The name of the restaurant might prompt a pause. So will the breathtaking view of the ocean.
Cajun Beach Boil and Sushi, owned by Patrick McKinny and Linda MacDonald, replaces the former Life’s A Beach Sandbar and Grill at 1112 S. Oceanshore Blvd. in Flagler Beach.
Cajun Beach had a soft opening on Aug. 6 with limited seating. The restaurant added tables throughout the first week as the staff worked up to speed.
“We’ve had rave reviews. Everyone’s loving it,” McKinny said.
While the restaurant’s name may sound like an incongruous mix, boils and sushi both involve seafood, McKinny’s specialty through his many years as a restaurant owner — he’s owned 19 previous restaurants, bars and nightclubs. He grew up in Mississippi, where gumbo, jambalaya, seafood boils and sushi with a Cajun twist were all common fare.
Sushi is also a specialty of Cajun Beach’s executive chef, Athena Reeves, who grew up in California. The restaurant is not offering sushi yet, but when it goes to a full menu, sushi roll selections will include the familiar — tuna, salmon and California rolls — and Cajun Beach’s specials, with names like Bayou Baby, Creole Cutie and Voodoo Queen, which are a fusion of Cajun (crawfish salad, andouille sausage, fried okra) and Japanese ingredients (unagi sauce and tobiko).
The menu includes McKinny’s Cajun favorites — gumbo, po' boys and boils — as well as burgers, wings, salads, fried seafood, shrimp and grits, steak, lobster tails and crab legs. Appetizers include fried green tomatoes, panko fried prawns, chicken tenders, crab cakes and fresh-cut French fries.
Fresh-cut fries were a must, MacDonald said. There are also a variety of healthy choices, including fresh salads, said Reeves, who is also a certified nutritionist.
“Our food has a healthy edge to it,” Reeves said, “because the people in this town are our family, and we’re going to serve them quality food.”
McKinny runs the restaurant and also cooks up the gumbo and the boils himself.
“My boils are special,” he says with pride. The Biloxi Blues Boil includes crab and shrimp. The Cajun Beach Boil contains lobster, crab legs and shrimp. A crawfish boil is served in season. All the boils are made with corn, sausage, potatoes and mushrooms.
Most of the seating is outdoors, with a full bar, picnic tables fitted with umbrellas and custom-built cabanas. There is also seating for 30 inside.
“We really did transform this place,” MacDonald said.
Cajun Beach is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The restaurant hopes to have a grand opening sometime in September, McKinny said.