By Blaine Ochoa
After Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Bolivar Peninsula had to overcome the uncertainty and hardships of rebuilding and restoring a community. Growing up on the Peninsula I have many memories of the difficult years, time, and changes that occurred during the rebuilding of the community I loved so much. However, “from the ashes we will rise” and in the midst of hard times, the best option is to look forward and press on with strength and grace. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted, a time to break down and a time to build up, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-4.
Steve’s Landing became a beacon of hope and a pillar of restoration in the Crystal Beach community. In the midst of devastation, the rebuilding of Steve’s Landing was a decision that empowered the community and proved that the restaurant was an example of new beginnings and resilience. The new and improved Steve’s Landing reopened in 2013. Raised in Crystal Beach, I remember going to Steve’s Landing restaurant as a little girl with my family. The famous local restaurant was in business for fifteen years before it was destroyed by Hurricane Ike. After the original owner, Steve, passed away, the restaurant and land was sold to the Redwine family and then later bought by the new and current owners, Rahib Rahman and Davin Patel after Hurricane Ike. Rahman said, “it was an easy decision to keep the name Steve’s Landing, as it was a cornerstone of the community.”
Rahman and Patel both visited Crystal Beach as children and would dine at the original Steve’s Landing with their families. “During my childhood, my father would take our family to Crystal Beach every other year from Dallas. When my father passed, my memories with him at the beach were some of my most vivid memories,” said Rahman. Rahman and Patel both have similar outlooks on life and value family, community, and great food. “We love food and we’re confident we know what tastes good. Seeing how food brought people together when we were young, we wanted to build our own restaurant to help restore the Crystal Beach community after the hurricane.”
Crystal Beach and the Bolivar Peninsula is an extremely unique place to live, visit, and enjoy. “The laid back lifestyle and the sense of community,” draws many visitors to the peninsula every year. The food on the peninsula is also very unique, as there are no chain restaurants, and each restaurant is different and privately owned. Steve’s Landing has become one to the best restaurants on the Peninsula and is very well known and popular throughout Texas and the South. “We understand a lot of our guests are driving hours to come dine at our place and we do not take that for granted. We keep that in mind with everything we do, from making everything from scratch (including salad dressings and infusing our own liquor) and making sure we treat you like family.”
The Steve’s Landing menu has been uniquely created and inspired by international culinary roots. Rahman and Patel’s South Asian background, international travel adventures, and “time spent in Austin as college students have all been sources of inspiration that we draw from when creating the menus. “We provide unique food and cocktails, mostly Cajun Fusion. We do Seafood differently. We want to incorporate different flavors and techniques from around the world in our food.” The owner’s “personal favorites are the Shrimp Tikka and Grits, Coconut Fish Curry, Crab Rangoons, Blueberry Jalapeño Margarita, and the Honey Nut Old Fashioned. We have used modern culinary techniques to marinate and infuse our base ingredients with other natural ingredients. It has been fun researching and developing different flavor profiles that work together.” The food is absolutely delicious and something that guests will not get anywhere else. Having access to fresh seafood on the Gulf Of Mexico has also been a source of their one-of-a-kind culinary creations.
Aside from having incredible food, the restaurant’s waterside views and exquisite interior design elements make it a five star place to dine, relax, and enjoy company. “We want everyone to feel relaxed as soon as they drive-in. We have breathtaking views of the sunset and we provide a unique atmosphere that includes ‘ceiling-tall’ teak wood palm trees inside, large windows throughout the restaurant, patio dining, and a ‘Swings Patio’ for an open view of the Gulf Coast throughout the restaurant. The scenery is the best on the peninsula and is perfect for date night, a romantic evening, or night out with friends.
“We believe in creating memorable experiences and having a positive impact on people’s lives”. The Steve’s Landing shirts have, ‘They Call Me Captain’ on the back. “We believe in positive self-esteem and self-confidence, and we think it makes people feel good and helps them think about themselves when they put our gear on. I know it gives our staff and us the confidence we need to take ownership of providing an excellent guest experience. On any given night, many tables are celebrating a special occasion and we want to guide our guest through a great experience.”
Steve’s Landing continues to be a light in the community, one that celebrates diversity, creativity, and family. The history and foundation of Steve’s Landing is strong, and it will continue to rise above the rough waves and press forward, no matter what obstacles may come. Getting through the Covid-19 pandemic was a challenge but, “during the shutdown, the amount of support we received, even though we were just doing take-out and curbside, was phenomenal. We are truly grateful for a wonderful community!” For the future, there are exciting ideas in the pipeline, and “we will continue to research and implement new ideas and executive with creativity.” Co-owner, Davin Patel is also going to Cornell this fall to get his MBA.