The locals were already calling, posting, texting, and emailing the news long before People magazine reported that Katie Holmes had made South Walton her choice destination for Memorial Day weekend.
Holmes entered Restaurant Paradis a little after 9 p.m. Saturday night with a female companion, said owner Gayle Pair.
"She was wearing a maxi dress and had her hair up; very casual," said Pair. "I wasn't there, but my daughter, Ansley, was."
Holmes walked in with her female companion and said they would just like to go in to the bar and have a drink, and breezed on in, said Ansley.
The bar was quiet right then, and they chose to sit in the big chairs away from the bar, and ordered a nice bottle of rose, which the two of them shared.
"She was beautiful, tall, and slender — with a ballerina body," said Pair.
Just after 10 p.m., Pair said some rowdy guys came in and recognized her. At that point, she asked for her check.
When in her car, she was heard to say, "Uh oh, I got recognized" and laughed, said Pair.
She and her companion drove away in a Mercedes convertible bearing New York tags and turned left toward Alys Beach.
She was at the restaurant about an hour and 15 minutes, said Pair, and she seemed in a very good mood and laughed a lot.
"The bottle of rose that she chose was a very nice gothic rose," said Pair.
Holmes is not the first celebrity to visit Paradis. The Pairs have seen famed interior designer Vern Yip, who is building a house in South Walton; Katherine Heigl; Lady Antebellum; Jason Aldean; and Nicky Loomis.
"We try not to say anything when a celebrity comes in," said Pair. "We want them to feel welcome and to come back. We would never ask to take a picture!"
Pair was not the only one to see Holmes over the weekend. She reportedly dined at the Summer Kitchen in Rosemary, and shopped in Seaside.
Al Cook, who owns a condo at Sand Cliffs next to Alys Beach, was sitting on the beach Sunday when a friend said, "There comes Katie Holmes." The friend had seen her in Alys Beach the day before.
"I said, 'Hey, Katie,'" said Cook. "She pretended to not hear me, so, I said it again. The second time, she sort of half-heartedly waved."
She was wearing a red baseball cap and a one-piece bathing suit.
Cook saw her again at the same spot on the beach the next day, and walking with the same female friend. On Monday, Cook said she was wearing a long-sleeved top and a big floppy hat and big sunglasses.
"If I had not been looking for her I would never have suspected that was a movie star," said Cook. "She was obviously trying to be inconspicuous."
Twitter star spottings
Queeenamanda: Katie Holmes, my girl crush, is staying in Rosemary. Have I mentioned I love my new job.
marla miller: OK IT WAS I was just behind Katie Holmes and her daughter in rosemary at summer kitchen....... OMG
Ellie Romair: I am at work in Seaside and Katie Holmes and Suri are somewhere within 10 minutes of my vicinity this is history right here
missy ball: Just saw Katie Holmes and the kids (sans Tommy) in Rosemary Beach. I love hanging with the stars on #30A
Kim Hatley: So I hear Channing Tatum & Taylor Lautner r in Watercolor & Katie Holmes & Suri r in Rosemary Beach…