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Cabana Cafe

A Resort Restaurant with a local heart

Article by Contributed Article

Photography by Robert Young-Forever Young Images

Originally published in Destin City Lifestyle

Wayne Anderson of Cabana Cafe moved to the Destin area as a young boy in 1976, when his father was serving in the U.S. Air Force. One of his earliest memories of moving here includes going out for the first time in a small boat under the Destin Bridge and out through the East Pass and catching a Spanish Mackerel. 

“It was a wonderful place to grow up, there was always such a sense of community even back then in the early days,” Wayne said. 

That sense of community Wayne felt back then continues to this day and is the bedrock that guides him in all his charitable endeavors. One of his proudest achievements is serving as the President of Emerald Coast Community Cares Foundation whose motto is: ‘Locals helping Locals.’   

“In the last three years, we have given back to locals in need both with direct donations and through gifts to other local non-profit charities,” Wayne said. “We have covered things like travel for medical treatments, rent after surgeries and met many other needs.”  

Even joining the U.S. Air Force at age 18 couldn’t get him away from his favorite place in the world. After basic training, Wayne found himself assigned to Eglin Air Force Base, right back at home.  

“I joined the military to see the world and instead saw Texas and Florida,” Anderson laughingly said. “But I was ecstatic to be back home and serve out my military career here at Eglin.” 

After leaving the military, Wayne began working at Harry T’s restaurant for the next 12 years where he quickly rose up the management ranks to become the assistant general manager. He then moved on to the Lucky Snapper, where he became the general manager and worked for seven years. During this time Wayne also opened Wayne’s Doghouse in 1991, the first venue at Crab Island to provide food and live music. The original sign now hangs proudly in the bar of Cabana Café.  

When the time came to open his own restaurant, Wayne jumped at the chance and  Cabana Café opened on January 1, 2008. Wayne credits his success to the support of his mentors; Dan Empson and Peter Bos from HarryT’s and Tom Rice and Wayne Lewis from Lucky Snapper.  

Cabana Café is open seven days a week in the Ariel Dunes Building of Seascape Resort. Cabana Cafe is known for Wayne’s use of freshly made ingredients, over-the-top pizzas and live music seven days a week.  

“I look forward to providing good food and great music for locals and tourists alike for many years to come,” Wayne said. 

“It was a wonderful place to grow up, there was always such a sense of community even back then in the early days,” Wayne said.