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History of STEWBY’S


IMG_0250[1]Hi! I’m Stewart Taylor and this is my little seafood shanty. STEWBY’S Seafood Shanty is based off an old family restaurant called Sam’s Oyster House. Sam’s Oyster House was founded by my father Sam Taylor back in the late 60’s as a small seafood take-out.


Sam passed away back in 1985 and was left for myself, brother, and mother to operate. Sam’s remained open for 11 more years until it was sold in 1996. Sam’s was sold for many different reasons. One of which was the desires to go in new directions by myself and other family members.


Unfortunately Sam’s closed 1 year later at the hands of the new owners. This was very depressing. After empty promises to carry on the Sam’s name for years to come, the new owners went bankrupt just after 1 year.


Sam’s Oyster House may have had it’s problems, but the lack of quality fried seafood was not one of them. Serving fresh locally caught amberjack and shrimp, Sam’s was considered the authority on fresh fried seafood. Sam’s was actually the first to serve amberjack. Amberjack was considered trash fish and my father had to beg the fisherman to bring it to the docks.


Sam’s paved the way for most of the seafood restaurants in Fort Walton and Destin today.  Most are modeled after Sam’s casual atmosphere and menu. However these restaurants don’t have what I have and that is my fathers vision and most importantly his recipes.


What is STEWBY’S Seafood Shanty


STEWBY’S Seafood Shanty is a small take out and drive thru seafood restaurant in Fort Walton Beach. Offering the most affordable and freshest local seafood. You can eat on our heated and cooled enclosed deck or take it to-go.


All our seafood is fresh and locally bought. The fish comes straight of the boats in Destin. Our sauces and sides are all made from scratch. Even the seafood seasoning is made from scratch with no MSG or preservatives.


Built from an old portable school classroom and placed on an old car lot, STEWBY’S is centrally located in the heart of Fort Walton Beach, Fl. on Racetrack rd.


Average order time is between 7-9 minutes. So if your in a hurry, don’t worry. We’ll have you on your way in minutes. STEWBY’S also offers a drive thru window for your convenience. But don’t let the drive thru fool you. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience.


Drive thru and take some to go or stop in and order from the walk up window. STEWBY’S is always providing the best quality seafood at the best price!

40 Responses to History of STEWBY’S

  • Steve Brown says:


    As a young man I ate at you father’s restaurant many times. I fished out of Destin in the summer time for extra money,and learned the value of “trash fish,amberjack, trigger etc.” I’m looking forward to trying out your restaurant,as i love a good fish sandwich and fried oysters. Please keep me posted.


  • Jennifer says:

    I have read through everything but I don’t see the address for this place. All I have seen and read is an alley and an old portable school trailer. Thanks Looking forward to it. Sam’s was the first place that I had ever eaten a real fish sandwich in my life at the age of 40 and it was an Amberjack sandwich. Then I heard some men sitting across from me talking about how that type of fish eats garbage and has worms in their bellies. I was done with that sandwich. Nothing against the restaurant.

  • Stewart says:

    Hey Steve. Thanks for your comments.

    Jennifer, thanks for your interest and sorry for the confusion. STEWBY’S is not yet open. Hopefully really soon, but just not yet.

    As for your misconception of Amberjack, let me take the time to clear this up. Not just for you but for others than may also share your thoughts. Amberjack is not a trash fish nor does it eat trash. LOL that is funny. Amberjack was considered trash fish because fisherman would catch them when they were after other more prized catch like grouper and snaper. They were like a nuisance and were discarded like trash.

    As for the worms, they are a parasite and are found in the meet at and around the tail which can be cut out. Not all amberjack have worms. In fact the worms can be found in most gulf water fish. Trout, redfish, and I’ve even come across them in grouper and snapper. They just seem to be more predominate in amberjack. They are completely visible and are removed when cleaning the fish. If however they are abundant, then parts of the meet can be completely cut out.

    I hope you will give me a chance to feed you when we get open. If you let this misconception stop you from eating amberjack, you are missing out on a great tasting fish.

    P.S. You might want to reconsider eating pork, which does eat trash (slop) and is treated for worms and other parasites.

    • Jenn G says:

      Ha! I love it! (Pork comment) Yeah if we take the time to really consider meats we probably wouldn’t eat any of them! My family and I are headed your way this May and look forward to eating at your restaurant! Fish taco here I come!

  • David T says:

    I grew up eating at Sams as well. I was greatly saddened when the business was sold and then even more so when it closed. If I recall it was under the Big Oaks on the site where Publix, Waffle House now sits at the foot of Brooks bridge. Looking forward to another great seafood dinner and wishing you much success!

  • jeff davis says:

    hi stewart,
    glad to see you are opening this place up. as a kid i used to come down to destin and fish the blue marlin and the old florida girl and the old kelly fleet and actually caught some of those so-called trash fish for sam. we allways ate very well on triggers and aj’s as the boat customers didnt want them, i never could understand it, to this day my two favorites are amberjack and triggers, let us know where you will be located and i will definately come by for a dinner. i wish you sucess in your endeavor.

  • Is this the Sam’s Oyster House that was where the closed Blockbusters is on 98 in front of Publix’s.

  • Stewart says:

    Hey Michele, yes the same.

  • Reading the History and as a native, just the mention of Sam Taylor brought fond memories of BC (before Condo’s).. I was present the Day Sam opened on Main. He had a wonderful concept. If I had a dollar for every shrimp and oyster basket I ate there, I would be a millionaire… Good luck, I’ll see you there.

  • Sara Rodriguez says:

    Welcome neighbor.

  • David says:

    Growing up in Fort Walton, we used to eat at Sam’s Oyster House quite a bit. I recently ran across your website and it piqued my interest, so this past Sunday, I decided to stop by for a late lunch, very happy with the food and service, though, I would have preferred hushpuppys to the mini corn muffins, still great seafood!

  • Johnnie says:

    When I saw you building, as I go by every day on my way to and from work, I wondered how great a place this would be~~~when I saw Sam’s, it brought back memories. Since I am originally from Tennessee, and not a seafood eater, or even really liked seafood, this was one of my very first impressions of how very good it is. Fairly new to the area in the late 1980’s, it was one of the highlights to go to Sam’s for dinner. Thank you for coming back. I look forward to coming by soon, for what I am sure, will be a very enjoyable meal, and an awakened taste memory. Good fortune always!

  • Darrell says:

    The absolute BEST fresh shrimp & fresh fish in the area! Blows away the local so-called Shrimp “houses” and “baskets”. We had the fried amberjack (caught the previous day!), fried shrimp, boiled shrimp & gumbo. The food was so fresh! You could really taste the difference between this food and the usually overly breaded or previously frozen fish & shrimp! The best seafood gumbo I have had from any restaurant – ever! You can taste the homemade roux!
    WE WILL BE BACK!! We will also tell all of our friends & coworkers!
    Can’t wait for a crawfish boil!

  • Kim Miller says:

    I am very much looking forward to trying the seafood here. I grew up in FWB and on Sam’s. I so miss the Oysters by the dozen for $.99. Will be there for the Billy Bowlegs Festival this year.
    My dad (Jimmy Ray) and mom (Mary Ruth) would be proud that I am going back to my roots…..but just to visit.

  • Payne Walker says:

    I stopped by the other night and man was it great. The food was incredible and the atmosphere on the deck was as it should be; enjoying food with other locals and visitors. Look forward to eating there again soon. Love the slaw on the fish sandwich.

  • Debbie Jacobs says:

    I used to be a waitress at SAMS. I worked there for 4 years while attending UWF. My husband was stationed at Eglin AFB. We rented a house from your Your grandma Ms. Mac. I loved working at SAMs in fact it took me four years to complete my last two years of college because the tips were so great during spring and summer. I am a teacher and a mother of four, but I look back often to those years I worked at SAMs with very fond memories.
    I hope for you great Providence in your venture and hope to make it back to FWB one day to eat at your resturaunt.
    Debbie jacobs

  • Bruce Orman says:

    saw your ad in a pop up. Mt in laws fed us one night with your shrimp baskets. Did not remember where it was from until I saw the pop up ad, we will be stopping in. Always want to assist the local places and the people with heart. I too am a local business and wanted you to know that your pop up ad worked. Money well spent. Thanks

  • Charlie Lankford says:

    Stewart, I just wanted to weigh in on your father’s restaurant as well. From 1986 through 1988 I was in that area quite often TDY at Eglin AFB, ranging from short trips to extended stays. The first trip I had down there, we ate at Sam’s Oyster House that was right on Highway 98, my first experience with the restaurant, and from that visit forward I was hooked. Over the years I was there, I always ate at Sam’s several times per trip, great food. I hope your current venture also does as well. Lots of old memories in that area and I loved the area as almost a second home. Shame to see that great restaurants (Destinees, Sam’s Oyster House, Guiseppe’s) are no longer there, I really enjoyed them. Best of luck to you friend, Charlie

  • sherry says:

    Stewart you have done a great job and kept the family tradition up. I have known your family for years and your restaurants have always been the best.Best of luck to you always.

  • Jena Sweeney says:

    I have been to Stewby’s for both eat-in and take-out several times since you opened and it has been delicious each time. Fresh fish and home made caesar dressing make the salad YUMMY!!

  • Greg says:

    After playing some disc golf in Ft Walton with my sons and son-inlaw, I googled “Best Fish Tacos” and ..boom your place popped up. The food was awesome and everyone was very nice-Cudos to your staff. My sons were so impressed they drove the 45 min trip back the next day just eat the tacos again!. You have my recommendation!

  • Judy Blair says:

    Before I moved to Alaska in 1975, I had one last meal at Sam’s — gumbo, fried oysters, and dark beer. I told Sam that I was excited about moving to Alaska, but my one big regret was that I would miss his gumbo. Much to my amazement (and joy!), he gave me the recipe. Of course, his version made about 10 gallons so I had to experiment a bit to cut it down to a more manageable ‘batch’, but I still make it on occasion — especially when displaced Floridians are homesick for a taste of ‘real’ cooking.

    I am glad to hear you have come back and are carrying on the traditions; Sam’s was/is too good to let it ‘die’. If we ever visit your ‘neck of the woods’ I will be sure to find you.

  • "Flip" Young says:

    Hi Stewart, My name is Floyd Young, better known as “Flip”. In the 80’s my family and I would visit the Ft. Walton/Destin area each year, from the Little Rock, Arkansas area. We always made Sam’s one of our stops for
    a great lunch with your Dads favorites, Fried Amber Jack Sandwich. For a Bottom Feeder Fish, that most folks
    didn’t think was worth eating, it was as good as any delicate seafood I had ever eat, anywhere in the country.

    My wife and I are 78 years young now, and are planning a Motorcycle Trip to the Ft. Walton/Destin area next week.
    Oct 24th thru Oct 27. We have the directions to Stewby’s Seafood Shanty and expect to bring a couple of our
    friends to see ya. I’ll be sure and let ya know if it is anything like your Dad prepared. Ha Ha Glad you are keeping
    History Alive and the legend of “Sam’s Oyster House” in our hearts. Keep up the good work

  • John says:

    There use to be a Sam’s oyster house in Navarre. Did your father own it too?

  • Rhoda Ann and.Harlan Brindamour says:

    no one has remarked about the soft shell crab sandwich yumm!

  • Mickey Luberto Cummings says:

    I didn’t realize that you are family to Sam’s …Way back in the day we couldn’t wait to get to Sam’s for oysters and gumbo when I came here on vacation…my family and I were very disappointed when you sold and we knew the new owners were not going to make it!!!! I moved here in 1998 and have not found a place where the seafood is freshly prepared and not a chain….sad because that’s what we look for….now that I read your story I will be there this week and hope to became a regular as well as my extended family here …..Mickey C Fort Walton Beach

  • Randy Whiteman says:

    I have been visiting the FWB/Destin area since 1996 and fell in love with the area. I plan to move there when I retire. Every year we look forward to the great seafood the area has to offer but over the past 10 years the quality has dropped at most of the local restaurants. I decided to find a real local place to try out that has not sold out to one of the many big chains. I was so pleased to find your place under a google search and plan to stop on your way in to Okaloosa Island. Will see you 4/6/14 around noon!!! Cant wait!!!

  • Randy Whiteman says:

    Did not disappoint! Our first stop when we arrived in the middle of a heavy rain, was your place. The food was great! Grilled Mako was out of this world and I came back 3 days later for seconds! Will be counting the days til my next visit south.

  • Glenda Merkel says:

    I am getting married down there next year and heard that someone had you guys cater for a wedding on the beach.We are coming down and going to come and eat there. Thanks.

  • Debra Lynch says:

    Best Restaurant we at ate in our 9 day camping trip to the Destin Fort Walton area. So good we tried it several times. Best grilled shrimp around the area.

  • Toby Sewell says:

    We ate at your place today and was so happy to get some really good seafood. We are visiting from Saginaw, Michigan and are staying in Santa Rosa Beach. We looked up seafood and found your place with very high rating. So we decided to give it a try and we are so glad we did. We will probably try you out again tomorrow our last day here. We use to live in Pensacola and I fished off shore all the time and brought back fresh seafood then we grilled it. There is nothing like fresh seafood grilled the day you catch it. We lived there for 3 years while stationed at NAS Pensacola and became very use to eating fresh seafood. We then moved back to our home state of Michigan and we can not get fresh seafood there like down here.

    You have some of the best seafood I have eaten in long time. Your staff was great and we all had a wonderful time eating out on the deck. We had just spent the day at the beach and we were all in our bathing suits covered in sand, but felt very at home on the deck.

    The service and cost of the food was great.

    The Sewell Family
    Saginaw, MI

  • Kenney & Mitzy says:

    We are a retired Air Force family living right here in FWB. We drive by Stewby’s all the time, but never stopped in until just last week. We were missing out on some excellent grub. We’ve been to all the big name seafood places, (AJ’s, Joe’s Crab Shack, etc.) and was disappointed over time with service and food quality. We were very pleased with your service, food and over all hospitality. This is by far the best seafood we’ve had in a very long time. The cheese grits, gumbo, fried okra…yummy! We ordered your fried oyster dinner and seafood platter and was very pleased with taste, amount, quality and price. I am here now checking your online menu because we are on our way right now to try more goodies. See you in a few!

  • Jolene Williams says:

    Stewby’s is addicting! For the service, quality of food, and great prices, it’s BAR NONE!
    I LOVE the fried oysters and shrimp dinners, and make a point to eat here 2-3 times each month.
    With the constant flow of eager/hungry customers, I see Stewby’s lasting well into the future God willing.
    Cheers to Stewby’s for opening their doors and family recipes to our community!

  • kenny says:

    I definitely remember eating at Sam’s. We considered it to be the best place to eat in Fort Walton. We ate at Stewby’s recently and think it’s just as good. Glad to hear your family is back in the seafood business.

  • Deborah Fly says:

    Back in the 60’s and 70’s my parents used to come to Ft. Walton every couple of years. When my husband and I married, we would come with my parents. They would always come home and rave about Sam’s, so they could not wait to take us there. It was the best seafood that we had ever eaten! I remember the gumbo! It was delicious. We ate there several times. It holds great memories for me, as my parents loved introducing my husband and I to all the great food and fun that Ft. Walton had to offer.
    When my husband and I and some extended family came here for a reunion, we tried to see if Sam’s was still here, but information was limited. We found Stewby’s on a website and checked out the ratings for Stewby’s. It sounded like a great place to eat, so we went there. We all ate different selections. Everything was exceptional! This is the BEST seafood in Fort Walton! As we were leaving, I went to the window and told them how much we enjoyed the food. After asking about how long they had been there and a little bit of their history, I was astonished to find out that they were the next generation from Sam’s Oyster House! We got to eat that same great quality food that we had had at Sam’s back in the day! No could do it like Sam’s, so head down to Stewby’s for that real seafood! Thanks, Stewart for sharing this piece of history. Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane! It was certainly worth it.

  • Susan says:

    Getting ready to head over there to give it a try!

  • Londonbach says:

    I was in FW last week. When I asked at my hotel desk where’s the best fresh seafood, three people said, “STEWBY”S” all at the same time. That was good enough for me. In a 2-day stay I had your fish tacos 5 times. (with nuthin but pico de gallo, lemon & salt–excellent! the fish was grilled to perfection.) When I’m in a place where I can get it I eat fresh seafood for breakfast, dinner & supper. Stewby’s is outstanding. Keep on rockin…

  • Todd Freeman says:

    Sitting here in north Alabama thinking about the smoked fish dip and the fried oysters I had at Stewby’s last week. I wish we would have found this place on the first day of vacation instead of the last. Looking forward to our next visit to the beach and our many more visits to Stewby’s

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