CoastAL is a new Gulf Shores restaurant brought to you by the Flora-Bama owners and Cactus Cantina.
John McInnis of CoastAL.
 
By John Mullen
April 10, 2018 – Gulf Shores, AL (OBA®) – CoastAL, a new sprawling, family-friendly space with live music, exciting events and great eats is now open in Gulf Shores.
 
John McInnis of Flora-Bama fame and an investment group recently bought the Sawgrass Center and Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo property on the east side of Alabama 59 at 12th Avenue with plans for a diverse format. The center was the former home to both Nolan’s and Doc’s Seafood Shack.
 
CoastAL will have three components including a restaurant featuring a popular local chef, an ice cream shop with a variety of cold treats and a retail store in the space closest to Alabama 59.
 
“It will feature a restaurant that will have food similar to the Flora-Bama Yacht Club where it’s a mixture of local favorites, seafood, good cheeseburgers, shrimp baskets and all the stuff people love,” McInnis said. “In addition, we’ll have some chef-prepared steaks. Steak is going to be something we focus on over there. We’re going to have lunch and dinner and live music several nights a week. That will go late into the night.”
 
At the ice cream shop, you’ll be able to grab a scoop or two or build your own massive treat.
  
CoastAL Restaurant
“Next door we’ll have the CoastAL Ice Cream Company where we’ve got a large custom ice cream facility,” McInnis said. “It will feature normal ice cream up to the large fancy milkshakes and different creations you can do with ice cream. In few months will have the addition of an arcade to the Ice Cream Company. A family can come and go to the zoo and either eat lunch or dinner with us. After dinner, they can go over and get some ice cream and the kids can play arcade games. It’ll be a really family-friendly destination.”
 
Chris Sherrill, the founding chef of the Yacht Club and former executive chef of all Flora-Bama properties, will be in charge of the kitchen at Coastal.
 
“Nick Fawall is our General Manager and Chris is our master chef,” McInnis said. “He’s doing a great job.”
 
CoastAL will take up the entire space used by Nolan’s but it will have an entirely new look, McInnis said.
 
The group is combining with their partners in the Cactus Cantina restaurants, Mike Lane and Bobby Wade on the new venture. Part of the project also includes buying the current Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo site. The zoo is moving to a new location on County Road 6 which is being built.
 
“The zoo is obviously under construction with its new facility and it will be moving in two years,” McInnis said. “We don’t know exactly what our plans are but it’s of the bar and restaurant nature.”
 
According to zoo chairman of the board of directors, Steve Jones, the purchase of the current zoo site was a big boost to getting the new site underway.
 
“I don’t know if we would have been able to get this far if that were not possible,” Jones said. “That purchase price was $1.7 million and as part of the bond issue $1.5 million of that would go into two separate accounts that will come into play once we are up and running.”
  
CoastAL Restaurant
McInnis said he’s looking forward to working with the zoo while it is waiting to relocate and feels like CoastAL and the zoo will help each other.
 
“Currently we are sharing parking with the zoo and it works really well,” he said. “Everybody gets there to the zoo at 9 a.m. when we don’t need parking. That crowd’s done at lunch and will come eat with us. When the next crowd comes in and the zoo closes at 5, that crowd, hopefully, will come eat with us. It’s a really complimentary use. When the zoo moves it’ll stay like that, mostly parking.”
 
The final component will be the retail store which McInnis says will have stock a variety of CoastAL-branded items.
 
“It has a lot of great merch people will love and really beachy stuff,” he said.