Stewby's Seafood Shanty finally opening in Crestview! Here's what to know about the new location

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News
Owner Stewart Taylor brings out two ad-sponsored tabletops at the Stewby's Seafood Shanty under construction on South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview.

CRESTVIEW — As vehicles streamed up and down State Road 85 on Thursday morning, Stewart Taylor pointed to a large sign that for many months told motorists his third Stewby’s Seafood Shanty was “Coming soon! Summer 2021.”

“I need to get a can of spray paint and cover that part up,” Taylor said jokingly of the “summer” time frame for his Crestview eatery. “I need to change it to 'Sooner or later.'”

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All kidding aside, the Baker resident said construction of the new and highly-anticipated restaurant has experienced major delays because of building supply and labor shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, plumbers and electricians were among the workers striving to complete the eatery.

“I’m trying to open before Christmas, but it might not be until January,” Taylor said. “In about two or three weeks this building will be done. We started (construction) over a year ago.”

The latest Stewby's Seafood Shanty is under construction at 4110 S. Ferdon Blvd. in Crestview. Owner Stewart Taylor hopes to open the restaurant late this month or in January.

The new Stewby’s stands in front of BT Kitchen & Bath, which is at 4110 S. Ferdon Blvd. (SR 85), between Ford Crestview and Allen Turner Chevrolet. The high-traffic site is south of Interstate 10 and just north of PJ Adams Parkway.

Stewby’s, which is the nickname Taylor’s mother gave him as a boy, is known for its fresh, locally bought seafood at affordable prices.

Taylor said 85% of the food sold at his two existing eateries is fried shrimp and grilled fish, such as amberjack, mahi-mahi, swordfish and snapper. Popular sides include barbecue beans, cheese grits and hush puppies.

The original Stewby’s Seafood Shanty opened in 2011 at 427 Racetrack Road N.W. in Wright near Fort Walton Beach. It celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Nov. 19.

In July 2019, Stewby’s opened its second location on Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island. That location includes Stewby’s Steamer & Market.

Like he did with Stewby’s on the island, Taylor partnered with Fort Walton Beach businessman Vince Bruner to bring Stewby’s to Crestview.

Owner Stewart Taylor talks opening a new Stewby's Seafood Shanty on South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview.

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“It’s a build-to-suit lease,” Taylor said of the third restaurant site. “He’s my landlord.”

While Stewby’s on the island does not have a drive-thru, the Crestview location will match the original restaurant by providing the service. Half the orders at the first restaurant are drive-thru or takeout orders, Taylor said.

“We try to get a 10-minute ticket time” for all orders, whether they’re for drive-thru or indoor diners, he said. “It’s quick service but not fast food, because everything is cooked to order.”

The approximately 2,800-square-foot Stewby’s in Crestview will have about 100 seats, including patio seats, and about 40 parking spots. Taylor said it also will have about 40 employees, some of whom currently live in Crestview and work at the Stewby’s in Wright.

Gleaming wood graces the dining area at the new Stewby's Seafood Shanty under construction on South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview.

Fans of Stewby’s often ask Taylor to establish a new restaurant in Destin, Niceville or Freeport.

“This will be my last one,” he said of his Crestview restaurant before mischievously leaving open the possibility of another Stewby’s elsewhere. “I’ll be good for a minute.”