Old McDonald's had a … Shrimp Basket: New restaurant coming to Destin

Jessica Coker
By the end of the year, The Shrimp Basket will be serving up favorites from the building formerly occupied by McDonald’s.

Who is bold enough to acquire the building once occupied by the Golden Arches that are recognized around the world?

The Shrimp Basket — a family owned business that got its start nearly 20 years ago in Gulf Shores, Ala., and has since grown to include 15 Shrimp Basket locations throughout Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

Looking to open sometime before Christmas, but definitely by the end of the year, the Destin Shrimp Basket will be located in the old McDonald’s building at 711 Harbor Boulevard, next to Beach Drive and Funky Blue's Shack.

Shrimp Basket District Manager Todd Carroll tells The Log that the family-friendly chain of restaurants typically stay around the Gulf of Mexico.

"We opened a location in Tuscaloosa in July; college towns have been good to us," said Carroll, so he's betting the restaurant will be a big draw to Destin's spring break crowd.

Carroll said they decided that the old McDonald's building would be the perfect location to open a Shrimp Basket restaurant.

"The size of the building is great for what we need, the flow is great, obviously we're going to need to remodel a bit," said Carroll. “The building just kind of seemed to be right in the middle of everything, right in the middle of town."

With Shrimp Basket locations already in Fort Walton Beach, Navarre and Pensacola, some Emerald Coast seafood aficionados may already be familiar with menu favorites like raw oysters that the "Basket-Heads" will shuck for you until you fill the pearl-sized hole in your heart for just $4.99/half dozen and $8.99/dozen.

Another popular menu item is the angel hair pasta and Bama roasted red pepper sauce with shrimp, crawfish or chicken. Served with French bread and shrimp slaw, the menu price of $12.99 almost seems like a misprint for the massive seafood meal fit for King Triton himself.

Monday's and Thursday's at the Shrimp Basket are all you can eat fried fish days. For $8.99/fried whitefish, $10.99/fried catfish and $9.99/mix of fried whitefish and fried catfish; all three options are served with shrimp slaw, hushpuppies and the diner’s choice of new potatoes, fries or potato salad.

Tuesday is all you can eat steamed shrimp day. For $13.99 guests are served corn, shrimp slaw, new potatoes and all the shrimp their stomachs can handle.

Sunday and Wednesday are all you can eat fried shrimp day. For $10.99 patrons get as much flakey fried shrimp as they’d like, shrimp slaw, hushpuppies and their choice of new potatoes, fries or potato salad.

With each Shrimp Basket location having the same menu and the same prices, menu consistency is not a myth or a salty fish-tale at this seafood restaurant.

Around the same time, another Shrimp Basket will open it's doors to guests in Evergreen, Ala.

Also part of the Shrimp Basket family are its two sister restaurant's — The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar and Mikee's Seafood, both in Gulf Shores.

The news of the restaurant coming to town drew plenty of “likes” on The Log’s Facebook page.

“Been to the one in Pensacola (near the bridge) and the one in Gulf Shores... a great addition,” said Kim Keeton Smithers  “Their house hot sauce quickly became a staple at our table, the tacos are amazing, and the oysters and happy hour can't be beat.”