A Florida Restaurant With A Difference

Published Summer 2012 Edition
By: Walter Greene

SOUTHPORT RAW BAR EXPOSED

Fort Lauderdale, Florida is famous for a lot of things, one of their secret gems that is now exposed is the popular SOUTHPORT RAW BAR & RESTAURANT at 1536 Cordova Road, in Fort Lauderdale. This iconic establishment celebrates 40 years as one of the premier seafood and raw bar restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. “We are the top raw bar in this town,” states Buddy Sherman, Managing Partner of the establishment. “Southport is unique in that it represents old Florida without its shiny brass and charges a lot of money for your food.” Their `Damn Good Burger’ costs $5.50, the most expensive thing on the menu is $13.00. RICH, FAMOUS & REGULARS MINGLE Conveniently located right on the Sundance Marina off the Seminal River, which is the last waterway before you get to the ocean. Southport Raw Bar & Restaurant feature an outdoor deck on the water with views of yachts moored in the marina. Once inside, the lights, music and captivating `old school’ decor, makes the place a hot spot for all types; families, workers, business people, celebrities and just plain regulars who come often for delicious meals, beer and wine. “We have families who brought their children, now those children are all grown up and come with their kids and tell us `Oh I came here as a kid and always felt an affection for this place, now I bring my kids for the experience,’” noted Buddy. “The mighty mingle with the unwatched. You’ll have your worker at one table and a big ball player or someone famous who is in town at the next table. We’ve had Mariah Carey, Jon Bon-Jovi, UB40, Lisa Kudrow and `Miss Bahamas Universe’ Anastagia Pierre here. OYSTERS GALORE “People come for specific things, that’s why we don’t change the menu. The Steamed Old Bay Shrimp is very popular; we go through 50 to 60 lbs. of shrimp a day. Of course we are known for our raw bar, no one shucks more than us. If you are going to have a raw bar, this is how you do it. It stays fresh, these oysters do not go through the whole process, they come from the boat, straight here,” explained Buddy.

MY PERSONAL DINING ROOM

For three days, I indulged and totally enjoyed the best Clam Chowder, Conch Fritters, Blackened Dolphin, Blackened Shrimp, Bimini Bread, Baked Stuffed Clams, and Baked Stuffed Oysters with spinach and Cheese. Not to mention the most decadent desserts: Key Lime Pie that’s the tastiest on this side of the globe and the most amazing Banana Caramel Cheesecake Pastry. Other menu favorites include; the Home Made Chili, Fried Seafood Basket, Smoked Fish Dip, Fish & Chips, Philly Cheese Steak, Boneless Fried Chicken and Southport Signature wings. It’s always a gastronomical fiesta at Southport Raw Bar & Restaurant.

THE BEGINNINGS AND PASSION

Buddy explained that the early owners of Southport Carmine and Micky bought the restaurant from the original owner Ted Twist, whom he described as `an extreme character.’ “I came here off a bus from Canada and started as a busboy and now I own the restaurant.” I asked Buddy what does he look for in hiring staff. “Personality, personality and personality. We all sell the same stuff. We are not corporate here, it’s all about the interaction with the customer. This is what I enjoy doing, this is where I grew up. Where I am today is with the guidance of Carmine, I’m so proud of him and what he did for me. You have to elevate the people beneath you if you want to go anywhere. I advise staff that they have to be passionate about whatever you want to do. I still do seven days a week and I’m in my groove here. I really get involved with the staff and every aspect of the operation here. They tell me that I’m all over the place, but yes, I am into everything, I’m not just the manager and restaurant owner, and I am totally involved.”

A FAMOUS SLOGAN

Southport’s slogan is plastered across their advertisements and on the walls of the venue: `Eat Fish – Live Longer; Eat Oysters – Love Longer; Eat Clams – Last Longer.’ Southport Raw Bar & Restaurant is opened seven days a week and closes at 3:00am on weekends. During the week they close at 11:00pm and12:00 midnight during the summer.

Visit: www.southportrawbar.com

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