie was very good, too.
The owner of the restaurant, Dewey Destin, is a descendant of the family who founded the city. Dewey Destin's is one of the restaurants featured in the current Taste of the South magazine. Be sure to check it out!
If you're planning on spending a few days in Destin, we highly recommend that you eat at Dewey Destin's on your first day. This will give you a chance to eat there again during your trip, because we're pretty sure most of you will be like us. One order of Dewey's fried shrimp won't be enough!
Another one of our favorite items at Dewey Destin's is the Crab Dip. In the words of Rachel Ray, "Yum-o!" Below is a crab dip recipe I've made for years. It always gets rave reviews! I originally got the recipe from Carol T. Carol is a great cook and sweet friend. Thanks for this recipe, Carol! It has brought much pleasure to our family over the years!
Hot Crab and Cheese Dip
2 - 8 oz. cream cheeses
6 tablespoons milk (I don't usually add the milk.)
1 T. finely chopped onion (I sometimes substitute 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder.)
1/2 t. horseradish
dash or two of garlic powder
1 or 2 cans of lump crabmeat, drained (I usually use one.)
4 T. grated Parmesan cheese (I use about 3/4 cup, divided)
Combine first 5 ingredients (and I add about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese); fold in crabmeat. Spoon into a greased 4-cup baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers.