Ed’s Seafood Shed • 3382 Battleship Pkwy, Spanish Fort • 251 625-1947
It was Saturday morning. Katie and I were still celebrating Henry’s third birthday (the second of four consecutive days) with breakfast at “Panini” Pete Blohme’s iconic Ed’s Seafood Shed. We had a fantastic breakfast at Bob’s Downtown the day before, and I thought it would be great to do a review of Ed’s and mention Bob’s, as well as Dick Russell’s, just to remind everyone that Mobile does have some great breakfasts outside of our standard (albeit delicious) Waffle House.
That’s what we did. We had a breakfast that couldn’t have been beaten with a whisk the size of Ft. Lauderdale, then went to work and then to Laurel for two more celebrations with the cousins and grandparents. Sunday morning we woke to texted videos of a massive fire that severely damaged the big, yellow structure on stilts. It was like watching someone who had one foot in the water while his hair was in flames.
I struggled with what to write, but decided the best thing I could do is to write a normal review, as it stood on Saturday, so readers will know what they’re missing and what to expect should Ed’s return yield what it was putting out before.
We arrived around 8:30 a.m. and got a table in the air conditioning. I saw they had brunch drinks that included a Breakfast Bushwacker (coffee Frappuccino meets Bushwacker), and as interesting as it sounded, we thought it may be too sweet for us. We decided on the mimosas ($2 each). Henry was guzzling orange juice.
If you’ve ever been to any of Panini Pete’s restaurants, you may have had beignets ($4). For that price, you get four of the best beignets in the area, at least by our standards. They’re gorgeously golden, and softer and eggier than regular beignets. Of course, the powdered sugar is plentiful. It’s always a mess. But the question on everyone’s mind is, “to squeeze or not to squeeze.”
Leaning against that fried dough on your saucer is two lemon wedges. Straight lemon juice mixed with that silky, smooth sugar reminds me of what I want lemonade to taste like. Perhaps this is unconventional if you were brought up on Café Du Monde. Some may say it’s sacrilege, but it’s only an option. Do I squeeze? You bet I do, without batting an eye unless I accidentally inhale the sugar.
Henry doubled up and took the tiebreaker beignet. Because we are great parents who don’t seem to pump the brakes on our child’s sugar intake, we let him follow with flapjacks ($5.99). These two little cornmeal pancakes were silver dollar-sized and came with a crispy side of bacon and enough syrup for a full stack. His end of the table was as sticky of a wreck as you can imagine, but he was having a good time.
Katie was keeping it simple with a classic fried chicken, egg and cheese biscuit ($6.99). First, I think their biscuits are cooked in a muffin tin. The rounded bottom gets crispier on more surface area. If I were guessing, I might say this chicken approaches the 5- or 6-ounce range. They forgot the egg and cheese, but a minute or two later returned with a perfectly folded scramble with melted American cheese. The only thing that could make this better would be lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. If you’ve not done that before, do it.
When you are having breakfast on Battleship Parkway, you should try the Battleship Breakfast Bowl ($8.99). Start with a bed of cheese grits. Add to that bell peppers, bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs with a drizzle of hot sauce (probably Crystal). How do you think I responded when I found out you can add grilled shrimp for $3? You know me too well.
I worried I’d just reconstructed shrimp and grits, but it’s not really like that. The eggs give it a different vibe, and once you mix it up, you get a really good meal in a bowl.
The coffee was good, the service was good, the food was excellent.
This is my favorite Causeway spot. The fried shrimp are still the best. You can still get greens. When Pete took over a couple of years ago, he didn’t change much, but what he changed was for the better. I’ve been an Ed’s fan for a very long time, I’m just more of a fan now. It was great before, then it simply got better.
I talked to Pete on the phone the Sunday afternoon of the fire. I could tell he was shaken up, but finding the light in the situation. At that point, he had only seen pictures.
“Well, the whole building is wood. If you saw any pics or watched any of the videos, it went up quick,” he said, referring to an amateur video making its rounds on social media, likely taken from what looked to be the Bayway on a cell phone.
“We may have to scrap it and start all over again, but we will be back. It won’t be anytime soon. I’m worried about my hourlies right now, and we’re trying to find everyone positions at our other restaurants so they don’t lose a paycheck.”
Good help is hard to find, and I get the sense he appreciates that. The other side of the situation that I can relate to is the responsibility one can feel when he takes over a business that has been around for so many years. You don’t want it to perish on your watch, so you push on. I have the feeling he will be back and better.
Pick up some of his beignet mix and learn to make your own mess. Eat something cool at Squid Ink (I was there last Saturday), take in the view at Sunset Pointe with some tapas, or go old-school Panini Pete at his namesake restaurant.
The Zeppelin fan in me says squeeze the lemon.
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