I asked for your favorite coastal gumbo spots and you weren’t shy.
To recap: in an AL.com article last week I suggested six Mobile-area restaurants that would be fine places to start a quest for your new favorite gumbo: Wintzell’s Oyster House, Felix’s Fish Camp, Boudreaux’s Cajun Grill, Big Time Diner, The Lighthouse, Debris Po-Boys & Drinks.
Obviously that was a small sampling that didn’t reach far outside the Mobile city limits, so more suggestions were welcome. Gumbo partisans were motivated to respond by Twitter, Facebook and email. I did my best to round them up.
Four places racked up multiple votes, indicating that their gumbo really makes an impression. They are:
Wolf Bay Restaurant, 20801 Miflin Road in Foley, got several votes, with one writer saying “There are others that have good seafood gumbo, but Wolf Bay is the standard.” A note about the name: The original Wolf Bay Lodge in Elberta burned in 2008; now there are two Wolf Bay restaurants in Foley and Orange Beach. Fans of the original still refer to them as Wolf Bay Lodge. Their menu promises “A dark Creole roux based with shrimp, crab meat and fish.” www.wolfbaylodge.com.
Kraver’s Seafood, 25965 Ala. 181 in Daphne, also got multiple recommendations, including one from Barry Silverman, who couldn’t believe I left it out of the first story. But he was gracious about it. Thankfully, like most who responded, he didn’t call me an idiot for leaving out his favorite place. “There is shrimp in every bite, and it is delicious!” he said. Kravers has a location on Leroy Stevens Road in west Mobile, but gumbo fans seemed to favor the one on Ala. 181 in Daphne. kraversseafood.com.
Catalina Seafood, 14060 S. Wintzell Ave. in Bayou La Batre, was endorsed by several readers. A classic that’s still earning respect in the modern era, with a 2022 “Travelers’ Choice” honor from tripadvisor.com. Word to the wise: Their menu also lists crab bisque and oyster stew, an interesting option that you won’t find just anywhere.
Doc’s in Orange Beach also got multiple votes. As best as I can tell from online menus, their gumbo is served both at the original Doc’s Seafood Shack & Oyster Bar, 26029 Canal Road, and at the newer offshoot Doc’s Seafood & steaks, 24221 Perdido Beach Blvd. In a Facebook post back in early summer, the former venue threatened, “We’re going to serve you a seafood gumbo so good, you won’t be able to stop yourself from making noises while eating it.” Bring it on.
Other reader favorites, in no particular order:
The Original Oyster House, 3733 Battleship Parkway, Spanish Fort. “An old Mobile Bay recipe made fresh daily with crab meat, fish, shrimp and rich bacon rendered roux.” (There’s also a location in Gulf Shores.)
Market By The Bay, 29145 US-98, Daphne. This storied venue closed in June and just reopened with new owners at the end of October. “I think when word first came out probably the number 1 question was will the gumbo still be the same?” co-owner Garret DeLuca told WPMI-TV15. “The answer is yes, the gumbo will still be the same.”
Captain Frank’s Smoke Shack, 13876 S. Wintzell Ave, Bayou La Batre. (I was not expecting to feature any barbecue restaurants on this list but it’s in Bayou La Batre so there you go.)
Sea-n-Suds Restaurant and Oyster Bar, 409 East Beach Blvd. in Gulf Shores. This old-school beachfront venue boasts “a famous family recipe served for over 45 years,” using a family recipe they say was passed down for more than 200 years. Like Captain Frank’s, they’ll sell you a quart to go.
Gambino’s Original Italian Grill, 18 Laurel Ave. in Fairhope. If you can get gumbo at a barbecue restaurant, finding it on the menu at an Italian place should come as no surprise. Welcome to the Gulf Coast. This Fairhope mainstay has won a lot of award and as of this writing is Tripadvisor’s top-rated restaurant in Fairhope.
GT’s on the Bay, 26189 Canal Road, Orange Beach. “Shrimp, crab and Conecuh sausage simmered with vegetables and thickened with traditional dark roux.” Yeah, if you thought you weren’t going to find Conecuh in this list, you had another think coming.
Louisiana Lagniappe, 27267 Perdido Beach Blvd. in Orange Beach. It’s the Alabama branch of a Louisiana-themed restaurant that first opened in Destin, but they promise gumbo with “jumbo lump crabmeat, shrimp and oysters” – and on this list, oysters have been as rare as, um, pearls.
The Blind Mule, 57 N. Claiborne St. in downtown Mobile. Another version including Conecuh sausage. A fan offered a pro tip: substitute grits for rice.
The Shrimp Lady, 5523 US-43, Satsuma. “Chef Mike McKinley makes the best gumbo!” promised a believer.
Café Acadiana, 16137 Silverhill Ave, Silverhill. The menu promises your choice of “Acadiana style Gumbo: Shrimp & Okra, Crawfish & Okra, or seafood.”
Jubilee Joe’s Cajun Seafood Restaurant, 5190 Medford Drive Suite 114 in Hoover. Yes, Hoover. I didn’t set any geographic limits, so that’s on me. But Jubilee Joe’s offers “seafood gumbo, chicken & sausage gumbo, jambalaya, gumbo ya-ya, crawfish étouffée, red beans & rice, shrimp bisque, crab bisque,” so it doesn’t look as if they’re playing at this.
Greer’s Old Bay Market, 10835 Dauphin Island Parkway, Theodore. Speaking of Hoover, resident Buck Holt offered something a little outside the box: As an experienced coastal visitor, he lamented the recent demise of Bayley’s restaurant on the way to Dauphin Island but said you can find an alternative right next door: “Greer’s grocery next to Bayley’s has a deli lady that makes a delicious frozen gumbo — Marsha gumbo,” he wrote. “We don’t travel much when we get to the island & Marsha gumbo ‘hits the spot.’”
Lucy Greer, a representative from the fifth generation of the grocery chain’s family ownership, confirmed that “Marvelous Martha’s Shrimp & Chicken Gumbo” is indeed a thing, and that it can be found only at this particular Greer’s store.