It has taken me over three years since moving to Panama City Beach to finally have a meal at Pineapple Willy’s. If you are not familiar with this restaurant, you will be very soon if you come to this town in the height of season. You will see their cute, smiling Pineapple logo on T-shirts and cups all over the beach! This place is as famous for its T-shirts as it is for it’s food and drinks. And it is popular with every crowd, from the families that visit when school is out to the partying crowds during Spring Break to the more mellow seniors in wintertime.
What kept me away was the touristy aspect of the place but yesterday I finally realized that I had two very good reasons to go. One, I write for tourists so I need to know about the places that tourists love; and two, I am just so blown away by the charitable nature of the owner of this place that I had to go and support his business.
This week and next, on Mondays through Thursdays, Pineapple Willy’s is donating 100% of all lunchtime sales to charity. The charity is different each day of this program so that means they are supporting 8 different local charities. This week so far they have supported Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy, Girls to the Rescue and The Boys and Girls Club of Bay County (today). In addition, they recently donated money to spay and neuter animals and they are a sponsor of a fundraising event this weekend for The Lucky Puppy, a dog rescue facility in nearby Bonifay.
I ordered the grouper basket which was a plentiful basket of delicious fried chunks of grouper with a side of fries. At $11.99 I didn’t think the price was bad, considering that we sat directly on the beach. All of my companions had salads. They were huge and fresh looking and all of them said they were really good. The chicken caesar was fresh romaine with plenty of grilled chicken. The seafood cobb was baby greens with all kinds of goodies on top! I normally don’t go for salads (though I should!) but the Caribbean looks very interesting and I think next time that will be my choice.
Prices in general range from $9.99 for a chicken basket or pulled pork sandwich to $23.99 for prime rib or creaole grouper. Most everything else falls somewhere in the middle.
If you haven’t been, it is well worth the experience. There is live music in the Pier Bar next door for those looking for some nightlife. My next visit will definitely be for some live Kevin Jacobs Band, a local favorite group.
Pineapple Willy’s is located at 9875 S. Thomas Dr. across from Laketown Wharf.