Edward Reese, left, who directs the food and beverage operations for all four restaurants in the Forgotten Coast Hospitality Group, LLC, examines a kitchen fixture with Edward Busby, crew leader for Cates Electric Services, Inc. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Owl Cafe reopens with new look

Apalachicola’s famed Owl Cafe, which dates back to around 1914 with its founding by a pair of Greek immigrant brothers, has gotten a facelift.

After closing for remodeling Jan. 1, the restaurant had a soft reopening Monday, after completing in fewer than two months a whirlwind set of renovations by owner Forgotten Coast Hospitality Group, LLC.

The new wallpaper and lighting upstairs [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Edward Reese, who directs the food and beverage operations for the group’s four restaurants, which also include the Franklin at the Gibson Inn, and Longbills and the Smokehouse on Cape San Blas, worked closely with in-house contractor Samantha Kilbourn, to complete an extensive renovation.

The subfloor under the kitchen was replaced, and the kitchen was expanded, with nearly all the equipment replaced and a new freezer installed. The upstairs bathrooms were redone, the staircase to the second floor widened, new wallpaper and paneling put up, and most immediately noticeable, the kitchen, under the guidance of Chef Jamie Messer has been opened up to full view.

Chef Jamie Messer, from Carrabelle, is a graduate of California Culinary Arts Institute in San Diego.
[ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

“The mystery is not gone,” said Reese. “It’s all right there in front of you.”

The menu has been simplified with a number of new additions. “My biggest thing is to bring back the old Owl favorites that everybody really loved. “It was always a simple menu over the years, ” said Reese, who created and then sold off Edwards in Santa Rosa Beach, and then moved to Birmingham, Alabama where he became a protege of renowned chef Chris Hastings.

The menu has added raw oysters from Indian Lagoon and buys all its shrimp from Tommy Ward at 13 Mile.

Chicken marsala pasta, linguine carbonara, a tripletail reuben, filet mignon, ribeye, pork chops and of course fried shrimp and oysters are all on the new menu.

Reese said the restaurant employs anywhere from 30 people in the off-season to 45 in the busiest months.

The Owl will be open daily, from 11 a.m. to 9 weekdays, and until 10 p.m. weekends, when there will be a piano player in the Wine Room, and an acoustic guitarist for Sunday brunch, Reese said. 

Next on the owners’ agenda is to tackle the creation of a new Boss Oyster on the site of the old one and the Rainbow Motel, which are slated for demolition soon. In addition the company has opened the Forgotten Coast Brewery Company in Mexico Beach.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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