By Susan Benton
Seagrove Village MarketCafe has been serving up deep fried love on the corner of County Road 395 and 30A in the Florida Panhandle since 1949. This location once boasted the first official business in Seagrove – an Exxon gas station. Originally owned by the founders of Seagrove Beach, the McGees, customers would drive their Plymouths and De Luxe Fords from miles around to purchase gas and get fresh Gulf seafood along with one of the best burgers to be found. Fast forward 60 years and this iconic eatery has not changed, except its owners are now long time locals Ann and George Hartley who kept this culinary gem in its original state, adding only a few new recipes while keeping much of the tried and true the same. The Hartleys will tell you that the Seagrove Village MarketCafe is still running full steam ahead since the day George walked in to buy a Coca-Cola and then walked out with the business in 1998.
Generations of guests return each year to enter the gravel drive at the Seagrove Village MarketCafe, heading to the back of the store to order the grilled fresh Gulf fish of the day, shrimp tacos, fried oyster basket or the fried grouper sandwich named by Garden & Gun Magazine as “100 Things You Must Eat Before You Die!” Another popular menu item is the half-pound burger that patrons love to sink their teeth into, also voted the #1 Burger on 30A.
The atmosphere at Seagrove Village MarketCafe is an inviting throw back in time, and the perfect place to bring hungry beach goers donning wet bathing suits and sandy feet after a day in the sun. This causal family-friendly dive offers a spacious porch for dining outside and booths and tables for dining inside.
Peruse the market for kitschy souvenirs and classic Seagrove Village MarketCafe merchandise including t-shirts, hats, koozies, ice, cold drinks, sunscreen and much more. You won’t want to leave without taking home one of the best key-lime pies on the planet to savor.
Seagrove Village MarketCafe is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information call (850) 231-5736 or visit their website at www.seagrovevillagemarket.com.