Groovy Grouper goes global with a twist

Advertorial by Deborah Wheeler
Chef Orion Cordoves, owner A.J. Tusa and managing partner Kevin Moran show off the Commons Burger.

Shoppers, residents and visitors have a new dining option with the Groovy Grouper Grill  — Destin Commons' newest dining establishment, which offers a new concept.

Designed to be more than just a place to eat while resting your feet and credit card, The Groovy Grouper will also teach you something while you dine.

What diners will see are 32 flat-screen TVs showing cooking demos by Chef Orion Cordoves, or a video of managing partner Kevin Moran imparting his knowledge of various wines and how they best pair with which foods.

Moran is a certified Level 2 Master Sommelier and he plans to teach wine education classes at The Groovy Grouper. 

Chef Orion calls his menu "global with his own twist."

That twist is evident in the chef's specialty — The Commons Burger — topped with pulled pork, fried onion rings, and a fried egg.

"It is served with a knife," he said.

For those not that hungry, you'll find small plates of fried grouper tacos, grilled or raw oysters, meatloaf or pulled-pork sliders, spicy seared tuna, crab cakes, wings, and tuna dip for between $8 and $12. During lunch, select from four salads, a kids menu, soup and sandwiches, and delectable desserts. Gluten-free dishes are available on request.

Return that evening and choose from a variety of entrees reasonably priced between $16 and $25, such as meatloaf, grilled rib eye, grouper, fried shrimp, tuna, chicken, salmon, fish and chips, chicken or shrimp pasta, pork, shrimp and grits, or barbecue pork plates.

The entire menu is available all day, including hand-crafted cocktails, indoors or on the patio where you can watch the people go by.

Owner A.J. Tusa selected Chef Orion and Moran specifically to create this new concept in dining.

"He wanted something exciting, new, delicious, and contemporary," said Moran. "We're taking dining to a new fun level with a broad appeal in a comfortable, casual setting. It is a good place to dine and visit before or after shopping — without it having to be a special occasion or cranking your car a second time."

Moran brings the service elements with him from the large fine dining restaurants that he has managed in the area. He is also planning upcoming wine dinners for The Groovy Grouper.

"I am excited to be part of this new venture," said Moran. "We feel we have something for everyone and at a modest price."

The Groovy Grouper is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until. For more information call 424-7172. Visit for more information or find them on Facebook.