It is no secret that when we travel our number one objective is to find the absolute best restaurants in the town that we visit. We love Gulf Shores, in fact, we’ve written before about the fantastic restaurants that you will find when you visit the Alabama Gulf Coast.
There are 2 restaurants that are repeats from our other list because frankly they will always and forever be at the top of our must stop list when we are in Gulf Shores.
Lulu’s is the type of restaurant that you visit sort of hoping that there will be a wait. There is so much to do while their visitors are waiting that should you and your family arrive and be given a staggering wait time, I wouldn’t immediately say no. From sand for kids to play and dig in, to a ropes course of sorts, to a hurricane wind simulator and a gigantic gift shop, there is plenty to occupy your time. In fact, there wasn’t a wait for lunch, when we visited at lunchtime in early April, so my kids too part in the fun after we ate, and we practically had to drag them away from the fun they were having.
Trust me, the food is worth waiting for. In fact, Lulu’s is where my oldest son discovered his love for crab claws. Even though I had visited a handful of times previously I had never ordered the tuna dip appetizer. Pro Tip: Order the tuna dip with chips, it usually comes with saltine crackers. The crackers aren’t bad, but the chips don’t take anything away from the delicious tuna.
The Hangout is located right on the Gulf Shores public beach and much like Lulu’s it is a behemoth of a restaurant and for good reason. The food is exceptional and everyone knows it.
With tons of things to catch your eye throughout the restaurant, chances are, no matter the number of visits you will spot a new lunch box or matchbox car that you hadn’t noticed before.
The restaurant is absolutely family friendly during the day and evening up until about 10pm. Then the rowdier crowd tends to get…rowdy, plus it is probably for your kids to start winding down anyway, right?
Breakfast in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores Alabama
Brick & Spoon
Any place that has a mimosa flight is speaking my love language. So, from the moment that I walked into Brick & Spoon, I knew that I was in good hands.
Brick & Spoon is strictly a breakfast and lunch place. They open at 7am and close at 2pm (obviously double check before you go) and their specialty is unique breakfast fare and a wide range of burgers and sandwiches for the lunch hour.
I had the stuffed french toast and it was a good as it was pretty.
My youngest, lives for breakfast tacos and I will say because Brick & Spoon puts their own twist on things he was not expecting fried wonton shells as the taco shell. So, after some discussion, he took out the inside of the taco and ate it with a fork.
Brick & Spoon is also a mecca for bloody Mary lovers. With a build your own menu in hand as soon as you sit down, the possibilities are endless. If only I could get past my dislike of tomato juice…
City Donuts (Orange Beach)
Here’s the strategy for making sure that you are able to get donuts from City Donuts.
They open at 6:30 am and sell donuts until 11 or until they are sold out.
When you peel open your eyes at the first sign of sunlight streaming through your windows, get up. Throw on a hat and some sweat pants and flip flops and head over to get some donuts. Heck, go in your pjs, no one is going to care and half of the people waiting in line will have their pjs on too.
I got there relatively early, I think around 8:15 and it was packed, like standing room only, wall to wall people. My other tip would be to figure out what your group wants and send a designated donut person. It is a small store and because it gets so crowded, your whole family of 6 doesn’t need to come with you, place your trust in your donut getter.
When I left with our donuts, the line was out the door and nearing the point that it was going to start wrapping around the building.
There are a wide variety of donuts and I got 2 dozen assorted flavors. They were absolutely delicious, trust me here my family is made up of donut snobs. The best part? We got City Donuts for breakfast the day before we left. We had left overs, so on our ride home, they were delicious snacks.
We have passed the diner numerous times when we had been in town. If I am totally transparent I always wrote it off because I thought it seemed kitschy. I mean it is. It is a 50’s Diner. But it is totally awesome!
We had a huge breakfast on our way out of town, when we got there it was 7:30 am, and the other vacationers were presumably still in bed.
It was the perfect combo of a greasy spoon diner and a little cleaner place with a a bit of a gourmet twist on traditional breakfast food.
Another pleasant surprise about the Sunliner Diner was that they offered a ‘monster shake’ that have become so popular. We tried and tried during our visit to make it to the other place in town that specializes in crazy milkshakes but we couldn’t get the timing right. Luckily, the Sunliner Diner came through for us.
Lunch and Dinner options in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
Blue Water BBQ (located at The Wharf in Orange Beach)
When we read the description of Blue Water BBQ, we realized that we had failed our children. They had no clue what a cafeteria style restaurant was. Luckily a delicious lunch at Blue Water BBQ remedied that.
The prices were reasonable, and the portions were plentiful. When we stopped for lunch we had eaten a ton of seafood to this point, so it was refreshing to have something different.
Sadly, my kids still don’t know how work a jukebox. We are working on that.
Sea n’ Suds
Look, vacation is expensive and eating out only adds to that.
That’s where Sea n’ Suds comes in. With some of the most inexpensive food in the area, hello $4.50 hamburgers, this restaurant is a favorite for locals and tourists alike.
Which also means, you’ve guessed it, super long wait times.
The food isn’t gourmet, but no one expects is to be. It is good, basic fare that your kids are going to be happy with, everyone can find something they like (even if they are picky) and you won’t have to consider taking out a second mortgage on your home when the check arrives.
The other thing that you need to know is that the signage for Sea n’ Suds makes the restaurant appear as if it is located inside of a hotel.
It isn’t. In fact, it is on the beach, as in sits elevated above the sand and is in the middle of the action in Gulf Shores.
Trust me on this, don’t drive past this one.
GT’s on the Bay
When we arrived at GT’s the first thought I had, upon pulling up to the building was “crap, we are going to be way underdressed!” Once I got inside and put our names on the list, I realized that we were perfect just as we were, well in terms of our clothes!
My next thought was oh man, we have a lengthy wait, the kids might get restless. The hubs had spotted a pier around the back of the restaurant so he suggested taking the kids for a walk. It was then that we spotted the playground, and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Can I be really vulnerable here? My youngest is on the spectrum and long wait times at restaurants, combined with being tired from a day of exploring and being hungry can be a recipe for a disaster.
Beyond the beautiful views, the food was pretty good. My husband ventured away from seafood and had a burger, my oldest had crab claws (of course) and I had the fried fish platter. The fried fish platter was a bit surprising because it was chunks of fish almost like fish nuggets which I wasn’t expecting, but it was still decently good.
Another bonus from eating at GT’s is that I took maybe my most favorite picture of the whole trip. Check it out.
Original Oyster House
This spot is a local favorite. If you want to avoid waiting an hour or more and more often than not wait times North of two hours, then I suggest going for an early dinner.
To be honest, it wasn’t our favorite spot in town, but lots and lots of people love it.
The thing is, in towns like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach where there is so much good food, the competition is stiff.
A fantastic beach town, with equally great choices when it comes to food, makes for a dream trip.