I have been traveling south to 30A in Florida for decades. I’m originally from Memphis and that’s where everyone went to vacation for Spring Break and summer. If we would have had a Fall Break back in the day we would have gone then too.
We don’t one favorite city to stay in, as long as it’s beachside and close enough to restaurants and shopping we are all in. This past October we headed South to Santa Rosa beach and stayed for a week. I have never traveled down there that late in the season and it’s my new favorite time of year. The beaches were sparse, the weather wasn’t unbearable, and we didn’t have a wait at a single restaurant. And if you have ever traveled with kids to the beach and tried to go out to dinner after spending all day at the beach you know kids can go from having a good time to crazy gremlins at the drop of a hat. So this in itself was a deciding factor to travel every year from now on at this time.
On our last night in town we stumbled into Grayton Beach for dinner at a newer restaurant Chiringo. Full disclosure I wish we would have gone earlier in the week because we would have come back nightly if we did.
By definition, Chiringo means 1: a small enterprise usually a bar, selling mainly drinks and tapas, sometimes meals in a more or less provisional building, often on a beach or loose surface where a more permanent structure may be unviable. And this name couldn’t be more perfect. From the rooftop, you can watch the sunset and the drinks are to die for.
It was a lively building with a Captain Hook statue outside and beautiful bright colors that instantly won over the girls. We were sat by the nicest hostess in a open aired dining room with views of the Gulf of Mexico and quickly greeted by our server, Aaron, and offered to get drinks. He rattled off a couple of their specialties like SAND WEDGE and CLOUD NINE but when he said Frose I was sold. It is the end of Frose season in Nashville but it appears Frose season is much longer down south. Another reason to retire here one day.
Girls had colors, we had drinks, so everyone was happy. We quickly placed an order for some appetizers like SNAPPER DIP, ALBONDIGAS, and RED BEET HUMMUS. I cant pick one as my favorite but if I had to it would be Snapper Dip. It was amazing and had a nice spice to it.
Apps were quickly delivered and we all started placing our orders. They had some great daily specials and if fish tacos are anywhere on the menu it’s automatically what I gravitate towards. We convinced hubs he had to have THE CATEGORY 5. I want you all to pay attention to the description I am about to tell you.
THE CATEGORY 5
- Two 6oz square grass fed burger patties w/pepper jack & white cheddar, divided by a fried Havarti mac & cheese patty, and topped w/creamy peanut butter, mango jam, crispy bacon, arugula, tomato and white onion WARNING: this item is not low in calories and is extremely high in flavor. Proceed with Caution.
Yes, you read that correctly and we convinced him to get it so we could taste it. And we didn’t leave disappointed. So if you make it down to Grayton or you are in a 200-mile radius, this is a must for you.
After dinner was over we actually opted out of dessert (big mistake I should have gotten a Lil’ Chubby because ice cream sandwiches are my jam) and instead decided just to do another round of drinks. I traded in my FROSE for a CLOUD NINE and we followed the kids downstairs to the play yard they have on the side. Now, this is where the real fun begins as a mom. Kids are fed and happy and there is entertainment.
I’m almost 95% positive most restauranteers are men and out of touch with what moms really want when trying to establish a family-friendly dining experience. I want to go to a restaurant and have a nice meal and good drinks and then I want to be able to have entertainment there for myself and kids so that once dinner is over we can stay until bedtime vs racing home to sit and wait for bedtime. Is that too much to ask? Well after visiting Chiringo I realize it’s not because they nailed it.
They have ample seating, yard games, projection TV screen, live musical occasionally, astroturf for kids to run around on and its close to the bar. Basically, this is what I imagine heaven to be like. We stayed out here until way past dark making friends with the locals and visitors and wishing our trip wasn’t coming to an end.
Chiringo, you outdid yourself and I can’t wait until our next vacation to be able to come back and visit. Better yet, your next restaurant needs to be in Nashville. Let’s make that happen.