The Thirty-A Review September 2020

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Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant & Waterfront Market Landmark Restaurant Continues to Celebrate Milestones Alongside Generations of Customers and Friends b y Te s s F a r m e r

Patronis is also involved in the daily operations and is the restaurant’s resident wine sommelier. “There’s the Cap-

tain’s Cellar selections, which offer unparalleled wine varieties. Here you’ll find some of the most unique regions and wine makers,” says Anna Patro- nis. “The wine club offers three memberships with one thing in common: each comes with a collection of very rare highly-allocated wines and/or champagne val- ued higher than the cost of membership.” Members also have a chance to participate in the annual trip to Champagne, France for tours, tastings and education from the top wineries there. Plus, throughout the year, all Capt. Anderson’s Wine Club members save on wine and champagne purchases and receive insider offers on rare wines as they become available. “For the wine aficionados, locals and visitors alike, it’s a perfect match, plus some really wonderful friendships have been made over the years,” says Anna Patronis. “I’ve watched children sitting in high-chairs who are now putting their own children in high-chairs,” adds Yonnie Patronis. “There are couples who celebrate each and every anniversary with us. We are proud to continue to offer the family-oriented service and the freshest food, and plan on doing so for many more years to come.” 5551 North Lagoon Drive, Panama City, (850) 234- 2225; Monday – Saturday, Restaurant opens at 4 p.m. Seafood market opens at 3:30 p.m.

Wine Locker

C apt. Anderson’s has become synonymous with family tradition. Serving local seafood for all and marking special occasions for visitors for over 53 years, the waterfront restaurant has become a community beacon on the marina in Panama City Beach. “We come as a big family to Capt. Anderson’s every June for my brother’s birthday… It’s his request each year that we all meet there, and he always gets the steak and lobster,” says Kansas Pitts, Santa Rosa Beach resident. “It’s a true experience, with the kids getting to watch the fishing boats come in and all the fish caught that day. It’s become a special place for our family… and of course the crab claws and homemade desserts are amazing!” Two brothers, Jimmy and Johnny Patronis, took over the restaurant in 1967, which was then a small breakfast house; and with hard work and dedication created what it is today. Patriarchs of both their families and the community, both were successful businessmen and philanthropists in Panama City and beyond. Jimmy Patronis, Sr. passed away this January (2020) at the age of 88; Johnny is 91 and still stops in at the restaurant to visit with guests. The second and third generations of the Patronis’s family now run the restaurant, which has grown to seat 725 and serving dinner six nights a week to over 250,000 guests during the eight-month season. This classic restaurant has always believed in quality and simplicity. No heavy sauces are used here. As Johnny Patronis explains, “Nothing should drown the natural

goodness of fresh, fresh fish. Just let it absorb a little of the aroma of oak from the coals… drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil… a squeeze of lemon… maybe a touch of oregano and serve it while it’s still hot. You know, we were the first on this coast to cook like this over real hardwood coals. But on the coast of Greece where my family grew up, it has been a tradition for hundreds… maybe thousands of years!” Add fresh baked bread and a perfect bottle of wine and it’s a true culinary experience. When it comes to Panama City Beach restaurants, Capt. Anderson’s is among the elite, consistently winning the best restaurant and best seafood categories in Bay County; it was also recipient of the “Best Seafood Restaurant” award from Southern Living magazine. Capt. Anderson’s is one of those rare family restaurants that not only survives, but strengthens and improves through the years. Every year the restaurant has witnessed remarkable growth without loss of quality. It’s also the only Bay County restaurant to receive Wine Spectator’s 2020 Award of Excellence, and has been an annual recipient since 2005. Yonnie Patronis, one of Jimmy’s four sons, has been instrumental in this element of the restaurant’s success which led to the founding of Capt. Anderson’s Wine Club in 2017. “This doesn’t feel like a job for me, it’s a true joy and passion,” says Yonnie Patronis. “The relationships built in this building over the years are very powerful, it’s like one big family, everyone knows each other and supports each other.” His daughter Anna

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