By Destiny Brown
Al Sawyer, founder and owner of King Neptune’s, is no stranger to the Alabama Gulf Coast. He recalls being five years old in Bon Secour, shucking oysters and slurping them down on the spot. His passion for seafood has kept him in the industry and led him to be the proud owner of King Neptunes, one of Gulf Shores’ most noted restaurants for fresh, quality seafood dishes.
Sawyer calls and has always called this area home. He grew up fishing, crabbing, shrimping and oystering with his father and learned the ropes of catching fresh fare from the sea.
He went into the Navy for four years and when he got out, he went straight to working for Morrison’s as a manager and learned more and more about the food industry.
Sawyer worked with Morrison’s for 14 years before taking a job as a bartender at Hemmingways in Orange Beach and then was employed in sales at Bon Secour Fisheries for 10 years. Everything he was learning was keeping him in the seafood industry and his knowledge of the business kept expanding.
It wasn’t until 1993 when Sawyer was 50 years old that he decided to try his hand at opening his own restaurant with his wife, Diane. Sure he had assisted in starting up many businesses for others, but this was his time to shine. King Neptune’s opened it’s doors in Gulf Shores and has been a staple to the community ever since.
“I wanted to make a statement when I opened,” Sawyer said. “And that’s why I called it King Neptune’s, for the greek mythology King of the Sea. We try to have a variety of seafood options; all Gulf of Mexico fresh.”
The restaurant became a success using Sawyer’s family recipes and his own concoctions.
“A lot of recipes come from my experience in Southern Gulf Coast cooking,” Sawyer said. “I’d call it comfort Southern cuisine. I also make my own sauces and have developed more and more recipes through the years.”
Sawyer stresses his appreciation for the fishermen and women that contribute the freshest quality of local seafood to his establishment.
“All of those fishermen really work hard and away from their family,” Sawyer said. “I have a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for these guys and girls.”
With over 25 years of experience at King Neptune’s under his belt, Sawyer has become a familiar face with locals and returning customers who vacation to the area, or as he calls them, family.
“I love this industry and I think I’ve passed that on to my employees who work with me, and I would call them friends and family,” Sawyer said. “My favorite thing about this place is it has a family feel about it. We try to pick out people who will treat out customers as if they were family coming into the restaurant.”
Sawyer says his love for the industry stems from the love of fresh seafood he caught when he was a kid, and he strives to give everyone who passes through King Neptune’s doors that experience.
Try King Neptune’s for lunch, dinner, or stop by to sample their new tapas menu! King Neptune’s also has an impressive list of original cocktails like the Kings Tea and Shrimp Boat Bloody Mary. King Neptune’s is located at 1137 Gulf Shores Pkwy in Gulf Shores.