The Bluegill Restaurant has been serving oysters, alligator, shrimp and many varieties of Gulf fish continuously since 1958, with only brief interruptions for repairs after hurricanes. The exterior is deceptively unassuming, but step inside and you will be swept into the ambiance provided by the Mobile Delta. Bluegill’s original location weathered both Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Frederic in 1979 before relocating a few miles down the Causeway. Water was 5 feet deep inside the present location at the height of Katrina’s devastation in 2005, but Bluegill once again remodeled and got back to doing what it does best.
According to Bluegill “historians,” Elvis Presley loved to eat at Bluegill. In his early years, he came to perform at the Mobile Fair and was paid $300.00. He chose to spend some of his earnings on dinner at the Bluegill. In honor of that occasion, a permanent Elvis booth is set up for diners who want to enjoy it.
Famous Flaming Oysters are a major claim to fame at Bluegill. One of the cooks is in charge of the grill during the hours of operation turning out dozens and dozens of succulent fresh-shucked oysters that are sizzling and drizzled with Parmesan and Romano cheeses, white wine and lots of butter. This is a unique concoction worthy of its reputation.
Both the gumbo and the crab claws are listed in “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die.” The many seafood offerings can be prepared fried, steamed, grilled or with voo-doo sauce — extra spicy and zesty as its name implies — with sides ranging from Memphis-style slaw to turnip greens, fried okra and sweet potato casserole. You can even request to have your seafood filet topped with crabmeat and cheeses. Good deep-South soul food.
By all means, save room for their signature dessert called a “Brookie.” The bottom layer is chocolate chip cookie dough baked with brownie batter on top. It is served hot with vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce with chocolate chips. Your trainer at the gym will be appalled, but you’ll agree it’s worth some extra time on the elliptical.
Bluegill Restaurant opens Tuesday – Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The lunch crowd gets treated to some delicious, economical lunch specials. But, if you choose to arrive in the late afternoon, an artist-worthy sunset might be in store. When the weather is right, the view of a colorful sky over the lazy bay with the city of Mobile in the distance will soothe away all of the stresses that you brought inside the door.
Live musical entertainment cranks up at 6:00 p.m. nightly and during the day in the months of March through September. The whole place is said to really rock on Summer Sunday nights. There is a small cover charge, and guests are invited to come in and seat themselves until all the seats are gone. Capacity is 500. The website gives a calendar with dates and names of performers on the schedule.
Dress is casual, and there are many options for private parties both large and small. Even in the cool winter months, the outside porch areas are comfortable, thanks to roll up doors and tall kerosene heaters. Flat-screen televisions allow you to follow favorite sports teams. Strings of white and colored lights plus festive flying fish windsocks add to the fun, lively atmosphere.
Bluegill’s owners have figured out how to please their guests by combining a perfect location with delectable food and quality entertainment. Stop in on your way to or from Alabama’s Gulf Coast or just make a special trip. Alabama is proud to show you its natural beauty and to encourage you to savor its culture and cuisine.