DESTIN — Connie Beirholm sat in the courtyard of Ruth's Chris Steak House on Wednesday night, sipping a cocktail and boasting about the nickname "Swivel Hips" bestowed upon her by the restaurant's staff.
Beirholm is a regular at the restaurant's "Locals' Night," where Northwest Florida residents receive discounted food and drinks from 5 to 7 p.m. in the courtyard. "Swivel Hips" said she never misses a Wednesday, when she owns the dance floor with her "funk" dancing. The band, she said, is now her "adoptive family."
"I love to entertain people with my dancing," Connie said, as the band set up at 5 p.m. to play music for the lucky locals.
Bierholm said apart from the steakhouse, she knows how to take advantage of being a local in Northwest Florida. Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer and Ocean Club Restaurant are two other places where Bierholm said she gets discounts and deals.
During the summer, Northwest Florida's beaches, eateries and stores stay packed with tourists. While residents may get lost in the crowds, many restaurants do offer off-season discounts to locals. Fewer offer locals' discounts year-round.
Many Northwest Florida residents, though, don't know of the year-round discounts that do exist.
On Wednesday, Jim and Jane Kelly of Destin, who chowed down on a crab claw appetizer at the Original Waterfront Crab Shack in Fort Walton Beach, were among those who didn't know they were missing out on a good deal.
The Original Waterfront Crab Shack hosts a "Locals Appreciation Day" every Wednesday, when it discounts meals for Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton County residents by 20 percent. Every other day, those same customers can receive 10 percent off.
"I want our bill to be 20 percent off," Jim told the waiter after the Daily News told him of the deal.
"I know you're local, so I've already applied it to your bill," the waiter responded, smiling.
Dee Robinson, manager of the Original Waterfront Crab Shack, said the restaurant offers year-round discounts to residents because "locals are the cornerstone of the business."
"Even though this is a tourist town, locals are what keeps us going in the off season," Robinson said. "We want to show our appreciation to the locals."
Over the past week, the Daily News called many area restaurants and compiled a list of the deals and discounts offered.
Here are just some of the coastal eateries that said they offer locals anywhere from 5 to 20 percent off their meals:
Amavida Coffee and Tea-Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach and Seaside
Locals can receive 10 percent off all food and drinks.
Black Bear Bread Co.-Santa Rosa Beach
Regular customers can receive 10 percent off their bills if they ask the barista.
Blue Collar Café-Fort Walton Beach
Okaloosa County residents can receive 10 percent off.
Brotula's Seafood House & Steamer-Destin
Residents can receive 10 percent off their meals. The discount does not apply to alcoholic beverages.
Café Thirty-A-Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach residents can receive 10 percent off. Identification showing proof of residency is required.
Florida residents with a valid ID can receive 5 percent off.
Crab Island Cantina-Destin
Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton County residents can receive 20 percent off their meals, including alcohol.
Floyd's Shrimp House-Fort Walton Beach
Florida residents can receive 15 percent off.
Fudpucker's Beachside Bar and Grill-Destin
Northwest Florida residents can receive 15 percent on their meal.
Graffiti & The Funky Blues Shack-Destin
Okaloosa and Walton County residents can receive 10 percent off.
Jackacuda's Seafood and Sushi-Destin
Panhandle residents can receive 10 percent off.
Kenny D's New Orleans Cuisine-Destin
Walton County residents can receive 10 percent off of their meals.
Residents who register for a free locals card will receive 20 percent off, including alcoholic beverages.
Locals don't have to pay any tax as part of the restaurant's discount.
Ocean Club Restaurant-Destin
Ocean Club Restaurant hosts a locals night on Wednesday when residents can receive 30 percent off at the bar and the bar appetizer menu.
Original Waterfront Crab Shack-Fort Walton Beach
The Original Waterfront Crab Shack offers 10 percent off for Northwest Florida residnets. On Wednesdays, the restaurant also hosts "Locals Appreciation Day" with 20 percent off.
O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer-Destin
Florida residents can receive 15 percent off their meals.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House-Destin
Northwest Florida residents can participate in "Locals' Night" every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. to receive discounted food and drinks. The drink special continues in the courtyard until 9 p.m.
Saltwater Restaurants-Destin and Fort Walton Beach
Northwest Florida residents can apply for a free locals' card and receive 15 percent at The Crab Trap locations, the Surf Hut, Rockin’ Tacos, Floyd’s Shrimp House, Lobster Tail and Al’s Beach Club and Burger Bar.
790 on the Gulf Restaurant-Destin
Locals can receive 10 percent off lunch and dinner with a locals' card. The card also extends happy hour by an additional hour and reduces the price of the restaurant's endless mimosas.
Tailfins offers 10 percent discounts to locals who request it from their servers.