Gulf Coast Cuisine: Lucy Buffet and Lulu’s

If you had a chance to dine on a Gulf of Mexico triggerfish brought off the boat just hours before, you’d be wise to exercise that option.

At Lucy B Goode, within the sprawling perimeter of LuLu’s under the bridge in Gulf Shores, diners regularly are faced with such decisions, because the menu changes daily to reflect whatever ingredients are available.

Lucy Buffett, local personality, food-loving Crazy Sista and restaurateur extraordinaire, now has five months of experience operating her newest coastal café.

While LuLu’s is the epicenter of beach fun, burgers and fried seafood, Lucy B Goode reinvents traditional Gulf Coast cuisine, with coastal flavors and seasonings and an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.

The building itself is a Yankee import — a spic-and-span building with white barn wood on the inside, salvaged from a WWII-era military barracks in Rotterdam, N.Y. Those weathered walls display Buffett family photos, nautical charts of local waterways and artwork reflecting days of summers past. Fresh flowers greet diners — in midwinter a mix of locals and snowbirds — at
every table.

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But back to that just-off-the-boat triggerfish. On the menu it might say, “Chargrilled Mahi over Shrimp and Conecuh Sausage Jambalaya With Lemon and Olive Oil, ” but there’s every chance your server will have another fish recommendation, based on what was freshest at the dock.

Running a coastal café poses many challenges, according to the Lucy B Goode team. In summer, the 120-seat café is faced with the same waves of vacationers that flood LuLu’s, the 500-seat mother ship. In winter, it becomes a locals restaurant, catering to those most familiar with the Gulf Coast’s culinary offerings.

Check out the “small plates menu” — which may soon be morphing into full-size starters — but another personal touch from the proprietor.

“Small plates menu means that all dishes will be
served in smaller portions so that you are able to share and taste a variety of items on the menu, ” Buffett says. It’s a throwback to when her family would go to K-Paul’s in New Orleans and order every appetizer on the menu, then pass the food back and forth.

The portions have since been bumped up slightly to reflect the area’s voracious appetite. One thing that hasn’t changed is the dedication to local suppliers, who deliver everything from seafood to dairy to Baldwin County-grown vegetables.

If you go, they’re open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer, seven days a week. They don’t take reservations and while there are no rules, it’s a place best suited for adults. LuLu’s is still right there for families.

Dave Helms is copy editor for Business Alabama.

text by Dave Helms • photos by Major Adam Colbert

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