And they need your help.
For years before Hurricane Michael made its unwelcome entrance in Florida’s sleepy Mexico Beach, locals and visitors to this pristine panhandle town would flock to Killer Seafood for the famous fish tacos coated, preferably, in their secret Simmerin’ Sauce. “Killer Seafood is the place to eat and hang out in Mexico Beach,” says part-time resident Heather Lackey.
Coastal Living agreed—the restaurant was featured (three times!) in our annual list of the Best Seafood Dives in America, where we touted the addicting sauces and unpretentious atmosphere as draws.
But despite its fierce name and loyal reputation, the unassuming roadside outpost that housed Killer Seafood was no match for the destructive force brought on by Hurricane Michael. Brick-and-mortar or not, however, Killer Seafood is proudly running strong—and doing a whole lot of good along the way.
Less than a week post-storm, the iconic seafood joint—in partnership with chef Dave Snyder of Halyards Restaurant in Saint Simons Island, Georgia—had a new kitchen set up in front of Mexico Beach’s City Hall where they’re feeding first responders, relief volunteers, and weary residents free of charge. Dubbed Camp Happy Tummies, the makeshift, tented kitchen serves breakfast and dinner with help from volunteers. It’s also become the de facto gathering ground—a place where people can laugh and escape the ravaged landscape of Mexico Beach. And for those who find comfort in the familiarity of Killer Seafood, the restaurant’s famous mascot—a salty sea captain statue that once greeted diners at the entrance—is now holding court at City Hall.
Camp Happy Tummies runs in part thanks to donations from a GoFundMe page. (Here’s how to contribute!) According to the GoFundMe description, the team hopes to continue providing hot meals to the town of Mexico Beach for at least a couple of weeks, and possibly longer.
As for the future of Killer Seafood beyond Camp Happy Tummies? The owners shared on Facebook their plans to reopen in a new location in nearby Port St. Joe; however, they also reiterated their plans to reopen once again in Mexico Beach when the timing is right. “We are Mexico Beach and Mexico Beach is Killer Seafood,” the restaurant shared in a Facebook post. “Make no mistake about it, we are never leaving Mexico Beach.”
Related: The 10 Most Disastrous Hurricanes in U.S. History: