Panini Pete’s newest restaurant, The Waterfront now open at Lake Forest Yacht Club

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:01 PM CDT
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DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - The Waterfront restaurant at Lake Forest Yacht Club is now open. Owned by the Lake Forest Property Owners Association, “Panini” Pete Blohme and business partner, Nick DiMario took over management and have spent the last several months renovating and rebranding the restaurant.

Without the slightest bit of fanfare, The Waterfront opened its doors Wednesday, May 24, 2023. The old restaurant had been closed for more than two years and It didn’t take long for the word to spread. By lunchtime Tuesday, a steady flow of customers was coming in to check it out.

Diners take in the beautiful view of Mobile Bay on The Waterfront's large, covered deck
Diners take in the beautiful view of Mobile Bay on The Waterfront's large, covered deck(Hal Scheurich)

“The ambiance, the scenery, the food…it’s just a heck of a place that the eastern shore of Mobile is going to be proud of and enjoy,” said Daphne resident and first-time customer Dan Jennings.

“Oh, I thought it was great. I love being on the water again,” added Rosalou Maxwell. “The food was just unique and very good.”

With all the work to get the place ready, the approval of customers means a lot. Blohme and DiMario put together what Bohme calls an eclectic menu, featuring the likes of Conecuh calamari and roasted, split okra.

The restauranteurs had just come to terms with not rebuilding the old Ed’s Seafood Shed on the causeway because of the high cost of building code upgrades. A call came in from the Lake Forest POA Board about taking over its facility and the rest is history.

“We took a look at the place and Ed’s you know, on the causeway was…kind of that deal was falling apart, the rebuild, and it was like, oh my God. Within thirty seconds, we’re like, we’re in. We’re in,” Blohme recalled.

The kitchen is small but by moving the cold bar out into the front of the house for open viewing by customers, it’s given the kitchen the space to keep orders organized and rolling out. From burgers to po’ boys, you’ll find The Waterfront has the classics but Blohme said a lot of thought went into the menu.

“We can take influence from other iconic waterfronts and play around with that, so we have our play on a lobster roll. We have our play on an Argentinian ceviche. We have our play on Key West tacos. We have our play on Jamaican dishes,” Blohme explained.

“I don’t want this word to get out,” said Joel Brown who lives nearby. “It’s going to be crowded and packed and all, but the food’s fantastic.”

While there is no grand opening planned, there will be a big party Monday night, June 5th beginning at 7:00 p.m. with live music by Cowboy Mouth starting at 8:00 p.m. The deck will fill up fast so be sure to get there early.