Location – 975 Rabbit Rd, Sanibel, FL
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille, themed around the best-selling novels of a local resident and named after the lead character, Doc Ford’s is a unique interpretation of the sports bar, seafood restaurant and steakhouse all rolled into one. The ‘Rum Bar’ aspect comes into play in the impressive cocktail menu, adding yet another flavour to the mix.
The food would not be out of place in a fine dining establishment, with all the down-to-earth and relaxing atmosphere of a beachside seafood grill. The outside deck is the best place to eat, with fresh air and the shade of greenery and giant fan palms all around.
Check out the Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille website to see more!
Ethos and Philosophy
Doc Ford’s was created with the ambitious intention to take the traditional sports bar concept, set fire to it and build something entirely unique! Combining the US sports bar atmosphere with amazing local food combined with tropical flavours from all around the world, craft beers, cocktails and great hospitality. Has it worked? Yes it has, and it’s an experience in a league of its own!
The seafood here is all fresh from the ocean and prepared with unique flavours and styles, but two dishes that stood out for me, were the Seared Tuna Appetizer – with rice noodles, fresh herbs and Thai-style peanut sauce – and the Peel-and-eat Shrimp in the special Doc Ford’s Yucatan Sauce.
Tropical Salad – A small mountain of mixed fresh greens, baby tomatoes, mozzarella, oranges, cherries, pecan nuts and crispy onion rings was an unexpected combination of flavours, taking ingredients from several different countries and cuisines to create this refreshing compilation.
Seared Tuna Appetizer – Fresh as the sea itself and lightly touched to a searing hot pan to seal and accentuate the flavour of the vibrant red meat, then laid on a bed of Asian vegetables, rice noodles, fresh herbs and an in-house Thai peanut sauce and a little soy sauce. Sitting in a garden in South Florida, you could be on the other side of the world!
Seasonal Stone Crab claws – Stone Crab is a seasonal delicacy here in Florida, with a short season at that, so when the time comes every restaurant in the state adds Stone Crab Claws onto their menus. Every restaurant serves their Stone Crab in a slightly different way and usually the most distinguishing feature is the sauce, which is another unique Doc Ford’s creation.
BBQ baby back ribs – We had heard all about Doc Ford’s Texas Baby Back Ribs even before we arrived, so we made a special request for them! Not a light bite, the full rack of Danish back ribs has a liberal covering of sweet, tangy, in-house BBQ sauce, cooked to a soft texture so it peels away from each bone. With a French fries and cole slaw. A must-try for meat lovers!
Yucatan Shrimp – Gulf shrimp are steamed and then laid in a dressing of butter, chillies, cilantro and lime juice. The Yucatan sauce, unique to Doc Ford’s, keeps the lightness and freshness of the lightly steamed shrimp while adding volume and a bit of bite to the flavour.
Doc Ford’s brings together a series of unlikely styles, which follows through from the environment and décor, though to the flavours of the food. The inside and outside offer two distinctly different experiences – indoors for a classic sports bar feel, with a touch of local boat workshop and beach side rum bar; outside for a relaxing outdoor garden dining feel. The staff seem to know the food and the constructions of the dishes so well, they could have designed them themselves and the service comes with a genuine enjoyment – they really feel good about the food they are serving. Good vibes makes good food!
Note: This amazing food story experience was made possible in partnership with Doc Fords Rum Bar and Grill, although all thoughts, ideas and opinions are entirely my own.