It’s official: Backwoods Crossing owners expanding to Panacea

by Tallahassee Table
Jesse and Taylor Rice will be converting the former Harbor House restaurant into a new dining destination — but farm-to-table Backwoods Crossing isn’t going anywhere.

We’re very excited about this new venture: Brothers Jesse Rice and Tyler Rice, owners of Backwoods Crossing, closed on their purchase of the former Harbor House on July 1 and a new era, and a new life, begins for the Panacea space.

“We’re returning home,” said Backwoods General Manager Stacy Welch. “The nostalgia was too much to resist.”

Checking out the view from the former Harbor House, which will be reborn as Backwoods Bayside. Photo via Backwoods Bayside

Jesse and Tyler grew up in Sopchoppy and ran a pizza shop there. Stacy is from Ochlockonee Bay and has fond memories of Harbor House.

Backwoods Crossing and Backwoods Bayside owners, brothers Tyler and chef Jesse Rice.

After closing Backwoods Bistro in January, Jesse and Tyler had been considering a new restaurant in downtown Tallahassee but when they found out about the waterfront Harbor House property, it “was a way to come back home,” said Stacy.

An interior picture of the former Harbor House.

The Rice brothers didn’t waste any time getting started. They began renovations on Day 1 and are aiming to open in Spring or early summer 2022. Menu details to come.

The place will be bigger than Backwoods Crossing, with dining and bar areas plus a dock, but fans of the Tallahassee farm-to-table restaurant, no worries. Backwoods Crossing, at 6725 Mahan Drive, will remain open!

The brothers expect Backwoods Bayside to draw local diners as well as customers from Tallahassee and visiting fishermen and beachgoers. Civic Brewing Co. in downtown Sopchoppy will be another attraction in the area.

You can keep track of updates on the new Backwoods Bayside on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and we’ll be posting updates as well.

An outdoor seating area at Backwoods Crossing / Photo by Tallahassee Table

To read more about the Rice Brothers and their transformation of the former Stinky’s Fish Camp to Backwoods Crossing, please read our Tallahassee Table story.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I’m really looking forward to this place. Seeing what the Rice brothers have accomplished in the past, I can’t help but expect this to be a treasure. And what’s a short drive to Panacea for a great meal and a fun evening? Wishing them all the best!

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