Bluegill Restaurant may be best known for its flaming oysters, but there are other menu standouts served along with live music and amazing sunset views.
Location: Bluegill Restaurant, 3775 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort, Alabama
Menu: Diners enter the weather-beaten eatery beside the busy oyster shucker with dozens of plump beauties on the grill. It’s hard to think of anything else until you see the enticing menu filled with dozens of Southern and Gulf-themed items.
Some of the appetizers hint of New Orleans, such as gumbo, crawfish royal and voodoo shrimp, while others reflect Bluegill’s location on the backwaters of Mobile Bay. Plenty of fried choices beg for attention, like pork rinds, onion rings, green tomatoes and pickles, but the loaded fries and smoked tuna dip also have their fair share of loyal customers. The flaming oysters are drizzled with white wine and plenty of melted butter, then topped with Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Their reputation for deliciousness is completely justified.
If you’re not in the mood for seafood, then chicken, pork chops and barbecue tacos are ready, but you know you want to sample the fried alligator plate in order to brag to your friends back home. After I’ve shared a dozen oysters, then the Bluegill Platter is my personal favorite entree. It consists of oysters, fish and shrimp which can be grilled, fried or blackened. Corn fritters and sweet potato casserole for sides make the platter full of fresh, sweet and savory flavors. Po Boys, burgers and other sandwiches are available if you’re looking for lighter fare.
The Brookie is a signature dessert worth the calories. It consists of a rich chocolate brownie mixed with chocolate chip cookie dough served hot with vanilla ice cream then drizzled with a chocolate sauce and chocolate chips for a quadruple chocolate punch.
Bluegill Restaurant hosts Causeway Cocktail Hour Tuesday through Friday afternoons with specialty cocktails, draft beers, house wines and value-priced appetizers.
Thoughts: Bluegill Restaurant has been serving diners since 1958. The original location was a few miles down the Causeway and managed to survive both Hurricane Camille and Hurricane Frederic before owners decided to relocate to its present spot. Hurricane Katrina brought five feet of water to the interior of Bluegill in 2005, but once again, owners remodeled and reopened to the delight of area diners.
Elvis Presley is one of the famous customers of the past. The story is shared that before he was famous, he came to play at the Mobile County Fair and was paid a whopping $300.00. He used some of that money to eat at Bluegill. A booth is set up with Elvis memorabilia for diners who want to remember that occasion.
Live musical entertainment is a nightly feature at Bluegill and occasionally for the weekend lunch crowd. The website provides a calendar for those who want to follow a particular performer. Dress is casual, and there are many options for private parties both large and small. In the cool winter months, the outside porch areas are comfortable, thanks to roll-up doors and tall kerosene heaters. Flat-screen televisions allow you to follow favorite sports teams. Strings of white and colored lights plus festive flying fish windsocks add to the fun, lively atmosphere.
For those who choose to arrive in the late afternoon, the weather is often just right for a beautiful, swoon-worthy sunset. The colorful sky over the bay with the city of Mobile in the distance is indeed a calming and unforgettable sight. Boats of all kinds are likely to drift by while you’re dining.
Bluegill Restaurant’s menu and decor reflect its location in this part of Alabama perfectly.
Price range: Appetizers are $5-10. Salads are $6-10, and sandwiches are $9-12. Entrees are $14-19.