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Y’all, Where Do Locals Eat in Fairhope, Alabama?

If you think folks in Fairhope, Alabama, eat their fair share of seafood and sweet corn, you’re not wrong. But the truth is the locals actually love having a wide variety of options.

Fairhope boasts tradition in more ways than one. Not only do people love creole and cajun cooking, but the town is proud of the abundance of locally owned restaurants. Chain store food is more challenging to find!

So, where do the locals like to eat in Fairhope?

Let’s find out!

What is Fairhope, Alabama, Known For?

Fairhope, Alabama, is one of several cities nested on the Gulf of Mexico. Several natural nooks dip into the land, making what we call bays. And from the bays are Deltas, or even more minor dips into the beach, which form rivers, wetlands, and swamps. 

Fairhope is known for being next to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the US. It’s even been nicknamed America’s Amazon.

Founded in 1908, Fairhope attracted populist reformers looking for ideal land to settle in. The area surrounding Mobile Bay had always attracted wide-eyed entrepreneurs due to the amount of commercial shipping after the civil war. One of the area’s greatest attractions is the Fairhope Municipal Pier and Park, with the pier once being an active dock: a symbol of possibilities.

Nowadays, Fairport is a popular resort town with its fair share of local artists and craftspeople. The balmy climate and peaceful scenery can’t be beat.

That is, until the jubilee hits! In the South, jubilee refers to the bayside phenomenon that occurs when certain sealife gathers along the shoreline. Flounder, crab, and shrimp show up in masses and then get swooped up by locals and tourists alike. A particular set of conditions need to happen simultaneously. Thankfully for folks in Fairhope looking for something fresh to eat, those conditionals are easily predictable.

Pro Tip: Make sure to do these 7 Things to Do in Fairhope during your trip.

Mom and daughter eating in Fairhope
Fairhope, Alabama, is the perfect place for foodies to grab a bite.

Where Is Fairhope, Alabama?

Fairhope is located in the state’s southwest corner, hugging the eastern shores of Mobile Bay. When looking at a map, take note of the bottom left portion of the state, which hits the Gulf Of Mexico. The little triangle of water is Mobile Bay. And Fairhope hugs its right side.

Fairhope is one of several towns that thrive from the treasures of Mobile Bay. This estuary’s popularity comes from its beautifully calm beaches and the jubilee phenomenon, where crabs and other crustaceans flood the shores. It served as an essential port for supplies in the 1800s.

What Do Locals Eat in Fairhope?

Fairhope natives love to eat boiled crabs. Not steamed, not baked, but boiled. And we mean drop those suckers in alive, right into the pot. We understand this method may only suit some. But we’ve gotta be honest! Part of the love for boiled crab is the ritual of it all. Don’t forget to line your table with fresh newspaper. This is where you’ll dump the crabs so you can eat right away.

Other popular dishes in Fairhope are sweet corn, gumbo, and hot dogs. You can also enjoy staples such as barbeque shrimp, grits, and rice. As for spices, Fairhope southerners like their sweets sweet and everything else spicey! Local Cajun and Creole traditions call for a variety of spices, most notably paprika and cayenne, for a kick. Thyme and sassafras leaves are important for aromatic, earthy flavors.

Woman eating a burger in Fairhope
Enjoy seafood, sandwiches, and more in Fairhope.

Where Do Fairhope Locals Love to Eat?

The locals have plenty of options to choose from. You can find a surprising number of mom ‘n’ pop restaurants with one-of-a-kind menus. Sure, you’re bound to find seafood on every list. But first-time visitors may be happily surprised by the options in front of them. Here are three local favorites straight from the residents of Fairhope:

Panini Pete’s

Panini Pete’s Cafe & Market boasts of having the best beignets in town. Located in the historic Fairhope French Quarter, this sandwich shop includes an array of breakfast places, burgers, and fresh-cut french fries. The Alabama Tourism Department named Pete’s Muffaletta panini one of 100 things to eat in Alabama before you die.

Although the market portion refers more to the old-school French-style market vibe more than anything, you can easily order anything for pickup. Locals love grabbing a dozen or more freshly baked beignets and other sweets to go.

Dragonfly Food Bar

This local taco bar has become a top destination for folks to eat in Fairhope. Their unique taco selection offers up delicious options for everyone from your average meat eater to your picky vegan pals. Plus, the beer selection is ace.

Dragonfly Food Bar is located on South Street in the French Quarter. You’ll find plenty of outdoor seating and a beautiful bespoke wood bar for those who’d rather pull up a barstool. Open for lunch and dinner, and we recommend the later hours to take advantage of their beers and tasty cocktails. 


Locals is a gourmet burger joint run by wife and husband team Ashley and Wade Peryer. As longtime restaurant workers, they saw the need for a menu that didn’t exist in Fairport. All food served comes from small batches, local farmers only. But don’t worry – their commitment to fresh food bears no limit on options. 

Although menu options include salad, pasta, and seafood, we recommend the build-your-own burger. Every choice is delicious. Additionally, local bands play every Friday and Saturday night. And the bar has large TV screens for game day!

Pro Tip: We think the Fairhope Music Festival is the Ideal Fall Road Trip to Alabama! Learn more about how you can go!

Woman eating in Fairhope, Alabama
Fairhope, Alabama, has something for meat and seafood lovers but is also vegetarian and vegan-friendly!

Best Camping Near Fairhope

Meaher State Park

Mobile Bay provides no shortage of campgrounds. The flat landscape and balmy weather allow plenty of parking and an extended open season. Here are our top two choices near Fairhope.

For a taste of life by the bay, look no further. Meaher State Park is a beautiful campground located at the top of Mobile Bay. Just 30 minutes north of the best places to eat in Fairhope, we think this is the perfect spot for the ultimate local experience. You’ll wake up every morning in the wetlands, with a boardwalk and plenty of nature to take in.

Nightly fees are around $33 per RV. The park has a range of hookup options, each with sewer and water. Amenities include good wifi, flush restrooms, showers, and laundry. Access is easy, and the staff is very friendly.

Wales West RV Resort

If you’re traveling with kids, Wales West might be a better option. Although the physical campgrounds are more run-of-the-mill, they offer plenty of activities to keep your family happy. Rates are similar to what you’ll find at Meaher State Park. But the cell service isn’t great.

Located further inland, Wales West RV park is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Fairhope. While most of the amenities are similar to Meaher’s, they also have a hot tub and library. Kids will enjoy the park’s train rides and water slides. Be sure to contact the park for seasonal limitations.

Don’t Skip the Fresh Eats in Fairhope

Don’t let the boiling of live crabs scare you! Whether you’re a freshwater seafood lover or a hardcore vegan, Fairport has a plethora of restaurants to choose from. The locals take pride in offering the best their land has to offer. You could stay for a week and have a different dining experience at every meal!

However, the locals do love their crab. And grilled corn, shrimp, oysters, and some beignets to round things off. Not to mention a cold beer or two. 

So don’t let the surplus of options intimate you. Just follow your nose, and you’ll find something worth trying.

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