Christmas came early in Fairhope when Pete Blohme, better known as “Panini Pete, ” launched his latest venture, Sunset Pointe, in mid-December. It’s located in a prime spot tucked down at the water’s edge of Fly Creek Marina – perfect for savoring the sunsets (hence the name) and a good meal. Their tagline is simple yet clever: “Food as memorable as the sunset.”
This new restaurant, his third locally, is quite a change from the fare his fans are accustomed to; while the atmosphere is still comfortable, casual and friendly, the menu focuses on seafood. “It’s more upper mid scale, yet still a place you can walk in and get a cold beer and a great burger. But, if you want, you can also eat a beautiful piece of grilled Gulf fish served with fresh Baldwin County kale and other local produce, ” says Pete.
The big bar faces the marina, and there is outdoor dining on the patio deck overlooking the water so everyone can partake in the spectacular view. Fun fire pits dot the deck as well. Inside, the wood-paneled walls are aglow with artistic depictions of stunning sunsets. Pete says the tabletops and bartop were all custom built by Eric Foster, “the Wood Whisperer, ” with 100-year-old lumber from an old barn off State Highway 181. There are also wood inlays from Pete’s great-grandfather’s barn in Tennessee.
Sunset Pointe features an open, airy kitchen bustling with activity. “Guests can watch the action, ” says Pete. Best-selling specialties include the popular snapper throats, crabmeat balls with a trio of sauces, flat-iron steak with chimichurri and, for a light bite, seafood-filled lettuce wraps, above. Desserts change seasonally but often include bread pudding, flavored curd, a chai raspberry mousse and tres leches with brûléed bananas. They also craft some seriously festive cocktails. “I brought in a world-class mixologist from Atlanta to train the bar staff, ” says Pete. In the upcoming months, Pete hopes to offer beer, wine and bourbon flights, showcase local farmers and host wine and bourbon dinners.
On the Menu
Cool as a Cucumber Cocktail
Summertime is served up in a martini glass. Cold, bright, slightly sweet, delectably tart and incredibly refreshing. Tanqueray gin laced with rosemary-cucumber simple syrup is garnished with a slice and a sprig, above left.
Gulf Snapper Throats
A signature specialty, the ultra-moist, extremely tender fish, above right, is glossed with garlic butter and then sprinkled with a sassy Evangeline Acadian seasoning and grilled.
Mason-Dixon Lime Curd
A deconstructed Key lime pie. Tangy, creamy lime curd served smartly in a squat Mason jar with crushed graham cracker crumbs and fresh whipped cream.
Sunset Pointe • Lunch: 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Dinner: 4:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. M – Th,
Open until 10 p.m. F & Sa and 9 p.m. Sun.
Inside Fly Creek Marina • 831 N. Section St., Fairhope. 990-7766
text by Sallye Irvine • photo by blair abraham