You can eat on the deck with a view of Chickasaw Creek at Off the Hook Marina & Grill, where specials include a steak sandwich and meatloaf burger topped with macaroni and cheese.
It’s been a good while since Mr. Bubble and I embarked on a food adventure. We still see each other at the occasional bluegrass gig, kale harvest and brake-pad changing party, but clashing schedules, family commitments and for him, an alcohol-free Lent have kept us out of the buddy zone as of late. But a break in the hustle and bustle and the beginning of turkey season finally afforded us an early lunch opportunity.
Mr. Bubble is quite the outdoorsman, but his opening day of turkey season yielded nothing worth firing a shot at. To save the man from Hunter’s Depression, I thought it best to drown his sorrow in food. Keeping with the theme, we found an outdoorsy spot with waterfront dining in Chickasaw.
Off the Hook Marina & Grill was just what Bubble needed after a fruitless day of becoming one with nature. We took Interstate 65 north to Saraland, hung a right off the interstate and another onto Craft Highway. Just there on the creek bank, the restaurant is positioned next to a boat launch and bait shop.
Outdoor seating is available with a sandy area and picnic tables in front of a stage that hosts live music on weekends when weather permits. The whole thing has, in some ways, a bit of a smaller, inland Pirate’s Cove feel.
Bubble and I arrived just before the lunch rush and started our order with a half-and-half tea and some Creek Trash ($8.25). This is Off the Hook’s nacho appetizer piled high on a platter the size of a pizza tray. Black beans, lettuce, tomato, black olives and green onions get the white queso and cheddar treatment with chopped ribeye steak sprinkled about. A little sour cream here and there with salsa and jalapeños on the side has the restaurant bragging about it.
This is good bar food.
I had to try the gumbo ($4.95 per cup/$6.50 per bowl). This is a fish and shrimp gumbo with andouille sausage, topped with crabmeat. I’m not one to shy away from sausage with seafood as some are, and although I could not detect any crabmeat my only complaint was the saltiness. An otherwise good gumbo, just sodium heavy.
If you had asked me what Bubble was going to get I would have probably guessed the turkey sandwich and a glass of Wild Turkey on the rocks, but I’d have been wrong. Spicy Shrimp Po-Boy ($7.95) was the surprise route taken, and it wasn’t half bad. The hoagie roll was the substitute for the bread with sautéed Gulf shrimp (thank you) and lettuce with a choice of lemon mayo, chipotle mayo or cocktail sauce. Bubble wanted to try the two mayos before committing, and though both were good he used the tangy lemon mayonnaise on the sandwich.
A side of pasta salad with an Italian-style dressing completed his meal.
Our sweet waitress steered me toward the Holy Cow ($8.50). This is the steak sandwich many customers rave about. Six ounces of thin-cut ribeye with peppers and onions on a warm hoagie roll, served with horseradish sauce and a bit of shaved Parmesan is definitely enough to make a fuss about. I ordered mine rare and even though the steak had not the slightest amount of pink it was still tender. Reason being, I believe, that the thin cut probably cooked while resting.
The spicy potato salad was nothing to write home about, but the sandwich made up for it. They also offer slaw, baked potatoes (loaded for an additional charge), potato wedges and chips that I’d be more than happy to try on my next visit.
While the menu is really sandwich heavy with the usual club, grilled cheese, ham and BLT, there are some less-common options such as T’s Veggie, shrimp salad po’boy and a Creek Club with shrimp, turkey and bacon on Texas Toast. The oddity that caught my eye was the Off the Hook burger, which is actually a meatloaf sandwich topped with mac ‘n’ cheese and chipotle mayo. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t go for that one.
Dessert is limited to one option, but a sweet tooth wouldn’t complain of an apple pie sundae with caramel, graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream. Neither of us were in any sort of shape to indulge in that sort of nonsense.
I say definitely make the drive to Chickasaw. I’m hesitant to just call it bar food because it’s more than that. Think of it as a friendly little place that is all homegrown. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Thursdays they close at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday the doors stay open until 10 p.m. and Sunday starts with a brunch menu at 11 a.m. and ends when dinner is over at 8 p.m.
I can see this place becoming wildly popular during pretty weather and warmer temps. Check their Facebook page for live music schedules and menu changes. Bubble and I are going back as soon as he kills a turkey. On second thought, maybe sooner.