Automated coffeemakers at each table and menus on video terminals are part of the high-tech wizardry at the Pancake Crêperie & Bakery.
Pancake Crêperie & Bakery, 11225 U.S. 98 West, Destin, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. daily, (850) 654-9999. Give your keys to the waitress, and have the sand and salt washed off your car ($9.99). While you wait, indulge in an order of delicious Southern peach crêpes ($6.25), a breakfast dish that could easily pass for a dessert. The car wash isn't all that's fast at this new restaurant, which is as high energy as a blender on steroids. Service is also lightning quick. The waitress brought my order of peach crêpes topped with powdered sugar, pecans, and whipped cream before the specially blended A. Fuente coffee finished perking in the automated pot at my table. A tall glass of water with a twist of lemon arrived without my having to ask for it. The waitress even asked if I'd like to take some coffee with me for the road.
Donut Hole, 635 U.S. 98 East, Destin, open 24 hours daily, (850) 837-8824. There's a larger location in Santa Rosa, but what I like best about the original cafe and bakery is that you can have breakfast any time you feel like it. I ended the day with a Destin omelet ($8.50), made with fresh local crabmeat, onions, peppers, and cheese, topped off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I finally settled on a plain, old-fashioned doughnut, plucked from the array of 28 different kinds that fill the shelves of the bakery. "I've only been working here three years," a waitress volunteered. "I haven't tried them all yet." So, even if you like breakfast as much as I do, don't try to top Cool Hand Luke's record for eating eggs the next time you visit Destin. Save some room for doughnuts.
This article is from the June 2002 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.