The Wharf Restaurant - Fresh Seafood on the Waterfront

Crave Seafood? Drop in at the Wharf Restaurant

For some reason, for my wife, a vacation to Jekyll Island is like the starting bell for a steeplechase. She sprints from the gate, and it's Katie-bar-the-door from there on out.

I can work up a hearty appetite just trying to keep up with her.

So when Martha decided to slow down long enough for lunch, I suggested we try one of the island's newest eateries - the Wharf Restaurant.

The Wharf is part of the re-branding of the Jekyll Island Club Resort. The facility is situated on the historic Jekyll Island Wharf fronting the Intracoastal Waterway. Hurricane Matthew did a number on the old Latitude 31/Rah Bar restaurants that used to occupy the space, and the Jekyll Island Club Resort bought the property with the intention of renovating it into a first-class restaurant.

It's a goal I believe they not only met, but exceeded.

Casual Dining on the Water

The restaurant is named for the old Jekyll Island Historic District Pier, where millionaire J.P. Morgan and other moguls used to disembark from their yachts on trips to the island paradise. The structure actually extends out into the water, and is still a working pier, where sail and power boats tie up while their crews come ashore for some island time.

The Wharf RestaurantBoardwalk Approach to The Wharf Restaurant

From the Historic District, you'll stroll down a broad boardwalk to the renovated building. Inside, the main dining room is light and airy. White walls compliment minimalist, modernistic furnishings of blonde wood and brushed aluminum, a surprising and welcome change over the tired nautical themes most seafood restaurants seem to adhere to almost as a default decor.

In fact, the only things in the Wharf Restaurant smacking of the nautical are several tastefully done photos of shrimp boats, and a few strategically placed faux-Japanese glass fishing net floats.

Wide windows offer stunning vistas of the river and adjacent marshland. Needless to say, we requested a window table.

The Wharf Restaurant Vistas of the WaterWide Windows Provide Ample Opportunity to Enjoy Water Vistas (Amy Wisenbaker)

We had barely been seated when our friendly waitress approached and asked for our drink orders. Drinks were served promptly, and we ordered our lunch from an extensive menu - shrimp and grits for Martha, fish and chips for me.

Food, Glorious Food!

We skipped the appetizers, but the menu offered many choices. Here are a select few:

  • Begin your culinary adventure with starters like Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp, Seared Ahi Tuna and Southern Buffalo Chicken Wings.
  • For lunch, try the Wharf's signature Wharf Burger, or a Southern Chicken Cathead Biscuit (if you had a Grandma like mine, you know what a cathead biscuit looks like!).
  • Salivating for a main course? How about Shrimp & Grits, Low Country Crab Cakes, Chipotle Lobster Mac & Cheese, or Blackened Swordfish.
  • Top off the feast with tangy Key Lime pie, Red Velvet Cheesecake, or Pecan Pie.

The food was hot, filling and delicious, and I couldn't stop glancing out the window, hoping to spot a dolphin cruising by, or a sailboat chugging along under auxiliary power.

The Wharf Restaurant View from WindowView of the Intra-Coastal Waterway from Window

Prices are a little on the high side for us, but food quality was excellent. And you can't beat that view!

If you really want ambiance, think about eating out. Outside, that is. The Wharf's dining area extends outdoors, onto the pier proper. Roomy tables offer fantastic views of the water and marsh.

The Wharf Restaurant Outdoor SeatingNothing Like Outdoor Seating and Seafood on the Water (Amy Wisenbaker)

Listen to the Music

Arriving for dinner? You're in for a real treat. The sunsets are gorgeous here, painting the Intra-coastal Waterway in tints of gold and fiery crimson. The Wharf books weekly live entertainment, so you can usually enjoy your seafood and sunset combos to the music from one of the many indie bands that seem to flourish on the Georgia coast. Pig out on seafood, and enjoy the music of bands like Island Kings, Backstreet Boulevard, and the Wharfratz.

The Wharf Restaurant Live EntertainmentEat, Drink & be Merry to Live Entertainment on the Water (Amy Wisenbaker)

The Wharf Restaurant can be reserved for wedding receptions or other events, and is available for parties of up to 50 people. Call 912.635.3612 for more information.

All in all, we enjoyed our Wharf experience immensely. On your next trip to Jekyll Island, the Wharf should definitely be one of your first stops for scrumptious seafood.

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