VIP Destin Magazine, November 2019

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L ove Your Style Sizeless Seasonless Ageless

Voted Best Boutique and Best Local Retailer VIP DESTIN MAGAZINE READER CHOICE AWARD 2019


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Volume XV • Issue XI

events 14 Styling Your Table 17 Destin Charity Wine Auction Check Presentation 21 An Evening with Bluewater Plastic Surgery 26 Walton Chamber BAH 28 Setco 20th Anniversary Celebration 56 Lips, Lines & Lashes 60 Business Palooza 63 19th Annual Charity Golf Classic 68 International Coastal Beach Cleanup Okaloosa Island 73 VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal Party 77 Grayt Vibes Art & Music Festival 87 Eggs on the Beach Eggfest 92 FRLA Northwest Florida Summitt Reception

departments 30 54 66 80 84 94

Adventure Out Swizzle Style Save the Date Locale I Am Destin

business profiles 24 Grēnbots 36 Beach Walk Cafe 58 Destin Floral Designs

on the cover Betty White & Stephanie Phillips Photography by Zhalman Harris at Styling Your Table Grand Boulevard Sandestin

features 33 Dining Guide If you’re looking for a delicious day or night out, check out these local culinary greats.

70 Best In Destin Go to to cast your vote November 11-20.

VIP Destin Magazine Staff Publisher Greg Alexander

Designer Sheila McDiarmid

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Mary Aho Greg Alexander Jen Deeb Zhalman Harris Shanna Magnuson Courtney Murray Verla Price Liesel Schmidt

Managing Editor Steve Barber Production Editor Jessica Graña Advertising Steve Barber Missy Kimbrough

VIP Founder Jeff Watson November 2019 | 11

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For November, our issue focuses on food. Mouthwatering food! As I write this, I am entertaining beautiful memories of years past peppered with visions and smells of my mother’s cooking. November starts the Holiday Season for family gatherings all centered around food. Thanksgiving always brought us the slowroasting turkey, teasing us from early morning until dinner. Then, in just a few more weeks, the same torture came, but with ham instead. The side dishes were always a step above our typical fare around the holidays, as well. While thinking back, I find it interesting that the cook or the chef can present well in all four food groups, yet each has unique recipes they like to serve. Mom’s was fried chicken and dumplings. I reminisced recently with a friend about her Sunday dinners with half the neighbors at our table waiting for her dumplings. It is funny how no other cook’s dish quite lives up to those of our mother’s. Welcome to our restaurant issue, a celebration of imaginative chefs and creative menus from our local dining establishments. Inside you will find an array of food from breakfast to dinner. “Where would you like to eat tonight?” is hard to answer when you have as many choices as we do in Destin. You can have crab legs or Italian without driving a mile from your house. There is a joy to knowing you can find anything you want at just about any given time. I have some favorites, as we all do. I can easily be found with a cup of lobster bisque or delving into a cool Crème Brulee. As you flip through the pages, go slowly and spend a few seconds on the food photos in the menus. This will have you picking up your purse and heading for the door. In this issue, Adventure Out gives us Social Cues and Dinner Dos, while Swizzle features a fall sangria recipe. Enjoy a light read on phone etiquette and other manners when dining out, and if it’s autumn comfort you’re after, learn how to make sangria with a cinnamon twist. Just a reminder during November, you can cast your votes in our reader’s choice awards for Best In Destin. Give the list of categories a quick look and be prepared to pick your favorites starting November 11th. Your vote could be the one that sends your favorite chef to the Black Tie Ball to accept an award. I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.

photo by Kristina Wright

letter from the Associate Publisher

Verla Price Associate Publisher


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VIP Destin at Grand Boulevard Sandestin

Styling Your Table photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Green Thumb Garden Club hosted their Styling Your Table event at Grand Boulevard on October 11. The event was put together to inspire ideas and creativity for the fall and holiday seasons. Guests enjoyed awardwinning tablescapes in individual and commercial categories, and took away some fresh ideas for their homes this fall. Celebrated author and floral designer, Laura Dowling, was a special guest at the event. Ms. Dowling, who was the Chief Floral Designer at the White House from 2005 until 2015, inspired guests with her great ideas for their next special occasion while touring unique designs and décor at the event. Designer Craig Henson, also from Washington, DC, who created the site design and handled the planning, was also at the event talking to guests and giving them ideas. National retailers Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, and Tommy Bahama showcased table settings and offered demonstrations on floral design and home décor. Local vendors’ offerings included fresh flowers and plants, bulbs, artisan soaps, art, jewelry, bakery items, and much more. A Garden Shoppe had a myriad of items that were also available for sale. A Garden Cafe had refreshments and tasty treats for visitors to indulge in, while listening to 60s and 70s music performed by The Beach Boogie Band.

Lisa Drmini & Laura Dowling

Beth Clavier & Aaron Vaughn

Denise Dobelek, Gail Murray, Jenny Weber & Becky Smith

Kurt & Lori Echols 14

Laury & Robert Geraldi

Kathleen Hall, Teri Vice, Peggy Reis, Stephanie Phillips & Carol Bergstrom


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Kim Podoll , Nancy Durr & Debbie Smith

Diane Decker, Rita Baumgartner & Sherry Brown

Tricia Mara, Leigh Ann Montague & Kay Short

Mike Graham, Bill Losquardo & John Vice November 2019 | 15

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VIP Destin at Henderson Beach Resort

Check Presentation


photos & story by Zhalman Harris

t was an evening of excitement and anticipation at the Henderson Beach Resort on September 4, where a record-breaking $3 million was donated to 16 children’s charities in Northwest Florida. Enjoying hors d’oeuvres and wine, guests mingled as they waited to see how much each charity received. DCWAF has donated $21 million to non-profit organizations since its inception in 2005. This year’s results are a $300,000 increase over the $2.7 million donated last year.

The 2019 recipients of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation include:

• AMIkids Emerald Coast • The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast • Children in Crisis Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) • Emerald Coast Autism Center • Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Food for Thought Outreach • Habitat for Humanity of Walton County • Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties Opportunity Place • Pathways for Change • Sacred Heart Hospital • Shelter House of Northwest Florida The Arc of the Emerald Coast • Westonwood Ranch • Youth Village

Kate Haynes & Jarrod Dawson

Peyton LoCicero & Teresa Imdieke

Lane Redding & Robert Hinojosa

Valerie Bogar & Nellie Bogar

TylerJarvis & Pam Jarvis

Tiffanie Nelson & Julie Porterfield November 2019 | 17

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VIP Destin at Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

Katie Grace, Jaime Estep & Dinelle Putman

Marietta Scheer, Aminta Montanez & Gayle Carmichael

George & Stephanie Brannon, Hillary & Cory Fosdyck

Calvin Jones & John Russell

Karah Young, Melissa Vidaurre & Kate MacMillan

Michele & Shervin Rassa 18

Ken Hair, Betty & Don Hefner

Chuck & Glenda Palmore

Maggie Weaver & Savannah Juneau


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Seagrove East Lot 3 - Vista Lake Lane Circle

Royce Mitchell Cell: (850) 737-0567 Office: (850) 650-7293

Offered at $1,779,000 This is an exclusive opportunity to own one of seven four-story beach villas in this fabulous new development in Seagrove Beach. Each unit boasts a fourth-floor terrace offering Gulf views, and is situated in a quiet, peaceful community of Seagrove East. The home features four-bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths. Complete with elevator access to the first three levels, there is plenty of outdoor entertaining space, a two-car garage and a private pool with patio.

Hillcrest Cottages 435 Hillcrest Road

Luke Andrews

Offered at $825,000

Cell: (850) 978-0545 Office: (850) 267-0013

Hillcrest Cottages offers well-appointed, two-story homes designed with spacious, ground floor living in mind. This home is designed with quality finishes and is built in a wonderful location. The main level has a covered front porch, an open living room and master bedroom opening to a covered rear porch. The ground floor boasts a total of three bedrooms, each with a bath. A laundry room, a pantry, a mud room, a half bath, and an attached two-car garage complete the ground floor. The second level has an additional bedroom/bonus room, full bath, and large storage closet.

Now with FIVE locations serving the Emerald Coast MIRAMAR BEACH 9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 18 | (850) 267-0050 SANTA ROSA BEACH 7684 W. County Highway 30A | (850) 267-0050 NICEVILLE 1073 E. John Smith Parkway Suite | (850) 729-0176

Commercial and Residential Real Estate Group

PENSACOLA 8775 Foxtail Loop | (850) 944-3700 PENSACOLA 17 W. Cedar St. | (850) 434-2244

Real Estate Team

Š2019 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicesand the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicessymbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.Ž Equal Housing Opportunity.

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VIP Destin at O’Donnell Eye Institute

An evening with



photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

luewater Plastic Surgery celebrated their one year anniversary at the Santa Rosa Beach location on October 10. They invited patients and loved ones to the rooftop of the O’Donnell Eye Institute building to thank them for their support. Guests enjoyed live entertainment, food, beverages, and even the Epic Photo photo booth on the cool, but beautiful night. Signature Catering of 30A served a variety of delicious appetizers, and have been providing this service to the Emerald Coast for over 20 years. Jamah Terry kept people singing and dancing with his music during the evening. Patients of Dr. Clark were excited to celebrate and speak about how happy they’ve been with his practice, and what a wonderful atmosphere the entire staff bring throughout any process. Dr. Clark of Bluewater Plastic Surgery has over 25 years experience and is a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dr. Clark’s practice offices are in Bluewater Bay, Niceville, and Santa Rosa Beach. As October brought some cooler evenings, it was a beautiful sunset to be seen from the roof, and party-goers were excited to talk about the community and family feel they have with Bluewater Plastic Surgery.

Candice Arnett & Connor Page

Kristie Cardwell & Jennifer Sorensen

Donna & Dr. Steven Clark

Deana Fagundes & Amy Newman

Mary Ann Toriano & Angela Tara

Demetrius Fuller, Bj Fontaine, Dave & Aleta Jefferson, Steve Barber

Larry Carroll & Mackensie Boston

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VIP Destin at Bluewater Plastic Surgery

Debbie & Bruce Craul

Kristie Edwards, Shelley Scholl, Christine Cox, Lauren Duke & Roslyn Snyder

Erik & Amanda Dahl, Kelly Balliett & Randy Ballet

Allie Woodrain, Mandi Dancer & Liz Pfeffer

Alison & Brandon Mahoney 22

Dr. Mike O’Donnell & Dr. Steven Clark

Wes & Kim Batiste, Sarah Powers

Dave & Liz Engstrom, Anne & Jimmy Sharp


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Business Profile

Grēnbots Have Landed on the Gulf Coast! photos & story provided by Grēnbots


ould you rather make lifelong memories with your children, family or friends or spend that time mowing your lawn? You no longer have to make that choice. Grēnbots Inc is a new company in your area that offers affordable robotic automowers for residents and commercial properties.

more efficient, the smaller clippings created by continual cutting is better for the grass too”. Shelley, “I personally love the smart home integration. Customers can connect to Amazon Alexia or Google Home. Imagine simply saying, ‘Alexa, mow the grass.’ Yep, it really can be that easy.”

Grēnbots is the exclusive dealer for Husqvarna and Echo Automowers from Panama City to Mississippi.

We offer mowers that:

• Mow up to 6 acres • Are smartphone controlled • Are weather resistant • Are GPS and theft protection Owners Steve and Shelley Black have been in the Green Industry for over 32 years. Their knowledge, experience and professionalism has made them leaders in this field along the Gulf Coast. In Europe today over half of all lawns are mowed by robotic mowers and more than half of those are Husqvarna. “Husqvarna is the world’s number one selling robotic lawn mower. They have been selling these in Europe for the last 20 years” states Steve. “The concept behind the automower comes straight out of nature - the principle of the grazing animal. The grass is cut a little and often. This is not only 24


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Environmental Benefits:

• Quiet • Emission-free, low energy • Less fertilizer needed • Long lasting, rechargeable battery The units are controlled by your smartphone, enabling you to monitor and keep track of them in real time. Want to park your unit when your kids come home, run the unit when your pet is inside, you are in control of the automowers schedule with a push of a button. Husqvarna’s intelligent design allows the Automower to maneuver around your lawn without supervision, even over tricky terrain and around obstacles. It knows when it needs to be charged and directs itself back to the charging station. With convenient control options, the Automower allows you to set it and forget it, even from your smartphone. Grēnbots can install and set up your units, or install kits are available to purchase for that do it yourself individual. On the Professional Side - Robotic mowers are the perfect addition to the fleet of any green care company. While they tirelessly spend their days producing a carpet-like lawn quality, you can spend your days doing other things. And since our professional robotic mowers all come with Husqvarna Fleet Services™ built-in, you can control them from anywhere.

Perfect cut, less noise and more profit.

Want to see one in action? Come visit us at our location, 2629 S. Hwy 29, Cantonment. We can ensure Christmas delivery if ordered by December 15. Oh, did we say we gift wrap?!

Special financing and leasing rates available November 2019 | 25

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VIP Destin at The Market Shops

Walton Area Chamber of Commerce

Business After Hours photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Market Shops, located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, hosted the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce for their Business After Hours event on September 19. This event celebrated the six year anniversary of the shopping center. The anniversary marks six years since The Market Shops were revamped, redesigned, and opened to the public. This was the first renovation The Market Shops received since being built in 1985. Since then, the property has reestablished itself as a community location where locals and visitors alike come to shop, dine, and spend time together. The community was invited to explore The Market Shops outdoor lifestyle center while enjoying live music by Boukou Groove, as well as light bites and complimentary refreshments from The Market Shops merchants. After visiting each merchant, guests participated in prize drawings featuring gift cards, baskets, special products, and more provided by the merchants and participating Chamber members.


Jennifer & Jonathan Futrell

Young Kim & John Morrow

Ashley Carson & Ryanny Mok

Kasey Perry & Jennifer Mayo

Mary Fletcher & Janet Parker

Dale Witter & Susan Pace


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November 2019 | 27

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VIP Destin at Churchill Oaks

20th Anniversary Celebration


photos & story by Zhalman Harris

n October 4, Churchill Oaks was the venue for the 20th Anniversary Celebration for SETCO Services, LLC. With over 30,000 closings in the last 20 years, insuring over $15 billion, while giving over $1millon back into the communities and countless hours of community service, it was surely something to celebrate. Invited guests enjoyed delicious bites provided by Cuvee Kitchen + Wine Bar, cocktails, and live music. As he spoke to his invited guests, the CEO of SETCO services George Brannon Jr. said, “ SETCO Services is proud to celebrate 20 years of working alongside this community. This milestone would be impossible without your support. We look forward to celebrating our continuing legacy with you at this momentous occasion.” He also thanked his parents for giving him the chance, the training, resources and support to start and grow such a successful entity. SETCO goes beyond just great title insurance, escrow, and real estate closing assistance. They pride themselves at being the #1 Title Company in the Florida Panhandle. “We will work with all parties in a closing transaction, and we understand that it means something different to each of them, regardless of whether you’re a buyer, seller, real estate agent, or lender, we are here to help!” said Brannon.


Cindy & Tom Kuhn

George & Stephanie Brannon

Pam & Gary Jarvis

Chris & Molly Hudson

Sean Casilli & Alice De La Penha

Sarah & Blake Svoboda


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Ken & Lisa Redman

Keith & Kala Carroll

Melissa Farrell & Amy Harvell

Johnny Harvell, Megan & Jarrod Caudill November 2019 | 29

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story by Liesel Schmidt


ook around you at the world, and you’ll quickly see that we’ve reached great advancements in many areas of life. We drive cars that practically control themselves, have mobile devices that can do everything from making calls (via voice or video) to surfing the Internet, even have homes that can order groceries for us and keep us fully functional by reminding us of appointments. We’ve gained so much through these advancements, but we’ve also lost something extremely important: our understanding of social graces and etiquette, especially when it comes to dining out. Step into any eating establishment and you’ll see it in an instant: tables full of people staring at their phones rather than looking one another in the eye; dining companions who meet for a meal, but seem to have no respect for actually dining together, at the same time; people taking calls while everyone else has to listen to their one-sided conversation. You’ve probably even seen people a time or two sitting at tables while one (or more) of them sports a pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Where have all the manners gone? We have classes and courses for everything, teaching us how to do anything from coding apps to fixing leaks in the plumbing all on our own. But where’s the instruction on how to actually navigate in normal society, to show the respect for one another that we all deserve—especially in such an intimate setting as meal time. Breaking bread is supposed to be a time when everything else stops, when oneon-one interaction happens and conversations flow. Historically, it 30

has been. But now the rules seem to have changed…Or have they? The answer to that is summed up in a simple word: NO. The rules haven’t changed, they just have to be adapted to meet the new ways of the world and fit the various situations in which we find ourselves. Etiquette has and always will be a hallmark of character, an example of the regard to hold for the people in your presence. So while you might think that placing the phone on the table isn’t that big a deal, it may be time to revisit some of the rules and learn some new ones. When it comes to the aforementioned phone on the table situation, well…Let’s just say that there’s no grey area. Always, always, keep your phone, keys, purse, and any other belongings off of the table. And don’t even think about taking your phone out to send or respond to a text. To do so would basically be communicating to your company that whoever you’re texting is more important to you than they are. Texting or emailing of any kind can wait until dinner is over. In the case of something urgent, however, it is acceptable to take out your phone—just excuse yourself first. It’s an important rule to uphold in casual social situations, but especially so in business ones. “Media use at the table is a big no-no, and even more so when you are the job candidate,” says Chris Horak, owner of Navigating Convention and Other Social Interaction and a long-time etiquette expert whose background includes everything from serving as butler and household manager to being a chef and museum curator. As diverse as his careers have been, one thing holds true for them all: each of them require the deft use of social skills and decorum. “The same rule of media use is also true for the interviewer. Do you really want to work for or with someone who is constantly taking calls? Will they be available to back you up when you need


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“Good manners are always appreciated by everyone.”

them, when you work for their organization?” he poses. “Is the person in front of them not of more value to them? By taking these calls at a predetermined meeting, it tells you that they may not be as organized as they were trying to tell you during your time with them.” And if you’re the guilty party pulling out the phone, reverse those questions on yourself. That’s the message you’re sending, even though you might not actually be tapping out the words on that smart little device of yours and sending them. Message received, loud and clear. Paying the check is another hot-button issue when it comes to the rules of dinner etiquette. “Each situation decides for itself,” Horak says. “Business, social, friends, colleagues—the list goes on. If you are setting up a business meal, you are responsible for the check. Business people who set up meal appointments are encouraged to

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hand a form of payment, with instructions to the waiter, before their guests arrive. No need for jostling or embarrassing moments at the end of the meal,” he continues. “In the case of long-standing social relationships, the parties involved should agree upon the check distribution before they set out for the event. Life is much easier when everyone knows the rules and what to expect.” Not only will it save you from embarrassing situations, it can also save relationships from souring over one person always being stuck with the check or an uneven division of the tab. Also do everyone the courtesy of waiting to begin eating until the entire table has been served. In the situation of fast-casual, where you’re meeting others and have to order food at a counter, do the same. Don’t order until everyone has arrived, and wait until all meals are on the table. After all, you’re there to break bread together—as in, at the same time. Also remember to treat the staff with respect. They’re not your servants, so don’t treat them as such. Get their attention when you need them by trying to make eye contact or quietly signaling to them. If something is wrong with your meal, address the situation in a calm, respectful manner and watch your tone. You’ll get better service and show the rest of your companions what a class act you are. “Good manners are always appreciated by everyone,” Horak advises. “It’s not a wealth thing or a status thing. Treating others with the same respect that one would like to be treated will remain a constant, no matter how much the world changes. No one wants to be ignored or made to feel lesser, so be sure that your behavior does not give them reason to.” Wise words, to be sure—and a definitely one that’ll earn you more than a few ‘Likes’ in a place more important than social media.

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Dining Guide

Beach Walk Cafe

Coastal Kitchen Catering

Born and raised in Destin, Beach Walk Café’s executive chef, Daniel Peters, brings a unique perspective to the kitchen, bringing locally-inspired ingredients and flavors together with his expert culinary skills. He first entered a professional kitchen at the age of 26, gaining his first taste of fine food and wine knowledge at Chan’s Wine World’s original location. But, in 2011, after a trip to the area, Peters decided to move to Napa Valley to further his curiosity of culinary culture and lifestyle. It was here Peters studied under a number of world-renowned and award-winning chefs, including Douglas Keane, Sang Yoon, Jake Rand and Stephan Barber. All of which he attributes the entirety of his cuisine knowledge. He returned home with a goal of using what he learned to assist in the elevation of Destin’s food culture. Now, he’s working to bring about a Gulf-to-table concept at Beach Walk, crafting scrumptious fresh catch features daily, and share his incredible creations with the community that raised him.

As the Events and Marketing Director of The Bald and The Beard Restaurant Group, Adrienne Brand, is familiar and passionate about all aspects of the hospitality industry. She attended the Rosen College of Hospitality of UCF, right after high school, and has had an opportunity to experience every facet of the industry in her 10+ years in the workforce; From restaurant management, event planning, to Director of Operations she has excelled in all areas. As the daughter of a veteran she has traveled and lived in a multitude of areas, from Germany, to Ecuador and many US states in between each shaping her perspective of hospitality and service. She ultimately made her way back the panhandle to raise a family in the same area she grew up for a majority of her childhood. She is passionate about creating memorable experiences for all guests, whether in the restaurants, or through special events. Her goal of building a catering company that specializes in custom menus, along with combining all aspects of events to simplify the guest experience is coming true through Coastal Kitchen Catering and Events. Sharing similar enthusiasms for the hospitality industry as owners, Tyler Jarvis and Chris Ruyan, she is excited to be a part of the team creating enhanced dining experiences along the gulf coast.

3413, 2700 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin (850) 650-7100

Destin, Fort Walton, Santa Rosa Beach areas (850) 797-7024 Dining Guide 2019

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Floyd’s Shrimp House

Pazzo Italiano

Meet Mike. Mike likes to eat shrimp. Lots of Shrimp. Be like Mike… Chef Mike Rhodes leads the Floyd’s Shrimp House team with great proficiency, strong leadership, and a whole lot of humor. Fourteen years of dedication to the company, Mike hasn’t lost his passion for the restaurant industry or quick wit with his kitchen crew. Although he takes great pride in his team, he’s the heartbeat that keeps this iconic Okaloosa Island restaurant thriving. With over 60,000 pounds of fried shrimp rolling through Floyd’s each year – the proof is in the product!

Award winning Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar is a local family-owned restaurant featuring the only all-native Italian chef team in the Emerald Coast. We are proud and humbled to have been serving true authentic Italian cuisine for 2 years in the heart of Destin, FL, and soon (Spring 2020) at our new (second) location in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

Floyd’s Shrimp House in Fort Walton Beach is a waterfront eatery notorious for their all-you-can-eat fried shrimp or fish platters. With a variety of specialty baked oysters, giant shrimp and seafood platters, and all-American fare, it’s easy to see why families have made this their favorite spot to revisit year after year. Check out Floyd’s elevated outdoor patio space that offers outstanding views of the Gulf and Okaloosa Island Pier. And next time you’re there, say hello to Mike! He’ll most likely be wearing a festive pair of chef pants that are sure to make you smile.

With 52 years of experience all together we, Levente Tischler (General Manager/ Owner) and Alfonso Di Bonito (Master Chef/Owner), decided to bring to you the best of our craft, love for food and excellent service by hand picking our chef team from Napoli, Italy. The Pazzo Italiano team also includes Fausto Della Ragione (30+ years of experience) and Chef Pellegrino Pisticelli (10+ years).

1450 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach (850) 243-2232

34904 Emerald Coast Parkway, Destin (850) 974-5484

Every day at Pazzo Italiano is a treat and a feast of taste and service. We work hard and passionately to share with you a warm, delightful and true Italian dining experience. With the sounds of boiling made-from-scratch sauces, the smell of baking bread and fresh herbs, the warmth of our burning wood fire from our imported brick oven, we are very grateful every day to have been blessed with the opportunity to serve you, your family, your friends, and your business partners.

Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant has been creating authentic Mexican dishes on the Gulf Coast since 2000. Boasting traditional cuisine coupled with a family owned atmosphere, Pepito’s success stems from their dedication to using only the freshest ingredients and made from scratch plates that truly bring the border to the beach. Offering such top sellers as their amazing Fajitas, the Chimichanga Meal, and the hunger busting Big “S” Burrito, this much-loved restaurant offers a taste of Mexico at its most authentic. The menu ranges from quick and healthy meals, hamburgers, pasta, and steaks to popular Mexican dishes and a traditional Taqueria menu including street tacos and hand made quesadillas. And don’t forget the legendary award winning Margaritas! A Destin icon, the original Pepito’s is located at 757 Harbor Boulevard, Unit 1, and they are very proud to now have locations in Niceville, Miramar Beach, and Fort Walton Beach. No matter which location you choose, every plate shows a passion for good food served in an atmosphere where everyone knows you and you feel like family.

757 Harbor Boulevard #1, Destin (850) 650-7734 34

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Rockin Tacos Rockin Tacos boasts a high-energy atmosphere with fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine, directly overlooking the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico! Locals and visitors favor the flavors and the fun festivities of this Okaloosa Island hot spot. Rock your senses with table-side guacamole, fresh fish tacos, or sizzling fajitas complete with authentic homemade tortillas. For those who love a good tequila, look no further. Rockin Tacos offers 75 different varieties of tequilas as well as tasting flights and a list of quenching margaritas like the house Rockin Rita or sweet-n-spicy Jalapeño Marg. When day turns to night, Rockin Tacos continues to rock with a late-night happy hour and a live DJ. Inside the fast-paced kitchen you’ll find Chef Sixto Martinez. Born in Guatemala, Sixto brings his roots to the menu with homemade spice blends and vibrant flavorful dishes. You can find this local celebrity also featured on Travel Channel’s Food Paradise with the Cajun-favorite fried gator tacos. Sixto has been on team Rockin Tacos since their launch in 2015 and takes pride in each authentic dish leaving his kitchen. Always rockin a killer smile, don’t be a stranger to Sixto next time you’re in Rockin Tacos and say hola!

1450 Miracle Strip Parkway, Fort Walton Beach (850) 226-8226

Surf Hut

The Crab Trap

Since opening in 2014, Surf Hut is the picture-perfect spot for beachfront dining, southern hospitality, and gorgeous Gulf views. Offering everything from Gulf seafood such as local fish, shrimp, and oysters, Surf Hut has everything you’d anticipate for a beachfront hangout, and more. The locals agree on the hut life, as Surf Hut was awarded Best Seafood Restaurant from VIP Destin Magazine for 2019.

Year after year, The Crab Trap has been a popular destination for friends and families alike. With Gulf-front dining, unforgettable sunset views, and a beach playground for the kids, it’s no wonder why it’s a staple in the lives of both visitors and locals. The Crab Trap features seafood favorites such as wild and sustainable Alaska king crab legs, award-winning gumbo, and southern-style jumbo lump crab cakes.

It’s no doubt that the Surf Hut has become a tradition for visitors, and a favorite for locals. Whether you want to go whole hog or cast your line fully in the water, the menu at Surf Hut has the perfect blend of both land and sea options. You’ll feel right at home as soon as you step in the open-doors and easily become a part of the Surf Hut squad.

Behind every great restaurant, is a great kitchen manager. Chef Frank Lozano is a prime example. Loyal to the company for 15 years, his grit and appetite for The Crab Trap helps feed over half a million seafood-hungry visitors annually. Lozano’s dedicated to the local Gulf seafood market and faithful to serving the freshest ingredients. There’s no doubt that he’s quick, efficient, and committed to each guest at this fast-paced popular eatery and it reflects in every delicious dish that leaves his kitchen.

The success of a restaurant always starts in the kitchen and at Surf Hut, they double down on their efforts. Chefs Kyle Strong and Christian Griffin comanage the kitchen with over 50-years of combined restaurant knowledge. Their complimentary leadership skills are the heart of Surf Hut and reflect in each dish and every experience. Both agree that excellent flavor and superior quality bring each Surf Hut entree to life.

551 Scenic Gulf Dr. Destin, FL 32550 (850) 460-7750

Recently, Chef Lozano showcased the restaurant’s smoked tuna dip for the editors of Southern Living Magazine at their Birmingham headquarters, receiving rave reviews. Fresh tuna loins are smoked daily at The Crab Trap in their very own Big Green Egg charcoal grill, making a killer smoked tuna dip. Now an EGG-master, Lozano was a part of the award-winning team to take home first place in all four categories at the 2019 Big Green Egg EGGFEST.

3500 Scenic Hwy 98, Destin (850) 654-2722 Dining Guide 2019

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CALL (850) 650-7100 FOR RESERVATIONS Dine at Beach Walk Cafe, Destin’s favorite adult-only outdoor dining, for breathtaking views and exceptional food from Executive Chef Daniel Peters.


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BEACH WALK BOASTS IMPECCABLE FOOD, VIEWS “Clink!” The sound of wine glasses tapping together on the

beach as a couple toasts to their love during Beach Walk Café’s signature “Toes in the Sand” dining experience is just one note in a symphony of romantic moments to be had at the stunning beachfront restaurant. “Being nestled within one of the most romantic inns in the country and having unique dining experiences like Toes in the Sand, where guests can dine directly on the beach, definitely sets us apart as one of the premier places for a romantic evening,” said Beach Walk Café’s Food and Beverage Manager Michael McIntosh. With numerous accolades like Best Outdoor Dining on the Emerald Coast, Beach Walk Café remains Destin’s only fine dining restaurant located on the stunning beaches of the Emerald Coast. But, the atmosphere and unique dining options of the restaurant aren’t the only features guests keep coming back for. “Chef Daniel’s food is absolutely incredible,” said McIntosh. “We’re blessed to have a chef of his caliber leading our kitchen, and our guests see that when they dine here.” A Destin-native, Executive Chef Daniel Peters harmonizes fresh, locally-inspired ingredients and flavors with culinary skills he perfected while living in Napa Valley and studying under world-renown chefs like James Beard Award Winning and Michelin Star Chef Douglas Keane and Top Chef Contestant Sang Yoon among others. “Chef Stephan Barber, of Farmstead in Napa, really pushed an ingredient-forward approach to food,” said Peters. “And, I’ve really started pushing that myself at Beach Walk. These chefs taught me everything I know, and I think our guests can see their influence in the food we put out here.” Peters explained that he’s working to bring about a gulf-totable concept at Beach Walk, adding daily features like pan seared snapper with roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed haricot verts topped with lump crab and Mediterranean artichokes, cherry tomatoes and capers. “The features Chef puts out are some of the most creative and delicious dishes I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating,” said McIntosh. Even with Peters’s new additions, Beach Walk’s menu still holds the classic crowd favorite dishes that people from around the country have been enjoying since the restaurant first opened years ago. And, Beach Walk continues to feature special menus for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. “Our team has been working hard to make Beach Walk great,” said McIntosh. “And, we’re excited for the community to come out and see what’s new here.” For more information about Beach Walk Café, or to book your dinner reservation, please call 850-650-7100 or visit

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Pepper’s Panama City Now Open! newly remodeled after the hurricane and ready to serve bay county!

best happy hour & drink specials!

2 for 1 everything, any flavor, any size including top shelfdaily 1pm - 5pm and all day sundays!

House margaritas and draft beer 2 for 1 all day every day. shalimar - 1176 eglin pkwy, shalimar fl 32579 - 850.398.5042 crestview - 1900 s ferdon blvd suite 140, crestview, fl 32536 - 850.631.6970 panama city - 2061 N Cove Blvd, Panama City, FL 32405 - 850.785-2227 49.indd 1

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Fall Sangria


ooking for a cocktail to serve as the weather cools down? If you are missing your Summer Sangria and thought sangria season was over…Fall Sangria is for you. Same drink, different fruits. This flavored-for-fall sangria is perfect for fall entertaining, Thanksgiving or anytime throughout autumn. Whatever the occasion, this Fall Sangria is the perfect specialty libation for the season. Sangria is simple to make, yet it’s festive and most people enjoy the simplicity of the bold, rich flavors. This crowd-pleasing concoction can be made in advance to make your gathering less stressful. It is also helpful that you can mix-up a large batch if you’re expecting lots of guests. This Fall Sangria incorporates fresh Honeycrisp apples, green pears, Florida oranges and pomegranate seeds- inspired by the change in season. A cinnamon simple syrup gives it a little spice. Another wonderful thing about sangria is that you can whip it up the day before your event. It just gets better as the flavors blend together. In case you’ve never made sangria, don’t worry. It’s really easy. Just toss all the ingredients into a large pitcher, stir, and refrigerate for a few hours.

story by Steve Barber

This Fall Sangria recipe is made with light-bodied Spanish red wine, like Rioja, and seasonal fruit and seasonal spices. The deep fall colors of this blend look like autumn in a glass. With your delicious Fall Sangria prepared, you’re ready to celebrate the season in style. SANGRIA • 1 bottle light-bodied Spanish wine (Rioja) • 2 cups apple cider • 1/2 cup pear or apple brandy • 1/4 cup cinnamon simple syrup • 1 Honeycrisp apple cored and chopped • 1 green pear cored and chopped • 1/2 orange quartered and sliced • 1/2 cup seeds from one pomegranate DIRECTIONS: 1. In a large pitcher, combine the wine, apple cider, brandy, cinnamon simple syrup, and fruits. 2. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight prior to serving. CINNAMON SIMPLE SYRUP • 1 cup water • 1 cup sugar • 6 cinnamon sticks 1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar. 2. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the liquid just starts to thicken. 3. Transfer the liquid to a heatproof container, add the cinnamon sticks, and chill for at least 4 hours.

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VIP Destin at Amazing Lash Studio

lips, lines & lashes photos & story by Zhalman Harris


mazing Lash Studio partnered with Renew MedSpa to bring a fun event dubbed “Lashes, Lips & Lines” to Destin on October 1. The event, which took place at the Amazing Lash Studio in Destin, was a mini spa day for those ladies who wanted some pampering. Those who attended the event enjoyed wine, champagne, and light snacks as they waited to enhance their natural beauty. Services offered that evening included lash extensions, fillers, Botox, HydraFacial and IV Hydration Drips. Mary Francis Mullins of Amazing Lash Studio expressed her excitement working with Renew MedSpa, “The two centers are new in town and it’s great to be doing events like this to bring awareness, and let all of our local ladies know we’re here to take care of their beauty needs.”

Sarah Valeski & Keasha Jones

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Business Profile

portrait photos by Jennifer G Photography | story by Courtney Murray


he cheerful sunny yellow of a daisy fi lls the room…Flowers universally make everyone happy. Whether they are for a birthday, as a condolence, or for a wedding; flowers are an important part of every special occasion. When locals are searching for the perfect arrangements, they turn to Destin Floral Designs for all of their needs. It is no surprise that they have been awarded the prestigious “Best in Destin” and “Best of the Emerald Coast” awards. As a boutique florist and event design company, Destin Floral Designs prides themselves on high quality, one of a kind work. “Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” – Luther Burbank. The flowers from Destin Floral Designs come from near and far. These exquisite blooms come from local farms, California, Holland, Hawaii, and Ecuador. Florals can make the difference between an average event and an exceptional event. It is their superb attention to detail that sets them apart from the rest. Each arrangement is custom made and designed just before delivery and made with the utmost love and care. With over 20 years in business, Destin Floral Designs is now under the direction of the incredible floral designer Jenny Hemsworth-Segno, and her husband Raphael. Jenny’s love of florals began at a young age when working at a flower shop in South Bend, Indiana, during high school. She went on to study architectural and interior design in college where she learned advanced concepts of composition, form and structure. “After fleeing brutal Indiana winters for the warmth of the Emerald Coast, I returned to the floral industry,” remembered Jenny. “It’s the perfect outlet for me to combine my design expertise with my love of nature.”



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Flowers are a very popular way to express one’s love and affection. When you chose Destin Floral Designs, you know that you are going to receive the time and personal attention that your event deserves, no matter how big or small. When planning an event Jenny meets with the clients to gain an idea of their vision. She then works her magic to make that dream come true. The full-service production team at Destin Floral Designs is knowledgeable in the latest trends in floral designs and table décor. They use their techniques to provide stunning florals for everything from the perfect bridesmaids’ luncheons and rehearsal dinners to business conferences, galas and more. Working in weddings is especially exciting and uplifting. Just like each bride and groom, there is a unique quality to every wedding floral arrangement. But remember, Destin Floral Designs is much more than just weddings. They take weekly standing orders for local businesses and restaurants, handle welcome arrangements for vacation rental companies (an extra touch that makes visitors feel special!), and provide florals for photo shoots and special events that happen every day like birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, or just showing someone love and appreciation. The passion Jenny has is apparent in each design she creates. She described, “I get to touch flowers, to feel nature and Momma Earth every day. I get to go to work and ‘play in the dirt’.” Add some beauty in your life and visit 127 Harbor Blvd., Suites 8a and 9a, Destin, FL 32541. For more information visit

November 2019 | XX

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VIP Destin at Destin United Methodist Church

BUSINESS PALOOZA Expo & Lunch photos & story by Zhalman Harris


ocal businesses came to experience the Business Palooza Expo & Lunch, which was held at the Destin Methodist Church on September 10. The event was put together by the Destin Chamber of Commerce to showcase the programs and services area businesses have to offer. There were non-profit partners and businesses with exhibits at the event. The Destin Area Chamber of Commerce prides itself on working to build successful businesses and a vibrant economy for the local area. The Chamber provides products and services to its member businesses, helping them grow and prosper by acting as the voice of business in government affairs. Governed by a volunteer board of directors and operated by a professional staff, the Chamber works daily to ensure that businesses have what they need to flourish. A strong base of volunteers assist in making sure that all of the programs are relevant to the needs of businesses.


Dion Moniz & Julie Cotton

Amy Walsh & Kellyanne Bartleson

Jeff Welch & Brenda Gray

Sophia Lombardi & Ayesha Haider

Tammy Laborde & Steve Philpot

Adam Halter & Meg Pettis


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Shane Moody, Kathy Haugen & Eddie Bird

Blissfully Happy,Inc.

Jessica Johnsey, Rachel Guidry & Chelsea Fox

Bethany Worley, Jenni Brunson & Denise Kendust

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VIP Destin at Burnt Pine Golf Club

19th Annual

Charity Golf Classic photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he 19th Annual Charity Golf Classic, hosted by the Sacred Heart Foundation and located at the Burnt Pines Golf Club, was held on September 20. Proceeds from this event were directed toward the expansion of the Comprehensive Spine Program at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast specifically, to purchase state-of-the-art robotic surgical equipment for the new fifth operating room. RCI served over-the-top bloody marys at breakfast to start off the day with a kick! There was an awards ceremony, a bourbon and cigar tent, live music, and a few surprises throughout the day. There was also a silent bid with items like a Tag Heuer Watch donated by McCaskill and Company Fine Jewelry, Bordeaux 101 Dinner, Four Course Wine Dinner for 8 at the Bijoux Restaurant, signed guitar by Luke Combs, and much more. This year over 110 people and 30 teams participated in the successful event under Co-Chairman Jon Vice and Cory Fosdyck.

Cory Fosdyck & Jon Vice

Julie Milam & Steve Rodes

Kit Sause, Joe Capers, Gerry Brocatao & John Collias

Cole Mertins & Adam Conant

Kelly Lash & Charlie Henry

Patricia Parker, Patty Miller, Janet Piepul, Peggy Sue Mullen & Aleta Jefferson November 2019 | 63

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VIP Destin at Charity Golf Classic

Rachel Childs & April Wilkes

Ed Porento, Bill Kennedy, Steve Johnson & Ed Blackerby

Dave Brown & Alisha Keeter

Roger Hall, Janis Sturm, Christa Allen & Amber Lewis

Krystin Freed, Kathy Hewitt & Eddie Alderson

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TC Walker, Rick Lancaster & Jimmy Neilson

Brian Williams, Jim Pierce, Hank White & Allen Fiorenza


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It’s a long journey to become the one. In our constant pursuit of absolute beauty, every Forevermark diamond undergoes a journey of rigorous selection. This is why less than 1% of the world’s diamonds are worthy of the Forevermark inscription – our promise of beauty, rarity and responsible sourcing.


© Forevermark 2019. Forevermark ,




are Trade Marks used under license from De Beers Group.

Between Destin and SanDestin | 850-650- 2262

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Sweater Weather story by Courtney Murray


he temperature begins to dip, the familiar sound of fallen leaves crinkle beneath your feet, and the scent of pumpkin spice lattes waft on the breeze…it’s officially sweater weather. Even though sweater weather is a little ways off if you live in Destin, you can dream right? Lucky for us there are plenty of lighter weight options to fulfi ll our itch for fall fashion. Crochet and open weave fabrics are a great choice for warmer climates. Pair a thin crochet cardigan with cut off shorts and a simple white tank. You can switch up accessories to create a completely new look each time. Throw on a camel flat brimmed hat and some tan ankle booties for a Coachella-inspired boho ensemble. Add thin layered gold necklaces and leopard print mules for a simple, yet polished outfit. Speaking of leopard, the animal print trend is still going strong and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The look transfers seamlessly into the autumn season. Trade out your leopard tanks for a soft cotton blend pullover. Pro tip: size up one or two sizes for a tunic fit that can be paired with leggings. Let’s be honest, everything is better with leggings. Cardigans and dusters are also perfect with leggings and they come in every color, fabric, and shape under the sun. A long charcoal grey duster with a black turtleneck and over the knee boots is a sleek look perfect for work or cocktails with your girlfriends. While a color block cardigan with distressed denim, an eyelet lace trimmed camisole, and sneakers is a put together casual look for the stylish girl on the go or mom chasing her toddlers in the park. No fall wardrobe is complete without the ubiquitous chunky sweater. Whether it’s a rich wine colored cable knit turtleneck, a nubby olive pompom pullover, or an irresistibly soft white chenille off the shoulder slouchy sweater; wearing one of these will have you dreaming of snuggling up with a cozy plaid blanket and sipping a hot apple cider with a good book. Don’t forget to burn the spiced pumpkin pie candle. Men can’t be forgotten when it comes to this fall wardrobe staple.


Sweaters come in all shapes and styles for the boys, too. A V-neck pullover is the most universal option. Choose a luxurious cashmere in a classic color and you can take that bad boy to the office, on a date, or for the perfect Instagram-worthy family photo shoot at the apple orchard. They look stylish worn alone, or with a plaid shirt peeking out from beneath. There’s something old worldly about a man in a cardigan. Visions are conjured up of lounging in a leather chair in a dimly lit cigar bar with perfectly worn in loafers and a single malt in hand. Cardigans can also go the other direction into hipster territory, too. Pair with skinny jeans, a plain white tee and some stylish sneakers, and all you need is the obligatory hipster glasses to complete the look (prescription not necessary). Turtlenecks are another popular style for men as the temperature begins to drop. The easiest way to wear one is with your favorite pair of jeans and some tan boots. Sweaters can be fancy with sequins or fringe or as basic as a plain black crewneck. Trends will come and go, but one thing will never change; the jeans and sweater combo is an autumn uniform for all. Happy Fall Y’all.


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cardigans are great for breezy days

off the shoulder keeps it not too hot, and not too cold

shorts with long sleeves are perfect for cool days

swap out the skinny jeans for corduroy pants to warm up your look

change up the shoes to warm up the look

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VIP Destin at The BoardWalk

International Coastal Beach

Cleanup Okaloosa Island photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he International Coastal Beach Cleanup Okaloasa Island took place on September 21. The BoardWalk on Okaloasa Island teamed up with Florida’s Emerald Coast and Saltwater Restaurants to offer three different locations across the Fort Walton and Destin area for this great event. With over 300 registered volunteers removing over 243 lbs of trash, it was a big success. Misty Rae Ruthrauff, marketing director at Saltwater Restaurants, Inc., spoke about how this wonderful event is a great way to get kids involved. It was a beautiful morning with a huge turn out with hopes of expanding the educational part of this event each year. Volunteers were served with a pancake breakfast from The Crab Trap, and were given free event t-shirts. There were even prizes awarded for most cigarette butts collected. This year to help reduce plastic waste, volunteers were asked to bring reusable buckets and gloves, or take advantage of buckets donated by Lowe’s for the event.

Kristina Dugan & Nathan Harris

Jin Williams & David Nelson


Emily Roller & Erik Young

Adam & Rebecca Bush

Rich & Rochelle Dale

Erin Thatcher, Jessica Knowlton, Misty Rae Ruthrauff & Mike Minnich

Kim Lam & Kasia Knaus


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2019/2020 SEASON Jared Richey & Hannah Merren



STORYTELLER SERIES Jenny, Larae & Emma Atkinson

Gileah Taylor: A Life Lived in Song Winston Churchill: Through the Storm Resurrecting van Gogh Dinner with Booker T.




MAY 14-17

Cailey, Jason & Trisha Robertson

Emerald Coast Theatre Company is located at 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite 200 in Miramar Beach. The entrance is on the south side of the building facing Highway 98, take the stairs or elevator to the second floor.

Tickets or info, call 850-684-0323 or visit

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P O LLS O PE N N OV E M B E R 1 1 - 30



CATEGORIES COCKTAILS & CUISINE Appetizer Asian Bar/Tavern Bartender BBQ Beer Selection Bloody Mary Breakfast Brunch Buffalo Wings Burger Casual Dining Catering

Locally Owned Restaurant

Locally owned Retailer

Medical Practice


Men’s Clothing

Medical Spa

Mexican/Latin American Restaurant

Outdoor Furniture


Outdoor Bar

Place to Spoil Her

Pain Management

Outdoor Dining

Place to Spoil Him



Seafood Market

Place for a Massage


Shoe store

Plastic Surgery

Place for Cocktails

Shopping/Lifestyle Center


Place for Coffee

Wine Shop/Liquor Store

Senior Living Community

Seafood Restaurant

Women’s Accessories

Urgent Care

Special Occasion Restaurant

Women’s Clothing

Vision Care

Steakhouse Sushi Wine List



Crab Cakes

Children’s Clothing



Fine Dining



Home Décor/ Accessories

Happy Hour

Gift Shop

Italian Restaurant


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HEALTH & WELLNESS Aesthetician Alternative/Natural Medicine Anti Aging Service Chiropractic Clinic Cosmetic Dentist Dental Practice Dermatology Practice Doctor Medical Center

Vein/Vascular Care Weight Loss Women’s Wellness Provider

SERVICES A/V Provider Accounting Firm Alarm/Security Company Architect Automobile Dealership - New Automobile Dealership - Pre Owned

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Automobile Repair/Service

Heating & Air Service

Real Estate - Residential

Place to be Seen

Luxury Automobile Sales

Insurance Firm

Real Estate Professional - Female

Place to go Dancing

Bank/Financial Institution

Interior Design Firm

Real Estate Professional - Male

Place to People Watch


Interior Designer/Decorator

Real Estate Team

Place to take the Kids

Boat Sales & Service

IT Firm/Web Design

Real Estate Company

Place to watch a Sunset


Landscaping/Lawn Service

Sign Company


General Contractor

Law Firm

Title Company

Water Sports Experience

Specialty Contractor

Limo/Transportation Service

Vacation Rental

Charity/Non Profit

Mortgage Lender


New Business


Place for Rehearsal Dinner

Customer Service Event Planner

Payroll Firm/Human Resources

Event Rentals

Pet Care & Accessories

Event Venue


Financial Advisor

Place for Eyelashes, Nails, or Makeup


Pool Building/Service


Property Management

Golf Cart/ATV

Public Relations Firm

Hair Salon

Real Estate - Commercial

Charter Fishing Experience Golf Course Hotel

Place for Stationery/Invites Place to buy Engagement Ring Place to buy Wedding Dress Place to get a tuxedo

Local Annual Event Party Boat Experience

Place to Pop The Question

Place for “Girl’s Night Out” Place for a Date Place for a Weekend Getaway

Reception Venue Wedding Planner Wedding Venue




for voting! Remember to vote daily on the official Best In Destin voting ballot.


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VIP Destin at Slick Lips

October Cover Reveal photos & story by Zhalman Harris


lick Lips was the venue for the October edition of VIP Destin Magazine’s cover reveal party. The highenergy, fun-filled after work event took place on October 3, and was attended by local business owners and invited guests. The surprise cover photo for the History & Heritage issue featured Kelly Longberg & Bethany Worley. Guests enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Jay Ammons and his team. Thousands of dollars in prizes were won by lucky event-goers who dropped their business cards in a basket at the entrance to enter for a chance to win.

Christie Solomon & Beth Clavier

Ashley Vannoy & Lea Capers

Velia Lala with Lexy, Mary Chris Murry

Emily & William Kelly

Lance & Mary-Frances Mullins

Tyler Brabson & Shane Nowlin November 2019 | 73

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VIP Destin at VIP Destin Magazine’s Cover Reveal

Allyson Shirley & Ashley Goodwin


Jessica Bracken & Steve Barber

Lee Campbell & Simone Justesen

Jay Ammons & Bryce Jarvis

Brett, Nathaniel & Dr. Danielle McKinney

Todd Reeves, Mary Lamb & Mackenzie Marlowe

Linette Ragsdale, Verla Price & Claire Drake

Stephanie White, JD Whidden & Kathy Whidden

Janet Piepul & Allen French


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VIP Destin at Grayton Beach

Grayt Vibes

Art & Music Festival photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he annual Grayt Vibes Art & Music Festival in Grayton Beach was held on September 22. Grayt Vibes was an all day block-party style festival with the goal of creating exposure for artists and musicians. Hotz Ave was filled with vendor tents from bike rentals, local art, and even some food trucks; this event had the whole street busy from beginning to end. Throughout the day, event-goers participated in corn hole tournaments, Gulf Therapy paddle, yoga sessions, live music, a car show, and raffle tickets. Live music from Dion Nathaniel Jones Trio, Rock on the Road, Shane Curle and Hayden Welch, Dread Clampitt, The Shakedown, and even DJ 30A between sets. An extremely warm day didn’t stop the crowds thanks to the supportive community and to Amanda Abbott Merideth and Matt Kemp for organizing this event. The charities that benefited from this event include Gulf Therapy, Trees on the Coast, and South Walton Artificial Reef Association.

Teresa Meredith & Michael Tounge

Nicole Piland & Hunter Woodruff

VIctoria Hughes & Leigh Vandeven

Stephen Custred & Julie Gaffney

Claire Bassen & Renee Broxson

Maxine Orange Bern & Tabitha Miller November 2019 | 77

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VIP Destin at Grayt Vibes Art & Music Festival

Shannon Herring & Billie Gaffrey

Tiffany Ashley, Lexy Thompson & Paul Copeland

NOW CATERING Florence Rogers, Lainie Hyman & Caroline Boone

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NOVEMBER 7-10 Seaside Seeing Red Wine Festival Thursday 6:30pm – 9:30pm Bud & Alley’s Vintner Dinner Friday 6:00pm – 8:30pm Al Fresco Reserve Wine Tasting - Ruskin Place Saturday 1:00pm – 4:00pm Grand Tasting - Downtown Seaside & Ruskin Place Sunday 10:00am – 1:00pm Celebration of Bubbles Brunch - Ruskin Place Join in for a timeless tradition in Seaside featuring renewed events along with an amazing selection of wines and culinary treats! Visit for additional event information and to purchase tickets.

NOVEMBER 9 Blues, Brews & BBQ

NOVEMBER 9 Emerald Coast Honor Games Legendary Marine 4601 Legendary Marina Drive | Destin 7:00am – 4:00pm The existence of the Emerald Coast Honor Games is simple…to “Raise funds to support DEFENDERS of the Front Line.” A day of competition, honor, community, fun, food, and world class views. Home to the “World’s largest U.S.A. flag,” this celebration will be both historic and unique. Visit to get involved!

HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Boulevard | Destin 12:00pm – 4:00pm Fire up the grills, tap the kegs and crank up the tunes. This barbecue block party will fi ll the docks with the aroma of smoky ribs and pulled pork. Over 15 of the area’s finest restaurants will compete in a spirited and fun BBQ competition, offering samples of creative BBQ styles, specialty sauces and craft brews. Prizes will be awarded to the top winners in each category. Live Music from John Hart & Tyler Mac on the main stage! Bring the family for a day of food, fun and music!

NOVEMBER 9 Destin Crafted The Henderson Beach Resort & Spa 200 Henderson Resort Way | Destin 1:00pm – 4:00pm On Saturday beer and bourbon geeks are invited to gather at The Henderson to sample hundreds of rare and delicious beers and bourbons alongside local food hand-crafted by some of the area’s favorite restaurants. General admission tickets are $50 per person, VIP tickets are $145 per person and include admission to all three events… an exclusive party on the rooftop at The Henderson on Friday, and a special brunch at The Craft Bar - Destin on Sunday! Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.




An Evening of Sparking Wine & Holiday Lights

Bourbon at the Bay

Old Florida Holiday & Winter Market

The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd. | Miramar Beach 4:00pm – 6:00pm Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights will take place on the beautifully decorated streets of Baytowne Wharf and feature more than 30 champagnes and delicious appetizers at featured Village restaurants. The event will feature an evening of live music and end with the first tree lighting of the season and Baytowne Wharf’s choreographed light show, 12 Nights of Lights.

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Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club 465 Regatta Bay Blvd. | Destin 5:30pm – 8:30pm Kick off your holiday season – and shopping – in style with the 7th Annual Bourbon at the Bay presented by Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC - Florida! Sample bourbon, scotch, and champagne, try your luck in the Destin Commons wine pull, bid on your choice of gifts, trips, and more in the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center silent auction, and enjoy decadent bourbon-infused fondue from The Melting Pot. New this year is the Beach Liquors VIP Room! Follow to stay up-todate on details.

WaterColor’s Town Center & Cerulean Park Santa Rosa Beach 5:00pm – 9:00pm This event is a holiday extravaganza complete with snow, carriage rides around the park, bonfires and s’mores, pictures with Santa, lighting of the tree, holiday music and a winter market full of gifts, sights, smells and tastes of the season. This event is open to WaterColor residents, guests and the public and is free of charge for attendees. Bring out the entire family to enjoy this fun-fi lled holiday event!

Visit for more events! 10/30/19 9:40 AM

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Come Visit the New Medical Spa On the Emerald Coast

How Old You Are Is Your Business… How Young You Look Is Ours. Offering the most proven and safe non-invasive aesthetic and rejuvenation services. Botox ∙ Emsculpt ∙ Derma Filler Injections IV Hydration ∙ Medical Grade Facials Latisse and Hair Restoration ∙ Micro Needling

Dr. Squatrito specializes in forefoot and rearfoot medical and surgical procedures for the entire family. Her areas of treatment and specialty include: • Bunion & Hammertoe Surgery • Arthritis • Ankle Sprains • Fractures • Tendon & Ligament Reconstruction • Plantar Fasciitis • Heel Spur Syndrome

• Achilles Tendinitis • Adult & Pediatric flatfoot • Lateral Ankle Instability • Diabetic Foot Care • Ingrown Toenails & Nailcare • Warts • Wound care • Sports Injuries

205 Brooks St. . SE #301 . 850.503.1060 Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 ∙


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LOCALE O Moody, Spies Honored by Florida Association of Chamber Professionals & Spies Installed as Current Chairman The Florida Association of Chamber Professionals (FACP) recognized Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP, and Elizabeth Spies for their years of service to the chamber industry, during the FACP annual conference, held Sept. 17 – 19, at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla. Moody, President & CEO of the Destin Chamber and a previous chairman of FACP, was recognized for 25 years of service. He has served the Destin Chamber in his current role since 2004, following positions at the Clayton County (GA) Chamber of Commerce, Laurens County (SC) Chamber of Commerce, and Greenville (SC) Chamber of Commerce. Through his leadership, two of those chambers have been recognized as the nation’s top mid-sized chambers, receiving the Award for Excellence from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. The Destin Chamber received this honor in 2005 and the Laurens County Chamber in 1999. Spies, Vice President of Communications of the Destin Chamber, was recognized for 15 years of chamber service. Also during the event, she was installed as the 20192020 FACP Chairman of the Board. As Chairman, Spies will lead a board of 30 chamber professionals and oversee their direction in providing professional development opportunities for those within the chamber of commerce industry. She replaces Dawn Adams, IOM, Chief Financial Officer for the JAX Chamber, in this role.


Ring in the Magic of the Holidays at Silver Sands Premium Outlets

Silver Sands Premium Outlets is celebrating the holly jolly season with holiday happenings for shoppers of all ages to enjoy. Throughout November and December, the premier outlet shopping destination is hosting special events to make the season both merry and bright! Santa’s elves can also find enormous savings on gifts for everyone on the list at sought-after brands. Holiday Gift With Purchase, Throughout November and December Silver Sands Premium Outlets is offering a special gift with purchase to help guests save even more on holiday shopping. Shoppers who purchase $150 worth of American Express Simon Giftcards will receive the perfect stocking stuffer – a complimentary $20 gift card to kate spade new york, Vans, Columbia Factory Store or Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH! Gift cards and this special offer are available at Guest Services, located down the breezeway between kate spade new york and Vera Bradley. Valid while supplies last. Get Holiday Ready, November 1-17 It’s never too early to begin shopping for the most wonderful time of the year! Fashionistas are invited to discover additional deals on the season’s hottest gifts – including clothing, shoes, accessories, home goods and more. The Ultimate Holiday Outlet Sale, December 6-24 - In addition to offering enormous deals on premier brands, the savings destination will provide a curated gift guide packed with inspiration and ideas. Shoppers can pick up a gift guide at Guest Services or at various locations around the center. Santa Arrival, November 23 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. - Families are invited to ring in the season with the annual Santa Arrival event, featuring Kris Kringle’s grand entrance on a fire truck! Kids can gather around the courtyard in front of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH to take photos with St. Nick and share holiday wishes. In addition, children can enjoy festive holiday-themed activities,

including face painting and a special surprise from Santa. In the spirit of the giving season, the first 50 families to arrive at the event will receive a complimentary goody bag with a $20 Disney Store Outlet gift card!

Proffitt PR Promotes Taylor Sheekley to Marketing Manager Proffitt PR, a boutique Public Relations, Marketing and Event Planning firm, has announced the promotion of Taylor Sheekley to Marketing Manager. She will have the primary responsibility for managing all public relations, marketing and advertising initiatives for the 40 plus clients Proffitt

PR manages.“Taylor is the glue that holds Proffitt PR together,” said Jessica Bracken, CEO and founder of Proffitt PR. “Taylor has been instrumental in helping Proffitt PR grow along with expanding our clients’ footprint in the region. Sheekley, 24, joined the company in 2018 as the Marketing Coordinator and quickly took on multiple projects including event design, social media management, photography and graphic design in addition to her original job roles. As an integral part of the team, she manages the day-to-day operation of the office, attends networking events, coordinates schedules for the company and maintains a high level of organization in order to accomplish deadlines for all clients. Sheekley graduated with honors from University of Florida in 2017 where she received a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. She is a past board member and current member of the Florida Public Relation’s Association, Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Young Professionals of Walton County.


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From 7pm to 11pm

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres - Champagne Toast Raffle - Silent Auction - DJ 30A BE N E FI T T I NG

Tickets $75 Per Person Available at Photobooth and photography by

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VIP Destin at Seascape

Eggs on the Beach

Eggfest photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he 6th Annual Bay Breeze Patio Big Green Egg Cooking Competition was held September 28 at Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach. The event, which celebrated the delicious results of cooking on the Big Green Egg smoker/grill, showcased 30 cook teams as they smoked and grilled their favorite dishes for tasters to sample and vote on their favorites. Guests enjoyed live music, a Knob Creek craft cocktail tasting seminar, ENCO Sports Zone, a charity drawing, and more. Proceeds raised at the event will benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and Food for Thought. Judges of the event included, Chef Phil McDonald and Debbie Swenerton of Black Bear Bread Co., Chef Nikhil Abuvala owner Roux 30a, and Chef Jack McGuckin executive chef Bijoux Destin. Some of the winners of the day were: Best Knob Creek Bite Winner: Saltwater Restaurants Inc. - 1st Place | Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty - 2nd Place Chan’s Wine World - 3rd Place Honorable Mention: Setco Services - Florida Title Company | The Henderson A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort / Primrose at The Henderson The Judges’ Award Winners: Saltwater Restaurants, Inc. - 1st Place | Setco Services - Florida Title Company - 2nd Place Westonwood Ranch Bacon Nation - 3rd Place

Mike & Leisha Kelley

Kathy & Ken Whidden

Hanna Roth & Molly Lutz

Alyssa Hoffman & Gil Osterloh

Emily Arnold & Antonia Poate

Calley Middlebrooks & Jennifer Filippone November 2019 | 87

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VIP Destin at Eggs on the Beach Eggfest

Kim McIntosh & Renee Akerson

Joey Spradlin, Collin Reynolds, Aaron Vaughn, Beth Clavier, Rio Estepe & Anne Hinze

Marissa Kola, Jaime Estep, Dinelle Putman & Lisa Foutch


Cindy, Jeff, Sophia & Lilian Garrard

Shelly & Robert Hinojosa

Richard & Demetria McNeese with Chanel

Ana Garcia & Jayne Smith

Shervin Rassa, Nicole Lockwood, Rita Cummins & Michele Rassa


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You bring out the best in us!

Please vote for Proffitt PR as the best Public Relations Firm and Event Planner in Destin!



Best Public Relations Firm 2013-2019 Best Event Planner 2018-2019 Best New Business 2012

9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 24 |

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Best Public Relations / Advertising Firm 2015-2018 Best Eevent Planning Firm 2015-2018

Miramar Beach, FL 32550


Finest Public Relations / Ad Agency 2016

(850) 460-7777


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VIP Destin at Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar-Okaloosa Island

FRLA Northwest Florida

Summit Reception photos & story by Zhalman Harris


nvited guests, some of Florida’s most influential hospitality professionals and toplevel executives, gathered at the FRLA Welcome Reception held at Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar-Okaloosa Island, on September 24. This get together preceeded the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Northwest Florida Summit. The social included various food stations, alluring performances by Aerial Events, live music from singer/songwriter Trest Richerson Music and CMT Touring Artist Eric Durrance, and a great networking environment. Tickets included cool swag and door prizes. The Northwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association hosted the Summit to highlight the operations and marketing sectors of the hospitality industry. The event brought a diverse group of entrepreneurial and executive-level hospitality experts, like Don Yaeger and Sarah Parker, to talk about leading industry trends, and best practices.

Leslie Sullivan & Jill Przymus

Don Yaeger & Nick Lowe

Rachelle Graves, Melissa Watson, Rachel Valesquez & Tanya Rauch

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Neal Kelly & Leslie Moland

Corey Mobley, Mary McCarron, Nicole Chapman, Ashley Connell & Alexis Franco


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Jessica Knowlton & Penny Wahab

Justin Furling, Josh Lucking & Will Bennett

Denise Song, Bobby Parker & Kathryn Rockwell

Lydia Faith, Misty Joy & Mel Martin November 2019 | 93

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Tyler Jarvis

What is your hometown, what brought you here to the Emerald Coast, and how log have you lived here? I am one of the rare residents that has been blessed to be born and raised right here in the worldrenowned Destin, Florida. Despite an eight-year stint away from the area while attending college and beginning my career in the restaurant industry working with Caesars and Harrah’s Entertainment, I have lived here for a combined 28 years and Destin has always been home for me. What led you to choose this profession? Growing up the son of a commercial and charter fisherman, we always had fresh seafood in the kitchen and I always found myself drawn to helping my mother prepare it for our family. There was nothing better than gathering around the table as a family and enjoying amazing meals and stories of the days’ catch from my father. It sparked a great level of respect for food, and ingrained a sense of humble hospitality into my soul that ultimately led me to wanting to share my passion for food and hospitality with our community and visitors alike. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? I truly appreciate how the majority of the businesses are locally owned, and how we collectively have a passion for giving back and helping others within our community. From our amazing churches to the wonderful charitable organizations, this is one of the most charitable and blessed communities in the country. It’s an honor to call Destin home and have the opportunity to help so many. What are three words that best describe you? Loyal. Passionate. Optimistic.

This is where I was born and raised, this is where I met my amazing wife Melissa and will raise our family just as I grew up. Our family will continue to be deeply rooted in the community, and we are humbled daily that we get to share our passion for hospitality, food, and local heritage with our community through our restaurants.

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photo by Zhalman Harris

Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because…

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