By Liesel Schmidt
There’s a lot of great grub on the menu at The Point restaurant in Perdido Key, but one of this joint’s main claims to fame doesn’t actually have anything to do with the talent of the chef working magic in the kitchen—it has to do with the talent up on stage and the locally-grown musicians who showcase their tunes every night to a crowd hungry to eat and hungry to listen.
The Point is by no means a newcomer to the Key. In fact, this seafood shack is a landmark of sorts, having dug its place in the sand more than six decades ago. It’s seen many a face come and go…And come back again, time after time—for their tasty dishes, of course. But also to spend time on the other side of the table as generation after generation of locals worked the dining room and ran trays of food, getting their feet wet in the working world and becoming part of The Point’s history.
For local girl Christina Waller, The Point was an immutable part of the scenery, as well, having been a frequent diner since childhood and also a former employee. So, when the original owner told her two years ago that he might have to close, she took the news to her father and proposed a plan that would save the restaurant and keep The Point going strong.
Since then, Christina and her father George have done little to The Point other than hitting the refresh button, adding a few items to an already fantastic menu while keeping the original recipes on the burner, and remodeling the restaurant to clean it up and enhance things. But they have made one change of note—they’ve cranked up the volume and made The Point a true music scene, welcoming local performers to the stage out in their Courtyard every night and giving them a place to shine. “The Point is the only late night hotspot with live bands and a full bar, and it’s really homey out there under the old oak trees,” says Christina. Complete with fireplaces, seating areas that invite gathering, picnic tables, and a stage, the Courtyard is a performer’s paradise.
Still on feature are crooners Bubba ‘n Them, a bluegrass band that’s been wowing the crowds at The Point for over 27 years. But added to the playlist are other pickers, players, and singers—all of whom feel right at home in front of the mike as they sing of love, loss, and life…and all those things that put heart and soul into music and make it strike a chord.
With such a hit-list of crowd pleasers coming out of the woodwork, it stood only to reason that The Point become their hometown home; and so in 2016 they started The Sandy Roots Songwriter Series, a concert series that runs the third Tuesday of each month from March to November.
So named for the production company that’s brought the series to life, The Sandy Roots Songwriter Series was designed to give local and regional artists a place to network and collaborate with other artists as well as providing them with a platform to share their music in an environment that would truly embrace them. Six songwriting artists are featured each month during the three-hour concerts, including local, regional, and national touring songwriters as well as a Nashville hit songwriter. “This is a unique opportunity for local and regional artists, and we love being such a huge part of that,” says Christina. “Original music has been a staple of the Gulf Coast region for decades, and there really has never been a better time to raise awareness about the talent we have right here and acknowledge the impact that the musical arts have had on the Gulf Coast.”
Much like The Point, these performers are also becoming an immutable part of the Key as their words echo on into the future and their music digs into the sands of the souls who listen. And thanks to George and Christina Waller, The Point lives on to feed hungry mouths, while the artists they feature feed hungry ears.
The Point Restaurant is located at 14340 Innerarity Point Road, Perdido Key, Florida 32507. Open Tuesday- Sunday 11:00 a.m.- til. For more information on the Series line-up, upcoming events, or the restaurant, call (850) 492-3577 or visit www.point-restaurant.com. To contact Sandy Roots Music Productions, call owner Nick Biebricher at (251) 284-2443.