Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lulu's at Homeport, Gulf Shores, Al

Ya'll ready for some FUN? Get your rear-end on down to Lulu's in Gulf Shores, Alabama!

Hubby and I dragged the kids down to a week at the beach and the poor children constantly had to sit around and wait while the line of names were slowly called each night for dinner. I have to say, as I mentioned before, that Gulf Shores has not recovered as well as I thought from the hurricanes and many of the restaurants just didn't come back. So the good ones that did had huge lines every night.

Then we heard about Lulu Buffett's restaurant on the intercoastal waterway of Gulf Shores. We had not bothered investigating any of the restaurants over thataway because we wanted beach restaurants only. But when we heard it was owned by Jimmy Buffett's little sister and had live music that once in a while had a "mystery performer", we decided it was worth a shot. We are so happy we did!

When we get there the first thing we notice is the fact that there's two overflow parking lots and they're full. Uh-oh. We park and take a hike. But it's lovely as we hike along a stunning marina filled with nicely pricey boats, the type I'll never own, never mind get invited onto. We arrive at the front and see a billion people milling around (okay, just 1,000) and when I put my name in, am given a 2 hour wait. I'm a lucky one though as shortly thereafter they stop taking names completely and suggest you come back another night. (The trick here, I learned, is to let 15-20 minutes go by and as soon as enough people leave they can open the list again. Some pesky fire code thing.)

I am dubious about this huge wait with the kids, until I hear the blues playing, realize it's a beautiful late afternoon..... and spy the immense "beach" complete with beach toys that are there for the kids. These guys are smart, they dump a huge pile of sand out of a truck and leave it there for the kids to flatten.

We get the kids buckets, plop them on the sand and wander to the tiki bar beside it to order some great drinks. I was taken aback when my Bloody Mary had an Okra instead of celery, but hey, it's the South.

We spend the next two hours chatting with strangers, enjoying the sunset and listening to kick butt music. Sadly no "mystery performer" tonite. But a huge barge floats by on the waterway, pelicans land right by us and the ambiance was fantastic.

We get seated at a huge round table in front of the band and proceed to point to menu items as we can't talk over the music. I was worried it was too loud until the kids started dancing and singing in their chairs.

Now here's where I had to confess that I'm allergic to seafood. I swell up like a blow fish eating a puff adder. So I have to be very careful in a seafood town. (That's my excuse for many, many Bloody Mary's - celery and tomato juice is safe.) So I check the menu and see an interesting type of item - a Pot Roast Buritto. Hmnnn. I order it and wow is it good! Different, but good. And I might that the prices are relaxingly normal considering where we were. The beach tends to be expensive.

We were invited to hang out and listen to the music as long as we liked, and after a 2 hour, 20 minute wait for dinner... we did just that.

We tried to go back the next night but the list was already at maximum capacity and the band wasn't the same great one as the night before. I have to say, if you're actually hungry when you go, the wait is daunting. I might add here that we went on Tuesday and Wednesday, typically the slowest nights in the restaurant biz.

So I suggest you definitely go check out Lulu's, enjoy the music, the good food and reasonable prices, and wait to see if a surprise guest shows up.............. but go early in the evening, before the usual dinner time.

They used to have some webcams on their site, but there's been some changes, so I can't guarantee they're still working.