During the weekend of November 4th, Eagle Creek Brewery won the 2022 People’s Choice Award for its famous shrimp and grits during the Jekyll Island Club’s Shrimp & Grits Festival. True to its name, the People’s Choice division, in contrast with the regular tournament, is judged by people attending the festival as opposed to professional judges.

According to Gail Dismuke, mother of Eagle Creek Owner Franklin Dismuke, one thing people seemed to love about their shrimp and grits recipe was their use of ingredients that enhanced the dish’s flavor.

“We had different people coming up and saying, ‘Oh, yours had more flavor’ or ‘your grits were creamier,'” Dismuke said. “We have a lot of garnishes that go on top of our dish. The base of the grits themselves is our parmesan grits recipe; we use a lot of butter and a lot of cream. All those good ingredients just make it delicious.”

The win was a massive surprise for Eagle Creek. In fact, the Brewery didn’t even initially go to the Shrimp & Grits Festival with the idea of winning an award in mind.

“We weren’t even thinking about winning an award when we went because Jekyll Island Club usually wins it,” said Dismuke. “On Friday night of the Shrimp and Grits Festival, they have a half price/half order special. Serving shrimp and grits was a requirement for all the vendors who paid for the privilege of serving food at the festival. Even though shrimp and grits was our number one choice on our menu, we did not even consider that we might win the competition for the People’s Choice Award. Then lo and behold, we found out that we had won the award!”

Dismuke (left) working under the tent at the festival (Photo Courtesy Eagle Creek Brewery)

A big strength of the Brewery is the familial nature of the foods they cook. In fact, a lot of Eagle Creek Brewery’s food is family made.

“We use my brother’s Key Lime Pie recipe, and another popular dessert is my mother’s Blueberry Nut Crunch recipe,” said Dismuke. “We also use my recipes for the coleslaw and chicken salad. Various employees who have worked in our kitchen have created some of the recipes we use also. Actually, the Shrimp and Grits recipe was created by Kyle Fusco, a former kitchen manager. Chef Liz Morris actually prepared the prize-winning recipe when we won in 2018. Kyle had moved to Colorado before the competition that year.”

Eagle Creek’s award-winning Shrimp & Grits (Photo by Tyler Calloway for Eagle Creek)

With this win, Eagle Creek Brewery plans on continuing business as usual but is nonetheless grateful that the victory has brought them much-appreciated bragging rights.

Dismuke also thanks Nikki Brunson, Audrey Combs, and Jarred Sparks for being Eagle Creek helpers during the event.

You can sample these award-winning shrimp and grits at Eagle Creek Brewery, located at 106-B Savannah Avenue in downtown Statesboro.

John Caesar

John Terry Caesar is a student at Georgia Southern University, majoring in writing with a minor in art. He is originally from Newnan, GA. Caesar has previously written for The George-Anne and The Newnan...