Coastal Seafood with Casual Southern Hospitality -
I now know that what I always thought about SeaJay's Waterfront Cafe & Pub, located at Jekyll Harbor Marina, is true - it's a "pearl" of a restaurant.
Martha and I were eating a late coastal seafood lunch on SeaJay's deck, which fronts the Intra-coastal Waterway, when a fellow guest discovered that a little something extra had come with his meal.
He and his friend had ordered oysters, and, lo and behold - they found a pearl.
As pearls go, it wasn't much, but their excitement was infectious, and they were kind enough to talk with me about their treasure, and let me take the photos that appear below. Stanley and Debra were on a short visit to Jekyll and had stopped by SeaJay's for a bite when they had their pearly encounter. We shared a laugh over their find, and all agreed that it would take about 10,000 of the tiny pearls to make a necklace.
I nervously arranged the stone on the edge of their table, hoping for a good shot, and praying I wouldn't drop the tiny thing between the deck floor boards.
Although Stanley and Debra's is an uncommon find in an order of oysters, Heather (our fantastic waitress for the afternoon) assured us that it wasn't unique.
"I've had folks find pearls here before," she said with a laugh. "Every once in a while we'll seem to get a batch of oysters that have pearls in them. But they're rare, and usually small. I've never found one myself."
Renowned for Coastal Seafood and Low-Country Boil -
SeaJay's Waterfront Cafe and Pub is owned by Meagan and C.J. Jefferies, and, since opening around 1993, has been one of our favorite restaurants on Jekyll Island. We've been pigging out there since our boys were small.
What makes SeaJay's special for us? -
Well, their food, for one. Open from 11:00 a.m. to whenever, they serve lunch and dinner, featuring fresh local coastal seafood, salads, and chowders, along with a host of appetizers.
And boy do they put on a spread - a selection of fine sandwiches for lunch, plus dinner dishes including crab legs, coastal shrimp and BBQ ribs. But they're known for their "low-county boil".
Take succulent Wild Georgia Shrimp, mix in smoked sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes, boil up in a seasoned pot and serve it up with slaw, buttered rolls and banana pudding. That's SeaJay's low-country boil, and let me tell you, you won't go away hungry.
As of this writing, it's eat all you want for $17.95 ($8.95 for kids under 10).
Fresh coastal seafood isn't the only attraction. Another reason SeaJay's is usually our first stop for eats on Jekyll Island is what we landscape architects like to call "ambiance of place". The restaurant is tucked into a corner of the Jekyll Harbor Marina, surrounded and shaded by live oaks. You can eat in their indoors dining room or, outside, on their covered deck. The deck used to have an awning over it, but it's since been replaced by a permanent cover.
We like to grab a table and just veg out, relax on the deck, and watch the boats glide by on the Intra-coastal Waterway, which is only a few steps away.
Once you finish your meal, linger on the deck for awhile, nurse a sweet tea refill, and nibble on one of SeaJay's desserts, which include key lime pie.
And be sure to pet Catfish, SeaJay's feline mascot (he's lazy and arrogant, but don't let that deter you).
Come back for supper on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays - they have live music those nights. A tip - try to visit when Ed Pickett and the Wharf Ratz are playing.
We've known Ed for years, and he's a fantastic bluegrass player and puts on quite a performance. (Martha asks him to play "Rocky Top" every time we go and Ed, gracious as ever, always complies).
We finished our meal the afternoon of the famous pearl find, and, after saying our goodbyes to Stanley and Debra, we decided to saunter down to the Jekyll Harbor Marina pier. We walked it's length, checking out the boats docked there (which were way above our budget).
As we were walking back to the car, Heather came hurrying up to us. She was grinning. "Guess what? A couple of girls on the deck ordered the oysters - and found another pearl!"
We recommend SeaJays. For delicious coastal seafood and low-country boil. For the laid back ambiance. For the beautiful views. For foot-stomping music. And even for Catfish. And...maybe a pearl, to treasure your visit to SeaJay's.
You can find SeaJay's at 1 Harbor Road. Or, if coming by one of those expensive boats (yachts?), at Intra-coastal Waterway Mile Marker 685. Call them at (912) 635-3200.
Seajays - a pearl of a restaurant in more ways than one.
We took our "last meal" before leaving Jekyll at SeaJay's. Heather was on duty, and she stopped at our table.
"You know," she said. "All those folks finding pearls made me want to try my luck, too. So I ordered my own appetizer from that batch of oysters, and guess what - I found one!
Jekyll Island Family Adventures "Wow!" Rating: