‘An amazing run’: AJ’s has plenty to offer as part of 30-year anniversary

Matt Algarin
As the “home” of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, AJ’s turns into an atmosphere that’s hard to beat when the scales open for the month of October.

In 1984, a gallon of gas cost about $1, the Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles, and Destin had yet to incorporate.

Nestled along the Destin harbor, was a new restaurant that would help change the food and entertainment scene in the city. And now that the calendar has struck 2014, AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

“Thirty years is a long time, and a lot of businesses have come and gone,” said Tracey McCraw, marketing director for AJ’s. “It’s just an amazing run. Our goal is to be talking about this again in 60 years.”

As part of their anniversary, AJ’s will be celebrating the entire month of October, which coincides with the Destin Fishing Rodeo. The “31 Days of 30 Years” celebration will see the restaurant offer a variety of specials to both locals and those spending their vacations along the Emerald Coast.

To do that, AJ’s will be offering 30 cent soups as appetizers, $3 drink specials and $30 entrée specials on a rotating basis for the entire month.

McCraw says when you have food as good as what AJ’s serves, there’s no reason not to showcase the delectable dishes.

“We want to give people a taste of AJ’s,” McCraw says.

The celebration also goes beyond the kitchen though, as AJ’s has continually been recognized as a “Top 100” nightclub with its Club Bimini. During the summer season, AJ’s has some of the areas top musicians playing seven days a week.

McCraw is proud of the fact that they have added to their musical lineup this year, featuring more than 30 local musicians on their stages, whether indoors or out on the docks.

“We’ve always had success, but we wanted to step it up,” he said. “These are some of the best musicians in our area.”

So come out and listen to some of great tunes, while enjoying breathtaking views.

Once you’ve finished lunch or dinner, AJ’s has plenty of other attractions to keep you busy. Whether it’s fishing on one of the charter boats that dock behind the restaurant, renting paddle boards, or taking a sunset cruise on the Daniel Webster Clements, AJ’s has the action to fuel your excitement.

“People put a premium on their time when they are on vacation,” McCraw said. “We want to make sure that when people leave AJ’s, they’ve created memories they will never forget.”

AJ’s anniversary celebration will kick off Sept. 30 as Tobacco Road performs as part of Rock the Docks. For more information about AJ’s, visit or call 850-837-1913.

Stay tuned to The Log for a look back at 30 years of AJ’s, when owner Alan Laird sits down for a one-on-one interview.

“For 30 years, Alan has seen things from a different perspective,” McCraw said. “We’re always doing something different, something memorable.”