Now a landmark on the coast of Cortez, The Seafood Shack Bar and Grill is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the town’s traditions and pays homage to those who came before by creating delectable dishes with sustainably-sourced seafood.
“Seafood Shack Set To Open In Two Weeks” read the headline in the paper dated Thursday Oct 12, 1972 declaring “Manatee County’s newest restaurant.” The Seafood Shack Marina had been built in 1971 on the sunny seaside of Cortez – a fishing village nicknamed “The Kitchen” by many residents for its wealth of fish, scallops, and other delicious seafood. And with the marina’s success came the desire for a restaurant to highlight the area’s fresh local seafood. The astounding customer response to the original Seafood Shack restaurant led to several expansions, resulting in today’s two-story restaurant facility.
Founded in 1880, Cortez is one of the last authentic fishing villages in Florida. Listed as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, today’s Cortez is still home to a working commercial fishing fleet that catches shrimp, snapper, grouper, and stone crab, among other fish and seafood species.
Now a landmark on the coast of Cortez, The Seafood Shack Bar and Grill is dedicated to preserving the legacy of the town’s traditions and pays homage to those who came before by creating delectable dishes with sustainably-sourced seafood. The Shack’s Executive Chef Gerard Jesse offers up an easy-going, yet sophisticated, locally-derived menu with a style that rings the Gulf from the Yucatan Peninsula to the Florida Keys. Guests of The Shack enjoy Local Smoked Fish Dip, Cortez Cobb Salad (with shrimp, crawfish, bacon, crispy fried onions, blue cheese, egg, tomato, avocado and cucumber) Local Cioppino (Seafood stew with local fish, clams and shrimp) and Shrimp and Grits that pair smoked gulf shrimp with white cheddar stone ground grits, bacon, and andouille sausage. Local foodies say Chef Jesse pairs flavors that are exciting, concepts that are intriguing and dishes that are inventive.
To Chef Jesse, the best way to honor the past is to protect the future. The Seafood Shack recently announced a formal partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which means they are honored as an industry leader working to build awareness about ocean-friendly seafood choices. As a partner, they make a commitment to serve only environmentally responsible seafood and are helping transform the marketplace in favor of more responsible fisheries and aquaculture operations. By choosing to eat sustainable, guests to The Shack are helping to ensure an abundant supply for generations to come.
Chef Jesse wants to change the way we think about food, not only from the sea, and is committed to use delicious, locally-grown, seasonally fresh, and whole or minimally processed ingredients, which is good for us, for local farming communities and for the planet. This resolve is what sets The Shack apart from the average seafood restaurant and has helped earn the property acknowledgments including the Small Business of the Year Award from the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce for 2018.
The Seafood Shack deserves more than recognition awards. They have earned bragging rights for being a culinary trailblazer in the area. But for the Seafood Shack, the best reward is contented guests who appreciate the humble beginnings and the continued fresh offerings from “the kitchen” for years to come.
Visit The Seafood Shack at 4110 127th Street West, Cortez and www.seafoodshack.com.