There are so many great restaurants on 30A and Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar is one of our favorites. In fact, on our most recent trip to 30A we ate here three times and stopped by once to have a drink with an ocean view.
So, yes, we went there 4 different times during a 1 week vacation. I guess you could say that we liked it.
So why should you visit Shunk Gulley on your 30A vacation?
All About Shunk Gulley
Let’s start with the name.
Which, by the way, is not sKunk…but sHunk.
The Shunks were an old Florida family who lived in this area.
Local fisherman used to launch their boats from the beach and navigate by landmarks on the shore.
A favorite fishing spot of both the Shunk family and other local fisherman was a place where the ocean floor formed a ditch or gulley. This fishing spot became known as “shunk gulley.”
As the restaurant was being built they realized that their upstairs looked out over the ocean to Shunk Gulley and decided that would be the perfect name for the restaurant.
As a side note: Today Shunk Gulley reef has joined the South Walton Artificial Reef Association in their environmental project to create artificial reef systems close offshore in Walton County.
Let’s hope they are able to preserve the wildlife in these waters!
The Atmosphere at Shunk Gulley
Besides the great name, this restaurant has the perfect beach-y vibes.
It is a 2 story open air white wooden building with large fans to keep you cool. You can sit in the open air on the patio or under cover upstairs or down.
If you get there when it is not too busy you might be able to get a seat at the bar upstairs with ocean views. At the downstairs bar you can even get a drink to go as you cross the street and head to the beach.
In fact, the super casual, friendly atmosphere combined with the location right across the street from great beach access make Shunk Gulley one of the best “throw on a coverup and flip-flops and head straight from the beach to get some food” restaurants on 30A.
Isn’t that the best kind of restaurant while you are on a beach get-away?
Service at Shunk Gulley
Another thing we loved about Shunk Gulley was the impeccable service. Seriously, y’all. I will tell you that we definitely had the best service here of anywhere else we have eaten on 30A and it ranks up there with the best service that we have had…like….ever.
It was that good.
Every server we had on every visit was amazing.
They had great suggestions. They were knowledgeable about the food. They could describe the different varieties of fish and the different preparations of said fish. They could help you select the perfect tasty cocktail. They came back often (but not too often) to ask if we needed anything. They were friendly without being obtrusive.
It was really close to perfect service.
However, we all know that a great name, great atmosphere, and great service won’t make up for bad food.
So, how was the food at Shunk Gulley?
Don’t let the name oyster bar fool you. They have way more than oysters here.
However…you have got to try the oysters. This was the menu item that kept us coming back. Even if you think you aren’t an oyster person…try them here. It might change your mind.
Our favorite were the Meyer lemon garlic grilled oysters but they also have “naked” oysters for the raw oyster aficionados.
We also loved the fish of the day which you can get prepared in a variety of ways. You should get that with the duck fat gulley fries. We got a basket of those fries to share and wolfed them down. I home now dreaming of how good they were.
Everything we had at Shunk Gulley was delicious.
The drinks at Shunk Gulley
We also really enjoyed their specialty cocktails. There were some unique cocktails to choose from. I highly recommend the blood orange mojito.
There was also an extensive wine list which was a very pleasant surprise!
What about live music? They have it! In fact, this is one of the premiere locations on 30A for live music.
Artists from all around the gulf coast and beyond to perform. Be sure and check the website to find out about the musical happenings.
And to Wrap it up…
Shunk Gulley has it all: Great food, great atmosphere, great drinks, great service, and live music.
This is a restaurant that you will definitely want to try while you are vacationing in 30A.
Learn More About 30A
If you want to learn more about 30A check out the posts below.
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