Festival fare doesn’t always rank high on the food chain, for artists and attendees alike. I once made it a personal mission to aid health nut and banjo player extraordinaire Bela Fleck in finding a more nutritious option than the funnel cakes and grease burgers surrounding us in a food tent in North Carolina. Truth is we are all looking for something other than Philly cheese on stale bread and meatsicles, especially when the event lasts multiple days.
Hangout Festival continues to excel in the culinary as well as the musical aspects of festival planning with the aid of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) and the Alabama Gulf Seafood’s Courtyard for finer festival dining. “Alabama Gulf Seafood has been a huge part of the Hangout Music Festival for four years and this marks the second for our Courtyard,” said Chris Blankenship, director of Marine Resources and program administrator for Alabama Gulf Seafood. “We invite more than 40,000 people expected to attend Hangout to visit this area and sample Alabama’s unrivaled seafood as some of the industry’s best musicians play in the background.”
Here is a taste of what is available in the Courtyard.
Acme Oyster House
This century old French Quarter fave has recently come to Gulf Shores! Though the name is synonymous with New Orleans, Acme Oyster House will be at the Courtyard serving up some fine Alabama seafood at a very good price. Diners can feast on Boom Boom Shrimp ($7), a classic Shrimp Poboy ($8), or Meat Pies ($5).
That amounts to amazing food at amazing prices, even outside of a festival environment.
The Hungry Owl
Chef Tony Nicholas is a West Mobile gem who slings an ever changing menu of southern and Creole cuisine at his Hungry Owl restaurant and in his new food truck Hoot Wheels. The colorful chef (who spent some time working under Emeril Lagasse) will be on hand at the Courtyard doing what he does best at another amazing value.
You won’t be disappointed with Voodoo Shrimp and Grits ($10) or the Red Snapper Jambalaya ($10). But we all know the girls go crazy for the Blue Crab and Lobster Mac and Cheese ($10).
The Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission was formed under executive order of Governor Robert Bentley in 2011 and is comprised of appointed volunteers of every facet of the seafood industry. Promoting Alabama seafood is more of a service to the rest of the world. I’ve lived elsewhere and I can say I missed the wild caught shrimp and oysters, red snapper, and many other fish that make our coastline special. If you are a local or hail from elsewhere, be sure to take advantage of a better class of festival food. But hey, I need a little of the greasy stuff every now and again, too.