| Lucy Buffett to open second LuLu's restaurant in Destin in 2015 |
Sep 30, 2014 - 9:49 AM - by Ryan C. |
| Lucy "LuLu" Buffett, owner of LuLu's at Homeport Marina, recently announced her plan to open a second LuLu's location in Destin in a low-key way, via Facebook. She posted: "Uh, did I forget to mention..." along with a photo of a sign at the new spot. "Keep calm and eat gumbo," the sign reads. "Destin 2015." |
Buffett's new venture will be located close to her brother Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, which opened in Destin in February of this year. The siblings grew up in Mobile.
Jimmy Buffett has his Parrotheads fan club, but Lucy Buffett has gained fame in her own right as a restaurateur and cookbook author.
Like her brother, she even has her own beer. His is Landshark Lager, distributed by Budweiser in St. Louis; hers is Crazy Sista Honey Ale, brewed at Back Forty Beer Co. in Gadsden, Ala.
But unlike her brother, Lucy Buffett returned home after spending, as she writes on her website, LuLu's Burger and Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores, years in Los Angeles. When she came back to the Alabama Gulf Coast, she first opened a tiny eatery, LuLu's at Sunset Grill, "a burger joint with great food," on Weeks Bay near the Fish River Bridge, in 1998.
LuLu's became a popular place for people to sit outside, wait for the sunset and eat food based on Buffett's grandmother's recipes: fried crab claws, fried green tomatoes and "L.A. Caviar," her signature black-eyed pea dip.
Eventually, when the land she leased was returned to the National Estuary System, she packed up the whole restaurant, palm trees and all, loaded it onto a barge and moved it to the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores in the fall of 2003. LuLu's became LuLu's at Homeport Marina, which opened on Fat Tuesday in 2004.
In the past 10 years, LuLu's has become a destination in itself. Employing about 350 people seasonally during the summer months (and about half that many in the off-season), LuLu's serves some 750,000 customers per year, according to the website. Every day in the summertime, the restaurant serves between 3,800 and 4,000 customers, a spokeswoman said.
If you're going to have to wait hours for a table, which you often will, LuLu's is the place to do it. Buffett refers to the place as "LuLuLand." The open-air restaurant sits right on the Intracoastal Waterway, which she calls "natural theater," with boats and pelicans going by and occasional visits from dolphins.
LuLu's has free live music every day. Children play with plastic buckets and other sand toys strewn on a huge, enclosed "beach" while their parents can enjoy a frozen libation as they watch the kids from colorful Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. There's a Mountain of Youth ropes course, a sprawling gift shop and a snow cone stand.
"Since its grand opening in Gulf Shores in 2004, LuLu's has offered a fun, family-friendly culture which ties directly to what our destination is all about," said Herb Malone, president and chief executive officer of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism. "From an economic standpoint, it is an anchor in the area and has played a major role in the expansion of Gulf Shores' Waterway Village."
Since LuLu's opened, other businesses have located along the Intracoastal, including two other restaurants, Tacky Jack's Gulf Shores and Acme Oyster House.
Just over a year ago, Buffett opened a new restaurant-within-a-restaurant, Lucy B Goode, at LuLu's in Gulf Shores.
"We are water people, so by default that means we are boat people," she writes of her family on the Lucy B Goode website. "If I had grown up in Montgomery or Birmingham, with less access to the beaches, bays and rivers, I would be a completely different person. I wanted Lucy B Goode to be a tribute to my parents and how they raised us. It's my love letter to the Gulf Coast!"
The new LuLu's in Destin will be similar in size and atmosphere to the one in Gulf Shores, according to a spokeswoman for Buffett. The restaurant will be at the base of the Mid-Bay Bridge next to Legendary Marine, overlooking the Choctawhatchee Bay, according to a letter from Buffett on the LuLu's website.
"I always thought the Florida Panhandle would be the perfect place for another... [Read More]
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| Bet doesn't pay off: Margaritaville Casino Biloxi closes |
Sep 30, 2014 - 3:44 AM - by Ryan C. |
Margaritaville Casino sent home its employees and few remaining customers and closed Monday night. |
Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Gaming Commission, told the Sun Herald that officials from the casino notified them they would close at 10 p.m.
"We were made aware of this and we'll have agents on standby," he said.
A train clacked by around 9:30 p.m., its whistle a last call for the casino that opened in 2012 with a concert by Jimmy Buffett.
A couple moving from Michigan to Nevada pulled in and when they learned it was the final hour, hurried inside to buy a souvenir T-shirt.
A few employees carried items to their cars, while others not scheduled to work headed in one last time.
"We've been here since Day 1," a woman said while another said, "We're just saying goodbye to our co-workers."
The third woman said, "it's sad but ..." and shrugged her shoulders.
The employee parking lot was empty and the staff was parked in the regular lot.
The casino management announced July 21 to employees that they would close by Sept. 19. Customers have dwindled since the announcement.
"The employees are going to be paid through the 19th as promised," said Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for MVB Holdings, which operated the casino.
Cavanaugh said the company was unable to come to an agreement with the landlords to build a hotel on the property, which the management said is needed for the casino to stay in business.
"Everybody wants a better outcome," Cavanaugh said, "everybody but the landlords."
The landowners won't be able to step in and run the casino, he said. "When we close down the license is history."
Gaming Commission regulations now require a casino to have a 200-room hotel and other amenities before they open.
This isn't the first time a casino has closed in South Mississippi. Gold Shore Casino and Biloxi Belle closed in 1995 and Lady Luck in Biloxi in 1998
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| A Woman Attacked Her Husband Because He Wouldn’t Buy Her A Margaritaville Hat! |
Sep 16, 2014 - 4:41 AM - by Ryan C. |
A Woman Attacked Her Husband Because He Wouldn’t Buy Her A Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Hat |
This 33-year-old woman named Sommer Trent whose mother apparently didn’t know how to spell the word “summer” was in Nashville with her husband this weekend for the Tennessee Titans game, when a fight between the two broke out outside of Nashville’s Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and store. Trent allegedly attacked her husband when he refused to buy her a hat. From The Tennessean:
Lady to lady, I totally understand. Us women are capable of some pretty irrational sh*t when it comes to our accessories. Since I’m guessing Sommer did not end up getting her Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville hat, I’ve taken it upon myself to make her the next best thing, with this hat I found on the Margaritaville online store.
Sommer Trent, 33, was booked into the Metro jail on assault charges early Sunday morning. According to her arrest warrant, the two were on Broadway outside of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville when the fight erupted.
She allegedly cursed, threw her husband’s cowboy hat into the street and grabbed him by the throat. Four people witnessed the fight.
Now it’s just like she got her hat! She still spent the night in jail I guess, but hey! Hat!
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| Matt Hoggatt releases new album “Workaholic In Recovery” |
Aug 20, 2014 - 4:53 AM - by Ryan C. |
| Unless you have been living under a rock the past year you know who Matt Hoggatt is. In 2012, Matt Hoggatt was working as a police detective in South Mississippi and moonlighting as a singer-songwriter. Everything changed one day when he was discovered by Jimmy Buffett and launched into the career of a traveling musician. Army soldier, police detective and bourbon street performer are just a few of the job titles on Matt Hoggatt’s resume. Among them is a list accolades as varied as his choice of former professions, including national songwriting awards, viral YouTube videos, and being the subject of a Jimmy Buffett song. Signed to Jimmy Buffett’s record label, Mailboat Records, Matt’s version of storytelling music combines Americana-country, comedy and trop-rock-folk in a place where three chords and the truth prevail. |
The simple truth in Matt Hoggatt's music comes from his background as a soldier, police officer and barstool performer. Since being introduced to the national stage in 2012 by Jimmy Buffett, Matt has been sharing his blend of Americana storytelling with the world the old fashioned way; one man, in one van, one guitar.
Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee and produced by legendary songwriter Keith Sykes, "Workaholic In Recovery" is Matt's first full band studio release to date. The 12 song musical journey takes you on a tour of sandy beaches, battlefields and the Oval Office on a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic but always-‐memorable trop-‐rock, Americana, folk-‐country adventure.
The album ends in true pirate fashion with the "Ballad of Buck Reilly," a song that features Coral Reefer band members, Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson based on the main character from the popular novel series by book author John H. Cunningham.
The album, which will be available on September 1st, is currently available for download on iTunes, but the Title track is available for immediate download. Lending a hand as guest performers on the album are longtime Buffett band members Mac McAnally, Doyle Grisham, Nadirah Shakoor and Tina Gullickson.
Download his new ablum now at Itunes - ... [Read More]
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| A Magical Meal at Louie’s Backyard in the Conch Republic |
Jul 20, 2014 - 3:54 AM - by Ryan C. |
By Jane & Michael Stern |
Jimmy Buffett was an early fan of Louie’s Backyard, the enchanting restaurant on the Key West shore that embraces Conch cuisine, serving up surprising and delightful fare daily.
A table on the three-tiered deck of Louie's Backyard is an enchanting place to dine, especially in the evening. Perched on the waterline over the Atlantic Ocean in Key West, Florida, diners look out over a fathomless horizon where the clouds and waves weave together in cobalt blue striations. Hurricane lamps on the tables flicker in the calm island breeze. Bulbs strung among branches in the overhead wild hibiscus tree form a radiant canopy. Waves lap the shore like a soft rhythm guitar that sets the tune for laughter and chatter at the restaurant’s outdoor Afterdeck bar. There isn't a dreamier place to dine anywhere in America.
And, if such a thing is possible, the meal matches: beautiful, sexy, pleasure-giving food made from ripe fruits fresh off the tree and fish only just caught in ocean waters and prepared with an enchanted mix of seasonings that could only come together in the never-never land that is Key West.
Louie's Backyard is one of many good places to eat in town, but for us it is the Key West restaurant. For one thing, it has been around a long time, and its roots grow deep in the traditions of local life. When it opened in 1970, an unknown Jimmy Buffett lived in the house next door and palled around with waiter Phil Tenney, who is now Louie's owner. Buffett's cat Radar hung out with the bartender's dog, Ten Speed, and it is said that the two of them regularly bellied up to the bar in the afternoon for broad champagne glasses filled with Kahlua and cream.
Aside from its Buffett connection and the parade of other Key West-related celebrities who have stopped in for a meal, Louie's demands the attention of any eater interested in discovering the unique style of cooking (and eating and serving) known as Conch cuisine.
Natives of Key West call themselves Conchs (pronounced konks), after the hard-shelled, spiral shellfish that is found in nearby waters. While the term used to be derisive (like redneck), it has taken on a distinct air of pride in the last several decades as the key that now calls itself The Conch Republic has defined its own cultural identity. Part of that identity is a sense of the island's unique fare. The Conch kitchen is in some measure the progeny of nearby Cuba, of the Caribbean (both culturally and piscatorially), of Dixieland, and the Cordon Bleu, but it has evolved a style all its own.
The meat of the conch itself is an essential provision at Louie's Back Yard (visitors must try conch fritters and conch chowder, not to mention raw conch salad), and so are spearfished grouper, Florida pink shrimp, and dooryard fruit that include Key limes, calamondins (little, bright-flavored tangerines), and sour oranges. Several varieties of banana grow here, and mango season on the island is huge. Put these ingredients together with a freewheeling kitchen spirit and the hands-on culinary education of Louie's chef, Doug Shook, and you have an inevitably spectacular meal.
It is hard to recommend exactly what to order because Louie's food changes daily. There are a handful of things you can count on when you peruse the menu, such as Key West pink shrimp, Bahamian conch chowder with bird pepper hot sauce, and, of course, Key lime pie for dessert. Beyond such classics, the daily repertoire reflects not only the catch of the day and what is seasonal, but also Chef Shook's restless creativity. Even when a night's special is well liked by customers, it may not return to the menu for many months, and it may be reinvented with a different sauce or an altered presentation.
One afternoon at 5:30 p.m., we sit in the dining room as Doug briefs... [Read More]
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| Jimmy Buffett Talks About Going To Space |
Jul 07, 2014 - 9:46 AM - by Ryan C. |
| Sometimes, dreams really do come true. |
Some 40 years ago, while singing about unpopular poets and stealing peanut butter, Jimmy Buffett, in his Key West phase, spent his free nights in a beat-up Chevy Pickup watching old movies at the waterfront Islander Drive-In.
Occasionally, Buffett would find a date, pick up some cheap gin, commit a little “mortal sin,” as one song goes, and dream he’d own a drive-in one day.
And finally, he does.
Well, along with several dozen Margaritaville restaurants, bars and casinos; a record label; best-selling books; a clothing and footwear line; a radio station; a burgeoning on-line TV network and, for all intents and purposes, the entire island-escapist lifestyle.
It was the drive-in he dreamed about first, though, and it’s partly why he will play the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth on Thursday, two days ahead of his typical North Texas stadium-size show at Frisco. Buffett is an investor in the Fort Worth drive-in, which opened in 2013.
“I’ve always had a nostalgia for [drive-ins],” said Buffett, whose 1973 song “Grapefruit, Juicyfruit,” is a paean to those days. “We went a lot as a family when I was a kid. We went a lot during my teenage years when I played briefly in a really bad surf band. And I always wanted to own the Islander. I just thought it would be really cool.
“But you’ve got to have a hell of a lot more land than if you wanted to open a Dairy Queen.”
For years, the drive-in idea didn’t make business sense and it sat like an old 45, gathering dust. Technology, though, has a way of making everything old new again. Buffett toyed with the idea of playing a drive-in about 10 years ago and beaming it across the country to reach, as he said, “secondary markets,” but the technology wasn’t quite there yet.
Now, with his own high-tech production truck geared towards his new Margaritaville.TV project, he can better guarantee quality control. And when Coyote Drive-in operators Brandt and Brady Wood, whom Buffett has known since they were children, came along with the idea for a high-tech digital drive-in, Buffett’s old dream and new technology married up. The show will be broadcast live to about 90 digital drive-ins around the country.
“I have no idea how this will play out,” Buffett said of the drive-in concert idea. “But I wanted in. I wanted to be part of it. I have people in my own organization wondering what the hell I’m doing.”
His show in Fort Worth will feel a lot like the 1970s, with a glorified flat-bed truck kind of setup, but don’t expect a set list straight from that decade. To reach and hook those fans in secondary markets means giving them “the Big 10,” songs that people most associate him with, from “Margaritaville” to “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and “Fins.”
“If we don't, we'll get killed,” Buffett said.
He plans to end the Fort Worth show with a screening of Rancho Deluxe, the 1975 Western comedy for which he wrote the musical score and performed “Livingston Saturday Night.”
The longer Frisco show will give Buffett an opportunity for a more wide-ranging set.
At 67, he’s slowing his tour stops some and eschewing sugary margaritas for sips of tequila, but he has no desire to stop. (So don’t expect this beach bum to ride away, a la George Strait, anytime soon.) Besides the drive-in idea and internet TV, Buffett wants to explore the Latin market more, as he started to in a collaboration with Colombian singer Fanny Lu on last year's Songs From St. Somewhere album.
And there is another dream to realize.
“The wanderer in me still wants to go place I haven’t been,” Buffett said. “And I haven’t been to space. I want to leave this planet. I’m a pilot.
“John Glenn did it at 72, so I figure I’ve got five more years left.”
He can dream. In Buffett’s case, most of his dreams do end up coming true.
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