Chef John Currence of City Grocery fame has opened his third Big Bad Breakfast, and this one is at Inlet Beach.
The James Beard Award-winning chef opened City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1992 and currently owns five restaurants there.
"Twenty-five years in business is astounding statistics," said Currence.
He opened his first Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford in 2008, and in 2014, he opened his second one in Birmingham, Alabama.
Currence bases the success of his restaurants on everything being made from scratch, and creativity in presentation.
Currence said his dishes have a Creole/French/traditional influence but more influenced by Caribbean/black/French.
"We lived in the UK for two years and traveled and ate through France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. I saw food in its natural setting. Everything in retrospect makes sense," he said, looking back on his career choice.
The Big Bad Breakfast menu features fresh biscuits and preserves, shrimp and grits, the Riviera scramble with shrimp and crab, pancakes, waffles, locally roasted Octane Coffee, and Bloody Mary's.
Currence said 70 percent of orders are for the breakfast plate of two eggs any style, although he likes the skillet scrambles that come with chunky hashbrowns or the fried chicken with cheese on a cathead biscuit.
"Who wouldn't want that?" he asked.
Currence's first job was cooking during the summer of 1983.
"I had a ball cooking for Cajuns on a tug boat that summer," he said.
He went away to college in Virginia thinking he might work toward a law degree. But when he switched to a school in North Carolina, his parents weren't happy and he was on his own.
For money, Currence dove into restaurants and loved it, being lured back to New Orleans to open Gautreau's restaurant as sous chef.
"After the first night, it was like a lightening bolt. I said, this is what I'm doing for the rest of my life," he said.
Currence was born in New Orleans and moved to Oxford to open City Grocery in 1992. The City Grocery Restaurant Group has since opened City Grocery Catering Company, Boure, Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar and Fat Restaurateurs.
In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award and won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans.
In 2009, he was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef South.
"We could not be more excited to open this third location," said Currence, who has a 50-year history with the area.
"I first came to Destin in 1967, then got into Four Mile Village. This part of the coast is very special to me. I have taken a personal affront to the development and stopped coming for a bit," he said. "But the last couple of weeks I've fallen in love with the area all over again. It's vibrant now and family friendly, all grown up. I loved seeing how wide eyed my 4-year old was to be at the beach."
Although Currence has a history with the area, he said he did not choose to open a restaurant here.
"My business partners are guiding the growth model for us and the opportunity fell in our laps to open here," he said. "This just made sense. There wasn't much happening with breakfast here. And this area is such a destination for families, many coming from areas that are familiar with the brand. It's known. We deliver on the promise and everyone is confident we will succeed."
Currence lives in Oxford but will be down through the summer.
Hours of operation are 7 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. daily.