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Night two of our CSB vacation.

We didn’t want to have to drive all the way into Port St. Joe or over to Mexico Beach or Apalachicola so we decided to give The Sand Bucket, a new place on Cape San Blas a try. The Sand Bucket is billed as a ‘smokehouse and grill’ and specializes in smoked meats but also served fresh seafood.

We got there around 7:00 or so and rather than have to wait on a table we were seated right away. Our server took our drink order and gave us a few minutes to peruse the menu before taking our orders for dinner. Everything on the menu sounded good but we noticed barbeque pork nachos, a favorite of ours, on the appetizer section of the menu. I ordered the nachos with a side of Brunswick Stew. Ashley and Jenna also ordered the nachos and added a side of hushpuppies. ConnieLou ordered a pulled chicken sandwich with Brunswick Stew and cole slaw.

According to ConnieLou, the pulled chicken sandwich was really good and we both agreed that the Brunswick Stew was quite good but was a bit ‘chunky’. We tend to prefer our Stew to be ground rather than chunky but the flavor was there and that’s what really matters. The hushpuppies were also fantastic and tasted just what a hushpuppy should taste like. About the barbeque nachos…well, here’s where things get a little sticky. The nachos were described on the menu as follows: “homemade chips, queso cheese, pulled pork, barbeque sauce and jalapenos”. The homemade chips turned out to be homemade potato chips rather than tortilla chips…but they were quite good and were a nice twist. The pulled pork and barbeque sauce were also very good but the ‘queso cheese’ pretty much ruined the whole deal. Rather than the white ‘queso’ one usually associates with nachos at a Mexican restaurant, the queso served was actually more like the canned cheese sauce one would get with a basket of nachos at a ball game. It just didn’t work for us.

We also had a few issues with the service which also put a bit of a damper on the evening. On the Thumbs Scale, The Sand Bucket got 4.5 thumbs-up out of a possible eight thanks to the queso and service issues. Even though the Thumbs Scale score wasn’t great, we’re not writing The Sand Bucket off on one experience. There is a LOT more on the menu to try and if the Brunswick Stew, hushpuppies and pulled chicken are any indication, it’s definitely worthy of another couple of tries. We’ll be back.

Updated August 2, 2017

We made it back to Cape San Blas for a long weekend and decided to give The Sand Bucket another try.  It’s changed a little bit since our last visit.  Nothing major, orders are now placed at a counter rather than at your table.

Ashley and Jenna decided to split a Fried Platter which included fried fish (swai), fried clam strips, fried crab balls and fried shrimp along with sides including fries and a cup of Brunswick stew.  ConnieLou ordered the barbeque sandwich with Brunswick stew and slaw and I picked the smoked sausage sandwich with fries and Brunswick stew and we all split a basket of Crazy Hush Puppies for an appetizer.

Lets start with the good.  My smoked sausage sandwich and ConnieLou’s BBQ sandwich were both quite good.  Ashley and Jenna reported that the shrimp and clams were good and the fries were pretty decent and the fish was OK but nothing special.  The hush puppies were tasty but at $6.99 for a basket of eight smallish hush puppies, maybe not the best value on the menu.

Now the not so good.  The slaw and crab balls weren’t well received at all.  While I could justify placing the Brunswick stew in the ‘good’ category based on flavor (OK, it did need a little help but a squirt of BBQ sauce and a quick stir took care of that), I wouldn’t have called it stew…maybe call it chunky Brunswick soup instead.

My last beef…the Fried Platter was placed in the “From the Gulf” section of the menu which is a bit misleading.  The shrimp and crab might be locally sourced but we have no way of knowing.  Clams?  Maybe but I have my doubts and the fish (swai)…nope.  I guess they had to put it somewhere on the menu but “From the Gulf” is a bit misleading if you ask me.

So how did The Sand Bucket fare on the Thumbs Scale this time around?  We gave it 4 thumbs out of a possible 8.  OK, as I said before, I think that even though the thumbs score wasn’t great, The Sand Bucket has a lot to offer and has potential for a much higher score.

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