‘It’s tradition’: Hundreds flock to Joe Patti’s for seafood on Christmas Eve

Escambia County

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Seafood at Christmas — it’s a southern tradition.

Each year, hundreds flock to Joe Patti’s Seafood in Pensacola to get their fix.

The line for fresh seafood at Joe Patti’s in Pensacola stretched out the door Friday, Dec. 24 as families prepare for Christmas dinner in the south.

Timothy Windham was at Joe Patti’s for the first time on Friday with his mother.

“My mom actually comes here every year. She loves getting the shrimp here,” Windham said. “We do a shrimp boil. You know a little country boil, and it’s always good.”

But WKRG asked why not Christmas ham or turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing?

“We just had that for Thanksgiving,” Windham said with a grin. “You have to do something different for Christmas. It’s tradition.”

With that tradition, customers are more than willing to wait in long lines outside and inside at Joe Patti’s, where it’s standing room only.

Pamela Ballenger is returning to Joe Patti’s this year for their traditional southern cooking.

“The line was incredibly long,” Ballenger said. “The great thing about the line though today is the weather and the friends that we’ve made — the desperate people wanting seafood just like myself.”

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson was also at Joe Patti’s on Friday.

“We’ve been coming here the last 10 to 15 years, looking to get some shrimp for Christmas Eve tonight,” Robinson said. “There’s no better place to come than Joe Patti’s. It’s a Pensacola institution. Love being a part of it. It’s a great place to be. I just want to know how much business they do on Christmas Eve because there are a ton of people here.”

Many plan to be back at Joe Patti’s next Christmas Eve.

“Y’all come on down to Joe Patti’s. Get all the shrimp you need. They got it. They got your fish — the shrimp. You name it,” Windham said. “Just come on down. Don’t let the lines scare you.”

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