Pirates Not Allowed at New Café in Mobile, Alabama

Staff Writer
The GulfQuest Maritime’s Museum offers an interactive ship tracking system at every table
Pirates Not Allowed at New Café in Mobile, Alabama

Pam Grout

If you know any pirates, you might want to keep this article on the down low.

The Galley inside the recently-launched GulfQuest Maritime Museum is the world’s only restaurant with a ship-tracking system at every table.

Which means that any of your peg-legged, eye-patch wearing friends could use said computerized screens to track the next target. Not only does The Galley’s interactive control station show all the tankers, passenger ships, cargo vessels, tugs, barges, and pleasure boats in the entire Gulf of Mexico, but it reports their speed, destination, and GPS coordinates. About the only thing it fails to mention is whether or not any of the captains look like Johnny Depp.

What’s even more surprising about this little lunchtime café on the Port of Mobile is that the food, unlike so many museum cafes, is actually good. Really good.

Even locals, who have already “been there, done that” at the museum that opened last September, still go there to eat — and not because it’s the only restaurant on Mobile’s downtown waterfront. Helmed by Marshall Barstow, owner of the wildly popular Mama’s on Dauphin Street, The Galley dishes up hearty helpings of gumbo, pan-seared crab cakes topped with remoulade, bacon and fried green tomato sandwiches, shrimp and grits, and all stripes of blackened seafood.

Besides being an excellent place to “put some South in yo’ Mouth,” as a popular slogan goes, The Galley also provides fun for mariners of all ages. The ship-tracking screens are one of 90 interactive exhibits at this stunning $62 million museum that, from downtown, looks like a life-sized container ship. It’s even called the SS McLean, after Mobile native Malcom McLean, who revolutionized the shipping industry with “containerization.”

While learning about the history, culture, and commerce of the Gulf of Mexico, visitors can do everything from navigating tug boats by remote, to tying a bowline knot, to opening valves in a cramped Confederate submarine.

The Galley, with indoor and outdoor seating and plenty of grog, is open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday.

Leave the pirates at home. Aarrrgh!

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