Uncle Ernie’s: A Pillar of the Panama City, FL Community


An aerial view of Uncle Ernie's in Panama City, a waterfront restaurant with a spacious deck overlooking the calm bay, surrounded by palm trees.

Uncle Ernie’s restaurant, located in Panama City, FL, is much more than just a place to grab a bite. It’s an institution, a beloved fixture in the community that has been serving locals and tourists alike for many years. With its rich history and background, Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City has not just become a popular dining destination, but also a gathering spot that fosters community bonding and connection. Known for its picturesque waterfront views, delectable seafood, and welcoming atmosphere, Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City offers an experience that goes beyond the culinary to touch the very heart of community life. The restaurant has become a symbol of local heritage, combining a warm, friendly environment with a dedication to quality and service that keeps patrons returning year after year.

Unique Location and Ambiance at Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City

What sets Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City apart from other eateries is its unique location. Overlooking the serene waters of the bay, Uncle Ernie’s offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. As you sit down to enjoy your meal, you can take in the breathtaking panorama of the Gulf, making the dining experience at Uncle Ernie’s truly unforgettable. Moreover, many visitors to Uncle Ernie’s choose to pair their meal with a fun and relaxing boat ride, taking advantage of Hideaway Pontoon Rentals, a local service that allows them to explore the Gulf at their own pace.

Reopening Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City After Hurricane Michael

However, Uncle Ernie’s journey has not always been smooth sailing. In 2018, the restaurant faced a significant setback when Hurricane Michael, a devastating storm, wreaked havoc on Panama City. Uncle Ernie’s, like many businesses in the area, was forced to close its doors due to the extensive damage inflicted by the hurricane. The restaurant had to undergo major renovations and improvements, effectively starting from scratch.


During the two-year closure, Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City underwent a complete transformation. Not only were the damages repaired, but the restaurant also received a new look, especially the rooftop area, which now offers even more spectacular views of the Gulf. The grand reopening, on the two-year anniversary of the hurricane, was a symbolic moment of resilience and progress. Customers could not wait to return to their beloved eatery, and the restaurant was filled with joy and relief as people once again filled its tables, enjoying their favorite dishes and admiring the restaurant’s new features. Sean Lyon, the owner of Uncle Ernie’s, expressed his relief and gratitude for the overwhelming support and enthusiasm shown by the community during the reopening.

Uncle Ernie’s Impact on the Panama City Community

Beyond serving delicious food and offering breathtaking views, Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City has also played a significant role in the Panama City community. One of the ways the restaurant has contributed to the community is through job creation. By employing locals, Uncle Ernie’s has helped boost the local economy and provide a source of livelihood for many residents. Furthermore, Uncle Ernie’s makes it a point to source its ingredients from local suppliers wherever possible, thus supporting local businesses and promoting sustainability. In addition to boosting the local economy, Uncle Ernie’s also plays a key role in promoting local tourism. The restaurant’s popularity attracts visitors from near and far, contributing to the overall economic growth of the area. Uncle Ernie’s also collaborates with local businesses, such as Hideaway Pontoon Rentals. This partnership not only provides recreational activities for residents and tourists but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration among local businesses.


Here are some of the ways Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City contributes to the community:


  • Job creation
  • Supporting local suppliers
  • Promoting local tourism
  • Collaborating with local businesses

Through these efforts, Uncle Ernie’s has become a symbol of community resilience and recovery, demonstrating how businesses can play a key role in community development and growth.

Community Events and Initiatives by Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City

Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City commitment to the community goes beyond its restaurant operations. The establishment is actively involved in organizing events and initiatives that benefit the local community. These include fundraisers for local causes, participation in local festivals, and hosting culinary events that bring people together in a celebration of food and community. By partnering with local organizations and charities, Uncle Ernie’s also supports and contributes to various community events. This involvement demonstrates the restaurant’s dedication to community enrichment and development. Uncle Ernie’s is not just a restaurant; it’s a community hub that fosters a sense of belonging and unity among Panama City residents.

Testimonials from Community Members About Uncle Ernie’s

The impact that Uncle Ernie’s has had on the Panama City community is best expressed by the community members themselves. Many of them have shared personal stories and testimonials highlighting the positive experiences they’ve had at the restaurant. These testimonials often focus not just on the delicious food or the beautiful views, but on how Uncle Ernie’s has played a role in community bonding and provided a sense of normalcy in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The reopening of Uncle Ernie’s after the closure was met with a wave of enthusiasm and relief from both community members and staff. People were excited to return to their favorite dining spot, and the restaurant’s reopening was seen as a sign of progress and recovery, further emphasizing the restaurant’s significance in the area.

Culinary Delights at Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City

At the heart of Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City appeal is its exceptional cuisine. The restaurant specializes in seafood, with a menu that showcases the best of what the Gulf of Mexico has to offer. From succulent shrimp and oysters to freshly-caught grouper and snapper, every dish is a testament to the culinary team’s commitment to quality and flavor.


A table with delicious seafood dishes and colorful drinks, with a view of boats docked in the marina and the bay in the background. Uncle Ernie's in Panama City.


Signature Dishes at Uncle Ernie’s

One of the standout dishes at Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City is the Crab Stuffed Grouper, a decadent combination of fresh grouper filets and a rich, savory crab stuffing. Another favorite is the Seafood Gumbo, a hearty stew brimming with shrimp, crab, andouille sausage, and a medley of vegetables, all simmered in a flavorful broth.


For those who prefer turf over surf, Uncle Ernie’s offers an array of options, including juicy steaks, tender chicken dishes, and a variety of vegetarian delights. The restaurant also boasts an impressive selection of appetizers, salads, and desserts, ensuring there’s something for every palate.

Local Ingredients at Uncle Ernie’s

A key factor in the restaurant’s success is its commitment to using locally-sourced ingredients. By partnering with local fishermen, farmers, and artisans, Uncle Ernie’s not only ensures the freshest possible produce but also supports the local economy. This dedication to sustainability and community is evident in every dish, from the crispness of the vegetables to the freshness of the seafood.

Uncle Ernie’s: A Gathering Place

Uncle Ernie’s is more than just a dining establishment; it’s a gathering place where memories are made. The restaurant’s inviting ambiance, combined with its scenic waterfront location, makes it a popular spot for family gatherings, celebrations, and casual outings.

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

Families are a central part of Uncle Ernie’s clientele. The restaurant offers a family-friendly atmosphere, complete with a kids’ menu and activities to keep the little ones entertained. The staff is known for their warm hospitality, making every guest feel like part of the Uncle Ernie’s family.

Special Events at Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City

Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City is a sought-after venue for special events. Whether it’s a wedding reception, birthday party, or corporate gathering, the restaurant provides a picturesque setting and top-notch service. Their event planning team works closely with clients to ensure every detail is perfect, creating unforgettable experiences.

Live Entertainment

Adding to the lively atmosphere, Uncle Ernie’s regularly features live entertainment. Local musicians perform a variety of genres, from jazz to country, providing the perfect backdrop for a delightful dining experience. These performances not only entertain guests but also support local artists.

Adapting to Change at Uncle Ernie’s

The ability to adapt to change has been crucial to Uncle Ernie’s success. The restaurant has navigated various challenges over the years, including economic downturns and natural disasters. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry.

Pandemic Response at Uncle Ernie’s

During the pandemic, Uncle Ernie’s quickly adapted by implementing safety protocols, offering takeout and delivery services, and enhancing their online presence. These measures allowed them to continue serving their customers while prioritizing health and safety. Their resilience and adaptability earned them even greater respect within the community.

Innovation and Growth

Looking ahead, Uncle Ernie’s continues to innovate and grow. They are exploring new culinary trends, expanding their menu, and enhancing their facilities to provide an even better experience for their guests. Their commitment to excellence ensures that they will remain a beloved destination for years to come.


Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City, FL, holds a significant place in the heart of the Panama City, FL community. Its reopening after the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael is a testament to the community’s resilience and progress. Through its various initiatives and commitment to community development, Uncle Ernie’s has contributed significantly to the local economy, job creation, and community bonding. Supporting Uncle Ernie’s and other local businesses like Hideaway Pontoon Rentals is essential for fostering a stronger community. Through your patronage, whether that’s dining at Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City or exploring the Gulf with a pontoon boat from Hideaway Pontoon Rentals, you’re playing an active role in supporting the community you love. Uncle Ernie’s in Panama City is a shining example of how a local business can become a pillar of the community, using its platform to make a positive impact on the lives of those around it.

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