When we start to feel ho-hum, gazing out the window at yet another gloomy day, we’re thrilled there’s a place we can go that takes us straight to the coast- where we can grab a cold beer, eat fresh seafood and feel like we've gone on vacation.
As the weather is getting cooler and rainier, it’s easy to forget about our dear friend sunshine, so thank goodness for The Big Ketch in Buckhead and Canton Street. When we start to feel ho-hum, gazing out the window at yet another gloomy day, we’re thrilled there’s a place we can go that takes us straight to the coast- where we can grab a cold beer, eat fresh seafood, and feel like we've gone on vacation. Owners JP Piemonte and Chris Hadermann, the same folks who brought us the likes of Tin Lizzy’s and Smokebelly BBQ, felt the same way- the two hail from Clearwater, Fla., and grew up going to small seafood dives, featuring the day’s fresh catch and cold beers (for anyone of age, that is.) Grown up and living in Atlanta, they longed for a taste of home, and used three or four of their favorite places as kids growing up as inspiration for The Big Ketch. They also wanted to be able to enjoy an authentic grouper sandwich or lobster roll like they grew up eating. Even the interior design takes us sailing away to a classy, yet decidedly coastal fish house with earthy colors complemented with deep blues and greens, and sparkly but never gaudy lights. So what’s up with that name? Big Catch was an actual bar on the St. Petersburg marina, where they would go in their younger days. Home from college, this was the place where everyone would gather for cold beers on warm nights, so they’re paying homage to one of their old watering holes. “Ketch” is also a nickname for a two-masted sailboat, and The Big Ketch just felt…catchier. And so the name was born. And we’re so glad it was, because there’s nothing we love more than maritime puns.
The menu at The Big Ketch is anchored by (see what we did there?) fresh seafood, so we’re awash with Gulf Coast-inspired fare. Nothing says coastal like a grouper sandwich - and they do it right. While we love a crispy fried grouper sandwich topped with coleslaw and served with tangy remoulade on the side, the more health conscious among us can opt to get it blackened or grilled. Speaking of healthy options, when was the last time you had a veritable smorgasbord of sides that won’t send you to the ER with heart palpitations? Yes, you can get the crispy-outside-tender-inside hush puppies, but why not do something nice for yourself and get the refreshing quinoa and mixed vegetable salad or the seasoned green beans ? If you want to build your own plate, go for one of the entrees, seasoned how you like it (house-blend, blackened or jerk) with your choice of sides- salmon has never done wrong by us, and The Big Ketch seasons it to perfection. Hold up- we almost forgot about the appetizers. Lobster egg rolls are an obvious choice (with mango and sweet chili sauce, even) but you might be tempted away by the PEI mussels and Sapelo Island clams cooked with poblano peppers, fresh citrus, tomatoes, and most importantly, Blue Moon Belgian White beer. As always, dinner is best enjoyed with a libation, so grab a boat drink - we love the Trade Winds- Pear vodka, elderflower, citrus and champagne - or a craft beer or house wine. Then sit back, relax, do some beach reading, and set your compass for vacation- or at least feel like you’re there.