Growing up in New Jersey, Brian Ethridge was an inquisitive young man who lived near a pizzeria and decided he wanted to learn how to make fresh authentic hand-tossed pizza for his own consumption.
As fate would have it, Brian moved to Palm Beach, Florida, where he met Jan from East Hampton Long Island, who was a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales at Providence.
In a little over a year, the two married settling in Jacksonville, Florida, and had a daughter. The Ethridge’s had been discussing raising their daughter in a smaller town, and the possibility of opening an Italian restaurant putting their skills to the test, when they came across an article about New-Urbanism and the town of Seaside in Architectural Digest Magazine. It sparked their interest so they came to South Walton for a visit, fell in love with Seagrove, and bought a lot for their Italian restaurant making their dream a reality.
The Ethridge’s decided to call the eatery Angelina’s after Jan’s grandmother, and planned to use all of the family recipes that Jan had acquired over the years, along with Brian’s techniques making hand-tossed pizza.
Jan’s parents now retired, decided to move as well so that the family could work in the restaurant and spend time together. Jan’s father a former dentist (now deceased), worked as a bartender a few days a week filling Angelina’s with laughter.
Nearly two decades later, Angelina’s will celebrate nineteen years in the restaurant business on February 3. 2013, while Jan and Brian continue to burst with pride as the owners of a successful 30-A Italian eatery, and as the parents of a talented college student.
Just ½ mile east of Seaside on County Road 30-A, you will find the quaint little white house nestled in the heart of Seagrove. Jan says, “We built Angelina’s to fit in to what was here at the time, and there were mostly cottages. We did not want anything pretentious, just an Italian family-owned joint.” Seating is available in the front bar area, or on the attached side sun porch.
Named one of 30-A’s 2012 “Hot Spots for an Affordable Meal”, and “Hot Spots for Italian Cuisine”, Angelina’s makes all of their sauces, pizza dough, meatballs, and salad dressings (like the gorgonzola) in-house and from scratch, using family recipes.
Leslie Dubuisson has worked with the Ethridge’s for fifteen years, and started out as a prep cook. Within three years she was promoted to kitchen manager and chef, creating the freshest cuisine each morning and running the lines at lunch. When I met with her, she was making one of the most requested and delicious menu items, Angelina’s Pepperoni Pizza.
There is no time for slacking at Angelina’s where the ever popular and hearty Lasagna is made each day and stacked high with meat and cheeses then baked.
City Grocery in Ft. Walton Beach supplies the restaurants local produce, and fresh basil is purchased to create the herbaceous blend of basil pesto also blended each day.
Brian Ethridge says, “Hands down the Chicken Piccata is the best seller! It is a delicious dish that contains marinated chicken breast that is sautéed in olive oil, finished with butter, lemon and capers, and served with fettucini in a tomato cream sauce.”
Other favorites on the menu include the Fettucini Alfredo with Gulf Shrimp that is nestled in a bed of creamy white sauce, and the variety of hand-tossed pizzas made to order. Brian says, “We have been hand-tossing pizzas longer than anyone else in the area!”
Angelina’s Pizzeria & Pasta serves up comfort-style food at a fair price, and Jan says, “I want people to know we are a family run restaurant, serving family meals, and I want people to feel likethey are like family to us!”
Angelina’s Pizzeria & Pasta will put together large orders to go. They are located ½ mile East of Seaside at 4005 East County Road 30-A, Seagrove Beach, Florida, 32459. They can be reached by phone at (850) 231-2500. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday 11am – 9:30pm, and Friday and Saturday 11am – 10pm.
Photos: Angelina’s website/Moon Creek