By Destiny Brown
You won’t find one of The Wharf’s best restaurants on the main entertainment district. Bayes Southern Grill is hidden behind the Springhill Suites hotel that neighbors the Orange Beach Event Center, and though it’s hidden, this eatery is arguably home to the best waterfront view at The Wharf.
The venue sits on the canal at The Wharf Marina, making it the ideal viewing spot for sail boats, dolphin cruises, and one of those beautiful Gulf Coast sunsets. Customers can choose to dine inside or outside for waterfront dining on the large patio. The outside also hosts a large high top bar and live music.
General manager, Daniel Unda, has been by Bayes’ side since it opened it’s doors three years ago and he takes pride in seeing this restaurant flourish.
Unda was born and raised South America. He immigrated to the United States in the early 2000s and attended high school in New Orleans, LA. After high school, Unda received a full ride to LSU where he majored in political science. Unda then went into the service and hospitality industry, where he has been for the past 15 years. Unda has an impressive history in the service industry including being an employee trainer for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse among many eateries. He joined up with Volland Group, a Baton Rouge based company that is responsible for a variety of dining establishments such as Capital City Grill, Stroubes, Jabby’s and Register Whiskey Bar. Working with Volland is what led him to Orange Beach ,where Bayes Southern Bar and Grill was in the making, to continue his restaurant development skills and assist in training employees.
“This was my first general manager spot here,” Unda said. “The only way to retain good employees is to have someone who doesn’t have any bad habits,” Unda said. “Just like in anything, even in our food, if you have good products at the beginning it’s going to come out to be a better product at the end and that’s what we did with the approach to our employees as well, we found people who were willing to work and willing to learn and understand.”
Unda found a dedicated, hard working group when he took on Bayes, and he credits them with much of the restaurants success.
On the menu at Bayes, you’ll find southern favorites, cajun flares, and a diverse array of ingredients that are carefully selected for each dish.
For an appetizer, order up some crawfish beignets or pork and andouille sausage egg rolls. As an entree, choose, from a variety of sandwiches to seafood and land fare. The hand cut steaks at Bayes are grilled to perfection and are served with Parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, ask for one of Bayes festive salads which have options varying from a berry salad to a steak salad.
For dessert, you won’d find desserts like these anywhere else on the Island. The Key Lime Pie is a Bayes favorite made from genuine key limes on a delicious graham cracker crust and topped with homemade whipped cream.
With the off-season, Bayes will be offering a locals lunch menu on Mon-Fri from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for $10. Bayes also has a new locals dinner menu which includes $18 entrees with a salad. Seafood platter Mondays, duck braised ribs on Tuesdays, tenderloin madeira on Wednesdays, catfish Orleans on Thursdays and stop in on Friday night for a steak and shrimp combo.
“What sets us apart is excellent service,” Unda said. “My biggest accomplishment here is the fact that I was able to sit down and see these great people here. I have a great management staff, front and back of the house staff, and that makes all the difference.”
Being in such an intimate location gives people the impression that Bayes is an upscale, hotel restaurant, but Unda wants to stress that isn’t what Bayes is all about.
“I want people to know where we are and that we aren’t just a hotel restaurant,” Unda said. “We’re next to Spring Hill Suites, overlooking the Wharf Marina so we have an amazing view. We have the view of millon dollar boats right in front of us. On top of that, we have an affordable menu as well as one of the best wine lists on the Island. We’re very proud of this place.”
Bayes is located at 4673 Wharf Parkway West in Orange Beach.