As the summer heat quickly approaches, and after a week of nonstop, back-to-back work commitments, the idea of some rest and relaxation time by the ocean on “Sunday Funday” (as short-lived as it would need to be) was beyond inviting. Sipping on Mai Tais while basking in the sun and snacking on fresh seafood appetizers, (dreamy sigh) before diving into the main course of steak and lobster? Sign us up! *Cue the Jimmy Buffet tunes*
Alas, as we’ve so unfortunately become accustomed to when it comes to our plans, that’s not exactly how it all played out. *LOUD, screeching car sound effects* Instead of visiting our intended dining destination at South Padre Island, due to the fact that the eatery’s Facebook page wasn’t updated with their notice of closure for the day, we ended up at a local, long-time favorite for SPI residents, day-trippers, vacationers and weekend visitors.
For a little more than three decades, Wanna Wanna Inn Beach Bar & Grill has been a staple among frequented SPI seafood dives. Famous for their Turbo Piña Coladas, located right on the beach and providing a front row view of the ninth largest ocean basin in the world-you know, the ever so popular Spring Break destination-the Gulf of Mexico, it’s really not hard to understand the reasons behind Wanna Wanna’s appeal and long-term success.
(Upon Trisha’s arrival)
Gaby: Sorry, I got a bit of a jump start to tame the “hangry”. Turbo Piña Colada! (always prepared with an extra shot of dark rum and an implied “wink”)
Trisha: Ah, I see we’re starting with dessert. Sure, why not?! That Wanna Wanna (a house medley of liquors/liqueurs with pineapple and cranberry juice) sounds like it’ll take care of my “fruit” intake for the day. (lol)
TIP: The Wave is South Padre Island’s FREE shuttle transportation and stops right at Wanna Wanna’s door! Visit www.spadre.com/thewave.htm for more details and hours of operation.
Gaby: We need some apps, stat!
Trisha: I gotcha. Nachos, extra jalapenos, AND ceviche on the way!
For those of you not too familiar with ceviche, first of all-”Shame on you!” (just kidding), but seriously, you should really try it. Ceviche is traditionally prepared with fish marinated in lime juice then mixed with tomato, onion, diced serrano or jalapeno peppers and cilantro, served with some corn chips. Adding chunks of avocado is always a good idea, too.
While munching on the “not too shabby” appetizers, we sat back and listened to some of the energetic and melodic sounds of singer, songwriter, entertainer, Danica Rae Bird. Danica seems to have quite the following among Wanna Wanna’s regular patrons. She even invited a few of her friends/fans and fellow entertainers from the crowd to belt out some tunes on stage. With as colorful as the performances were, we were definitely “entertained”. What a mix of spirited, “dance to the beat of your own drum” islanders and tourists!
For our entrées, because you know we didn’t stop at apps, we also shared a Fried Shrimp Basket (eight hand breaded gulf shrimp) and a juicy 8 oz. beef-patty cheeseburger. Both dishes are served with fries or coleslaw. Of course, without giving it a second thought, we doubled up on the fries. The fried shrimp was perfectly battered, the seasoned fries were crisp and it was all fried up just right! A couple of the other menu options included the Oyster Cocktail (raw oysters in cocktail sauce) and U-Peel-Em Shrimp (large Gulf shrimp boiled in Cajun spices and served cold). You can count on us going back to finish trying everything on the menu. Never doubt our dedication to the mission, dear readers...NEVER. (wink)
REMINDER: Wanna Wanna, thankfully for us all, is open year round with a heated bar and tents during the winter season.
In the near future, soak in some summertime fun and sun, watch the waves crash on the shore while you cool off with some signature Wanna Wanna cocktails and enjoy the tasty menu items next time you visit South Padre Island. This island escape is located at 5100 Gulf Blvd., South Padre Island, Texas 78597, on Beach Access 19 Aurora Circle, between Aries & Polaris St. As mentioned, Wanna Wanna is open daily throughout the year and normally opens its bar for business by 11:30 a.m., with a closing time that’s dependent on the night, season, and general capacity. Don’t forget, there’s also live music (April thru September) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Check FB @WannaWannaSPI or call for details to (956)761-7677. You can also peruse their website, www.wannawanna.com. As an important reminder, please NO GLASS and NO TRASH on the beach.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.