Goatfeathers: The Bounty of the Gulf
The new general manager at Goatfeathers restaurant on 30A has his eye on serving you the freshest seafood with a side of smiles.
“Goat-feathers are the distractions, side lines, and deflections that take a man’s attention from his own business and keep him from getting ahead.” So wrote Ellis Parker Butler, a banker but also an author, humorist, and wordsmith who lamented that he found it impossible to focus on any one project or career. From this unlikely reference dating back to 1918 comes the name of a well-known Gulf Coast restaurant, Goatfeathers, which is the second oldest restaurant along 30A. The eatery was founded by Pat Miller and his wife in 1988. Under their leadership, it grew to include two seafood markets and a second sit-down restaurant.
Earlier this year, Miller hired someone new to oversee Goatfeathers: veteran restaurateur Patrick Barrilleaux, who was born in southern Louisiana and developed his food sensibilities and love of Gulf seafood there. “I inherited a great staff,” says Barrilleaux. “They are a pleasure to work with, and they truly care about what we do as much as I do.”
Barrilleaux, who has been managing restaurants on 30A since 1989, serves as Goatfeather’s general manager and spends much of his time in the front of the house, seating people, befriending the patrons, sharing stories, and building lasting friendships. “I’m an old-school kind of guy and a people person to the core,” he says. “Everything about this is fun for me. The dining room feels and sounds like a party. I always have a smile on my face, and I am proud to be part of the 30A lifestyle and culture.”
Barrilleaux grew up fishing, crabbing, and harvesting crawfish, so seafood is a big part of his life. He still loves to get out on the water, casting his rod out at places like Choctawhatchee Bay. Goatfeathers’ cuisine reflects his love for the bounty of the Gulf, and the preparations pay homage to his belief that the seafood must shine and not be overshadowed by heavy sauces or other flourishes. It must also be absolutely fresh, and Goatfeathers has an advantage there, with two fresh seafood markets under their management, one of which is on the lower level right below the 30A restaurant.
The menu demonstrates Barrilleaux’s dedication to fresh, carefully prepared food. “The seafood speaks for itself,” he says. One of the most popular items is the oysters, which can be ordered raw on the half shell, steamed, baked, or fried, or as a component of a fried or broiled seafood platter. Shrimp appear in a variety of preparations, from steamed and boiled to grilled and fried. They also show up over linguini or in Cajun-style shrimp and grits.
The fish of the day takes advantage of the freshest seasonal fish available and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Deluxe steamed seafood platters for two, four, or even more start with shrimp and snow crab and can be customized with King crab, lobster tails, new potatoes, corn on the cob, and smoked sausage. “You can’t beat a fish taco or a shrimp po’boy for lunch,” says Barrilleaux.
Goatfeathers does have a children’s menu, and there are several non-seafood items on the menu, including a filet, a rib-eye, and some chicken dishes. The restaurant also features a full bar and a well-curated wine list. Barrilleaux is knowledgeable about wine and has spent time traveling in wine country cultivating relationships with growers and winemakers. “I love doing wine dinners,” he says, “and we hope to schedule some very soon. I will work with a winemaker or distributor to devise a menu and carefully match a wine with each course.”
Barrilleaux says they are serious about the wine pairings and the quality of the food at Goatfeathers, but not about much else. “We have a lot of fun,” he says. “There are drawings and prizes, and plenty of stories about the vineyard, the wine, the total experience. There’s also a lot of laughter.”
3865 West County Hwy. 30A
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459