‘Locals Serving Locals’: New restaurant and market opens on Holiday Isle

Savannah Vasquez
The crew at The Local Market include from left, Miquel Velasco, Michelle Mank, Grady Gordan, Marla Howerton, and Chatham Morgan.

Grady Gordon and Chatham Morgan grew up in Destin together and the two have memories almost as far back as the city is old. One of their shared memories is when Morgan’s father Charles ran Odom’s, a locally-sourced market in the early ‘80s. Morgan said the market and restaurant concept was "way before its time," and now the pair of friends have resurrected the idea by way of The Local Market on Holiday Isle.

“Ideally we want to keep it as local as possible,” said Gordon. “We want it to be where the locals go, where everything is fresh.”

“We are locals serving locals,” said Morgan. “That’s why we celebrate local businesses here because we are such a part of the local community.”

The Local Market, located at 950 Gulf Shores Dr., offers a little bit of everything. Reminiscent of an old-town general store with a modern twist; the shelves along the market wall hold jars of local honey, jams and preserves as well as convenient items such as ketchup and mustard for cookouts on the beach. Fresh bread is delivered daily from Bon Appetite’ in Fort Walton Beach, and several other local vendors are represented throughout the store including local wines and brews.

“We just want to have something of everything with a focus on the Holiday Isle crowd so that they don’t have to cross the street to Winn Dixie,” said Gordon. “All of our products are really good top-of-the-line products.”

“Coming in, one of our goals was to make Holiday Isle a nicer place to live,” said Morgan.

As for the restaurant aspect, the market offers breakfast lunch and dinner with items such as fresh fruit smoothies, juices and homemade donuts for breakfast, a myriad of cured meat sandwiches for lunch, and rotisserie chickens and fire-oven pizzas for dinner.

“We get our meats raw and I butcher and brine them in-house,” said Gordon. “We have very fresh, very good sandwiches. It’s something that makes you go, ‘Wow,’ when you bite into it.”

Gordon said the chicken melt sandwich has already become the top seller due to it’s double-dosage of flavorful spreads.

“We use rotisserie chicken, romesco sauce which is roasted bell pepper, and a charred scallion pesto pulled together with Monterey jack cheese,” he said.

Another favorite, he added, is the club sandwich.

“We do our club a bit different with wheat bread, lettuce, hot-house tomatoes, and for the meats, thick cut apple wood smoked bacon, chicken salad and ham. It gives you that bite, with just a lot of flavors going on in there.”

The Local Market has been several years in the making, modeled after the Morgan’s other family-owned businesses Red Bay Grocery in Ponce de Leon and Camille’s at Crystal Beach.

“It’s a combination of the two,” said Gordon. “The whole concept started as a juice bar that served food, and now it’s turned into a restaurant and market that also has a juice bar.”

“With Red Bay, we kind of brought the community together and gave them a place to come together and have a coffee,” said Morgan. “Holiday Isle is a really close-knit community and we wanted to celebrate that with The Local Market.”