Two words: crab cakes.

By Kaitlyn Yarborough
May 03, 2021
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Anyone who's found themselves on Highway 30A, the 24-mile-long coastal roadway with sun-bleached powder sands, water bluer than the Caribbean, and a string of picture-perfect beach towns, consider yourself lucky. You've made it to the South's most popular coastal destination. And if you've ever been to Seaside, Florida, the classic tiny town with the Instagrammable Seaside Post Office, then you've surely heard of Bud & Alley's. The oceanfront restaurant is an icon—the Poseidon of the 30A restaurant scene, perhaps because it built the scene.

Seaside, Florida
Credit: Robbie Caponetto

One of the first restaurants to open along 30A, Bud & Alley's serves up fresh seafood and beach views all day long, and the hottest ticket in town might be the rooftop deck. The beloved restaurant is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, so it's time to celebrate. There are countless reasons why Southerners love this Seaside, Florida, spot—but these are five that we'd be remiss not to number off in honor of the occasion.)

(Disclaimer: We're harkening way back to pre-pandemic days, so continue to heed any social-distancing guidelines put forth by Bud & Alley's.)

The Crab Cakes 

If you know, you know. These pillowy, fresh cakes don't skimp on the crabmeat, but to be honest, it's the warm lemon butter sauce that has them known far and wide throughout the South as, perhaps, the best main dish on 30A. If you're going for lunch, add a crab cake onto one of the salads to still get your fix. These are worth the wait for the rooftop deck alone, but are equally enjoyed if you manage to make a reservation downstairs in advance. 

The Sunsets

Unless you're plopped down on the beach, you won't find a better view of the setting sun over the ocean than sitting at one of the high-top tables located on the newly renovated rooftop deck—with a frosé or blood orange margarita, two of the most refreshing (and prettiest) cocktails in the joint. Make sure you have your camera out, because the pastel swirls of a Seaside, Florida, sunset aren't to be missed.

The Live Music 

Remember those cocktails? And the sunset? If you're there on a special night, they're accompanied by a live band downstairs that can be heard throughout the restaurant, inside and out, upstairs and down. Anyone's welcome to stand up and make their own imaginary dance floor on the downstairs deck—and plenty of sun-kissed folks certainly do. If you're on the fence about getting up and joining the fun, just do it. You'll regret it if not. 

The Kinda-Secret Breakfast

So, you can't really say something is secret on 30A. It doesn't exist. However, Bud's did not always serve breakfast, and if you're out of luck on getting on the reservation book or snagging a walk-in spot upstairs, it's your best bet to catch those iconic beach views. On a bright blue, breezy morning after you've walked around the farmers' market, breakfast on the upstairs deck is just about a dream. Did we mention there's a Crab Cake Benedict on the menu? 

The People Watching

Funnily enough, all of the above items allow you to have a front-row perch to some epic people-watching, especially if you've been seated at the edge of the rooftop deck. And especially if there's a wedding reception or rehearsal dinner going on downstairs on the beachfront deck. (This happens more often than you'd think, so don't be surprised if you're suddenly invested in watching a large Southern family's conga line unfold as you munch on sweet potato fries and the peel-and-eat shrimp. 

If we had to guess, Southerners' favorite thing about Bud & Alley's would be the memories made there throughout the decades—and we'd love to know yours.