Bob Baumhower turns out to be as successful at the restaurant business as he was at football. In both fields he has kept right on winning. The former gridiron star, a self-professed “ex-jock turned foodie, ” now owns a slew of popular eateries across Alabama. Included in his ever-expanding culinary coterie are two locations of Compleat Angler, one in Daphne, close to the Causeway, and one in Orange Beach.
While the two Compleat Anglers share the same name and similar menus, they are each unique. “Both have excellent views, ” says Nick Di Mario, general manager of the beach location. “Daphne’s got alligators, and Orange Beach has dolphins.”
Baumhower sums it up this way, “Daphne overlooks D’Olive Bay, which has incredible sunsets and stunning views of the Mobile skyline. The Wharf location overlooks a world-class marina on the Intercoastal Waterway, but also has unbelievable sunsets.
Another distinction is that the Daphne location sports a pecan wood grill. As Baumhower says about all of his venues, “We don’t consider ourselves to be chain restaurants, because all of our places are run by local folks, who use local products, hire local people and are heavily involved in their communities.”
The Compleat Angler focuses on good Gulf seafood, serving dishes like “The Jubilee, ” billed as “The World’s Largest Seafood Platter.” Another signature is their really big burger. Other top-notch turf options include the manly Hemingway filet, above, topped with Tamarind butter and plated alongside a grilled half potato and veggies. Fish – prepared four festive ways – is a favorite. Caribbean-inspired dishes and sizable homemade desserts are also specialties. The menu is extensive, reasonably priced and holds a few unusual surprises, such as fried alligator, conch fritters and liver and onions (you’d be surprised how many folks love this old-fashioned entree). The wine list is similarly sized and nicely priced, or opt for one of the many specialty libations. Dine in the comfortable interior or al fresco to make the most of the spectacular views.
ON THE MENU
Sauteed Crab Claws An elegant alternative to fried claws (which are also available), these plump, perfect claws come bathed in the lip-smacking signature “Stevie Nicks” sauce, a snappy, satiny lime beurre blanc.
Mango Bay Salad Fresh chopped mango and orange segments give mixed greens, slicked with sprightly lemongrass vinaigrette (house dressing) and dotted with candied local pecan pieces, a delightful tropical twist.
Bacon Black and Blue Burger Ten ounces of juicy beef come slathered with a smooth, thick swath of gorgonzola cheese, bacon and the works on a giant poppy seed bun.
Rum Cay Cake Available only to those of legal drinking age, this rum-soaked confection is dense, delicious and decadent with a lovely layer of pecans on the bottom.
COMPLEAT ANGLER SEAFOOD GRILLE & BAR • 29249 U.S. Highway 98, Daphne. 621-1086.
4851 The Wharf Parkway, Suite 116, Orange Beach • 424-1350 • compleatanglergrille.com
text by Sallye Irvine • photos by Elise Poché