Bartender of the Issue — Mike Pelletier

Doc’s Oyster Bar, Valparaiso


Mike Pelletier may be a Chicago native, but he’s called Niceville home for the last 17 years and has no intention of returning to the Midwest (“No ma’am, not at all!”).


Chicago’s loss is our gain. When he’s not kayaking, fishing or hanging out at the beach, Mike is cooking and tending bar at Doc’s Oyster Bar & Grill on Tom’s Bayou. He started as a busser at Compass Rose, which is next door to Doc’s, and worked his way up into the kitchen. He’s been cooking for about seven years now, with stints in various local restaurants, but Doc’s is where his heart is.


According to Mike, the best part about bartending is “being able to interact with everybody and meet everybody in town. We got a lot of nice regulars.” There is always a military lunchtime crowd, with folks from all over the country and world, plus a surprising number of tourists. “They find us through Google and Yelp,” he says. Mike reports that these thirsty folks favor the house Margarita (“We use our own mix.”) and any beers by Fort Walton Beach’s own Props Brewery.


One thing Mike wants to make sure everybody knows is that there is plenty of parking. When you’re driving by, it can look full, but he points out Doc’s has extra parking behind Compass Rose. “Same owner, same everything!”

Alita Feek
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