My parents love seafood. They used to load up the kids and take us to the most backwoods seafood places you can imagine (my favorite being The Fishnet in Lake Park, GA). The food was fried, the grits were cheesy and the hush puppies were plentiful. I haven’t really found any seafood places in Tallahassee that remind me of the good ol days until now. A few months ago, I moved to the north side of town (think north then go even further north). It’s a quiet area, which I love, but there aren’t many places to eat around here. My parents came to visit last weekend and asked us out to dinner, my choice – so I chose something nearby that I knew we would all like – The Original Wharf Express.
There are 5 Wharf Express restaurants in town now. The one we visited was on North Monroe in the Winn Dixie shopping center. A cool thing that I noticed that they are doing with their social media efforts is to offer fans on Facebook special deals and discounts for their neighborhood Wharf restaurant. Check them out on Facebook here so you don’t miss out! Now, back to my trip…
This was my third time eating at The Wharf Express. The inside is clean and minimal – they don’t go overboard with tacky ocean decor. You order at the counter then have a seat. There is also outside seating for when the weather is nice. The prices vary depending on your entree, but expect to pay $10-$15 per person if you are getting a main dish at dinnertime. I really like how spacious the restaurant is. I pulled up a highchair for my little one and didn’t feel like she was in the way of people passing by.
The menu is a Southern seafood lover’s dream – oysters, shrimp, grouper, mullet, blue crab claws, crab cakes and more. You can choose to have your entree fried, broiled or blacked. There are also tacos, salads and a lunch basket special. I typically order a plate that includes your choice of 2 types of seafood, 2 sides and hushpuppies. This plate costs around $11. On this particular trip, I decided to order fried crab claws, broiled shrimp, cheese grits and cole slaw. I got the crab claws because it’s not something I would typically choose and wanted to try something new. They weren’t bad but I think I’ll get the fried mullet next time. The shrimp were small but good (even though I ordered broiled, they came out blackened but tasted good). The cheese grits were the star for me. I scraped the cup clean! The slaw was fine – it was swimming in mayo/liquid but tasted right. All in all, the food was tasty and reminded me of the backwoods places we used to go when I was younger. I have to say, though, no matter what you order, there’s a lot of grease involved, and I couldn’t help but have some of that yucky-fried feeling when I left.
Final thoughts: I liked The Original Wharf Express and will continue to go back when I have a hankering for fried seafood. I don’t understand why this location is so dead though. Support your local restaurants!
Price: $10-15 at night
Atmosphere and cleanliness: Minimal interior, family friendly, clean
Food: Greasy, filling, tasty
Service: Nice, fast