Bayou Joes Restaurant in Panama City

There’s no explanation for what just happened to me so I’m not even going to try. I’ll just tell you that I drank some last night (as writers do)  and found myself in town this morning with no will whatsoever to fight the dropsies that had attached to me overnight. Giving in, I drove aimlessly hoping to spot a quiet place to have a morning beer.

Bayou Joes Restaurant in Panama City Please note: I am writing this under duress. I don’t want to tell you what I’m about to tell you, so I’m asking right now that if you have something else to do, go do it and forget about this. Please.

I’m a relative newcomer to Panama City with limited contacts so if I have ever been told of this particular place I don’t remember. There are those who will read this and wonder at my ignorance for having not been aware of it before. It’s only been there on Massalina Bayou for 30 years.  As a restaurant. As a…place, it’s been there a lot longer. And by place I mean dock. It’s a dock on Massalina Bayou. The restaurant is. On a dock. On Massalina Bayou.

So I wander through this portal entrance and teeter down the dock, looking at the boats in their slips. At the end of this dock I took a seat by the water, the open sliding doors letting the morning breeze work on keeping my senses about me with a piling the only thing keeping me from taking a spill into the deep.

A 30A Beach Blonde Ale was perfect. ( The menu was surprising and I noticed they were open for breakfast at 7am. Breakfast and a brew.

The epitome of the Salt Life.

I ordered my catfish, grits, and sunny-side-ups and marveled at the view, wondering what I had done for my muse to lead me to this place.

There were only four other people there at 9:30 on this Wednesday morning (Wait. Thursday. I think) and miracle of miracles there was no piped in Jimmy Buffett for “atmosphere.”  There was no music. Just the beautiful ambient sounds of life around…on…water.

I was grateful. Hangover grateful.

I made a pledge to myself to come back for dinner next week. If I don’t give myself a deadline I’m usually screwed. But I didn’t really need a deadline to remember to come back here. It’s just a habit. I do need to remember they are open until 9pm most nights I think. I don’t know. Check the website.

So get this…writing is tedious. I’m sure you remember from high school. On a good day it flows easily for those daft enough to call themselves writers. On bad days, which are most of them, it is torture.

On those good days, when you are handed something to write about that has moved you…fed your senses and surprised you to the point that you you realize you had actually given up on being surprised…that you comprehend again what the word “delight” means…those are the days you are grateful for.

Those places that bring about those days…yes. Even more grateful.


I had another beer and a couple hours later I left.

So that’s it. Nothing special, so don’t worry about going there and telling other people about it. They’ll only come and then tell other people and they’ll come and before long…you know.

Oh. The place is called Bayou Joe’s.

Keep it to yourself.

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