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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill

Last year my sister Cynthia, and her partner Lana, came to visit and she had one thing on her "to do" list.  She wanted to eat at Wanna Wanna.  Cynthia and Lana are true parrot heads and the only thing they like more than the U.T. Longhorns are the Florida Keys.  I felt sure I could convince at least one of them that South Padre was equal to the Keys.  So when Cyn said she'd read about Wanna Wanna in Coastal Living Magazine where they'd said it was one of the best Seafood Dives in the Florida Keys and Gulf Coast, I said "alrighty then, let's roll!".  I'd seen it, driven by it, but never stopped.  So, on Memorial Day week-end 2009 we drove ourselves, our umbrellas, and all of our related beach junk to the Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill, located at 5100 Gulf Blvd.  What were we thinking???  Can you say "crowded"?  We, however, are of hardy stock and seem to possess a parking angel.  Someone was leaving - we zipped into their spot - viola.  Beach access and Wanna Wanna all together!  My sister collects tee shirts...so, of course, she had to go chat up the receptionist and get herself a tee.  About the time she was finished it was opening time for the grill and she was first in line.  She ordered some boiled shrimp, I ordered a hamburger and fries, and I don't remember what Lana ordered.  While the pack mules (me and Lana) unloaded and set up our spot on the beach, Cyn got us a table and met people and enjoyed the gorgeous view from Wanna Wanna's seating area.  My sister can make friends anywhere she goes...so she had learned that yes, Wanna Wanna had a great burger, and where to buy fresh shrimp since B&A had closed and who knows what else.  About the time our order was ready, Lana and I had worked up a sweat and were ready to sit and enjoy that gorgeous view as well!  I can't say that I convinced either of them that South Padre was better than the Keys, but I think that Cyn enjoyed checking out one of the "Best Dives" in her magazine!

That was the first time I ate there - and it certainly was not the last.  We now try to choose a beach access close to Wanna Wanna in case we need food or a cold margarita while playing beach bum, or just need to get out of the sun for a bit on a hot day.  I've never gotten anything other than a hamburger...their burgers are delicious and I haven't had the desire to try anything else.  When you find a great grilled burger source - you just stick to what you know is going to be good.

Wanna Wanna got a bit of bad press this past year - and I followed it like everyone else.  All I can say is I've stood at the pick-up window and watched the guys cooking and nothing looked alarming to me.  I've got a fairly stalwart digestive system, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  The only thing I don't like about Wanna Wanna is the smoking situation in the winter months.  Last November they had the plastic rolled down and a guy two tables over was smoking a cigar.  I got so sick to my stomach while I waited for my beeper to flash, that I went to cancel my order...but it was just coming out...and since the guy who was ordering was ordering a hamburger, I offered him mine.  He was quite happy and I hope he enjoyed it.  I just can't handle cigar smoke in an enclosed area.  Yuck.

All of that aside, when the seating area is open to the ocean breeze, there are not many places I'd rather sit down and enjoy the view, than at Wanna Wanna.  It has a great beachy dive vibe...and I love it!
Photo Source:  Google Image (top) and D. Hook (middle)

SPI FLIP FLOP FOODIE RATING:
3 – Pretty Yummy - I feel my flip flops wanting to head back from time to time!

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