Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or so our mothers and educator’s told us. I took the saying to heart at an early age, and being from the South soon grew to adore waking up to the smell of my grandmothers biscuits baking in our kitchen.
Weekend mornings in my world were filled with sausage gravy, country ham, eggs any way we’d like, and often we’d get fancy and cook something like eggs Sardou with artichoke bottoms and spinach.
Fortunately, locals and those visiting the eastern end of Highway 30A will not have to look far when seeking the same bounty of hearty breakfast options, as Grits & Grind recently opened in the Villages at Seacrest Beach. Carving out a unique area for hungry patrons nestled at the west end of the interior of their sister restaurant, La Cocina Mexican Grill and Bar, the entire space has been renovated floor to ceiling, creating a modern yet inviting décor. The large original painting of agave farming brought in from the owners’ personal art collection, gives color and authenticity to the new look and feel.
Eagerly accepting an invitation to the soft opening, I was fulfilled by ordering The Grind House, which arrived with the specified lightly scrambled eggs, a side of bacon, a homemade biscuit, and cheese grits that were thick, creamy, and oozing with cheddar goodness. Huevos Rancheros is always on my radar, and I was able to get a taste of the one on the menu at Grits & Grind. The kaleidoscope of flavors makes this dish one of the best breakfast options on 30A for those wanting a taste south of the border. The corn tortilla’s were perfectly prepared and topped with two eggs, the house made ranchero sauce, sliced avocado, and feta cheese that added a nice saltiness to the dish.
Rick Spell who owns the restaurant with his managing partner and daughter, Christy Spell, is an avid morning food connoisseur, and together, they wanted to add breakfast to their portfolio of restaurants. They acquired George’s at Alys Beach and La Cocina Mexican Grill and Bar in Seacrest Beach in 2015, La Crema Tapas & Chocolate in Rosemary Beach and Saltwater Grill located in Panama City Beach in 2016, and now Grits & Grind has found its niche in the heart of the family. “My dads favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and we decided to serve a full menu at an affordable price. Though I permanently relocated to the area, he can’t be on 30A all of the time because of our other business ventures in Memphis, but when he is, he is ready for really good omelets, pancakes, and waffles”, said Christy.
Executive Chef and General Manager, Erik Kellison, attended the American Culinary Academy in Sarasota and has close to 30 years of experience under his belt. He was also employed with George’s at Alys Beach for the past six years, and came up with the menu concept for Grits & Grind. His Southern roots influenced his creativity. One of his specialties is The Next Morning Benedict that delivers two eggs on a fresh biscuit, with chopped sausage, tomatoes, and green onions, before being topped with gravy and house made hollandaise. The Grit & Grind Bloody Mary is a must with this order, unless a premium screwdriver or mimosa is more your speed. Fresh squeezed juices and organic coffee are also available.
Christy said, “It was a natural fit to ask for Erik’s assistance when opening Grits & Grind. He would arrive in the morning for prep at George’s, and surprise the staff with breakfast. We are pleased with the feedback so far, and we are really enjoying serving our guests that first meal of their day.”
Grits & Grind is located at 10343 County Hwy 30A. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. For more information call (850) 231-4021 or visit their website at gritsandgrindbreakfast.com.