Well, Englewood always presents lots of options for good food and drinking, been doing it for over 10 years, so I know the area well.

Just so you know, Englewood is just south of Venice,Florida with Boca grande just a mosquito's flight down the road.  

You are surrounded by waters here, sounds, creeks, rivers and the Gulf. Lots of seafood around, lots of places to tipple and have a cool one at.

Let me tell you about some of my favorites.

If you just want to have cold one and enjoy the view, head out the causeway to Englewood Beach.  Across from the Gulf when you turn south is the White Elephant Bar and Restaurant.

It is rambling place with three bars and live music at night.  Nothing fancy, but they give you a fair pour at a very reasonable price.  Had Makers Mark on the rocks for under $6.50 along with a cold one.  Nice view out over the harbor with large sailboats berthed here and there.

For really good seafood and a nice environment you can't beat Farlows on the water.  It is one of the best restaurants there.  Owned by a husband and wife team, he being from St. Croix, USVI (hence all the emphasis on yummy fish baked and sautéed with good veggies and fruits and peppers. His wife from Louisville brings in a lot of good Kentucky fare like a hot brown sandwich.)

They have items like, flounder w/crabmeat for $14  on up to fish of the day baked in good stuff for $24.  They do a mean top round steak that is marinated in vinegar and honey for $14 and it will melt in your mouth.  They have sushi-grade tuna and lots of fun appetizers.  They carry a fully stocked bar with an expert bartender who makes plentiful libations at very reasonable prices.  Try the mojitos made with homegrown mint, it is a winner. This place was good enough, that I ate there two nites in a row.  

Down the road, route 775 which heads you to Gasparilla Island, home of Boca Grande, lies a quaint little seafood village community called Placida.  

They have great seafood restaurant there called the Fishery owned by Gary Allbritton and married to Margaret who has a cool gallery there.  Margaret was a major force on our circuit in the 70's and 80's.

Again this is old-time Florida.  It is the real deal, nothing fancy, but all yummy.

They sit right on the water which offers a great view at sunset.

The image I used for this blog was taken last year at twilight right behind the restaurant.

Here you are going to get great fresh fish, hushpuppies and all the usual trimmings.  It is worth the twenty minute ride down to it.  If even that.

As Nancy pointed out, the Myakka Fish Camp restaurant bar is great local favorite.  The prices are right, the beer is always cold, and you get a great view on the river.  Heck a gator might pull up beside you with a cooter to trade for one of your hush-puppies.  Just kidding folks, no gators are going to pester you.

Sunday morning for breakfast head to Stephanos just up the highway from the art show.  Enjoy a leisurely omelet or a morning riser while perusing the local paper, or go big time beforehand, and go to the Publix and buy the New York Times, that will give you serious reading pleasure for hours-end and then you will still have the crossword puzzle.  A great way to start the day before the show opens at 10 AM.


Just to be fair, I could not locate the Placida jpeg I wanted, so I have used this image of the sunset on Englewood Beach almost across from the White Elephant.  There, I have "certified" it.

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  • Ahh Nels, dinner was only a couple of hours ago, yet my mouth is watering at your wonderful descriptions!

  • Great color commentary and a beautiful photo!  Thanks Nels.

  • Nels - thanks for the update. Enjoy that lovely Florida weather!

  • Wow what a great note.  Wish I had your note before I went there on Sunday.  This was my first time at the show - I was not a vendor but just looking around to see what it was like.  There were a lot of great things there, and I must say I contributed my fair share to sales.  Next year I hope to participate in shows as a vendor.

    I agree the Englewood area is wonderful.  I am staying in Fort Myers this year, but next year I am going to stay on Pine Island which is off the coast from Cape Coral.  Not that far away in miles, but far away in lifestyle.  It's pretty rural there.  I stay in an RV and I was hoping to find a spot next year in the Englewood area, but apparently there are no RV parks there.

    Anyway, on Monday I went to the KOA RV park in Pine Island and it was practically deserted.  Except for the full timers, there were not many RVs there.  I talked with the lady in charge and she confirmed that a lot of snowbirds left at the end of March.  The RV parks around here have 3 month and 4 month seasonal rates and a lot of people leave the end of March.  Maybe snowbirds who stay further North in Florida don't go home as soon as those in the Fort Myers area. 

    I talked to people at the Englewood show and they seemed pretty happy with sales.  The Rotary who runs the show was really helpful.  It seemed to me like a well run show. 


  • Allison gave some insights, I will give more.

    Traditionally, Easter is in early April, so after that you lose most snowbirds, but they do not account for all our sales.

    Locals still buy and seek out their favorite artists.

    Temps vary, this year it is warmer earlier, last year we had a really cool April.  May is always hot.

    That said, there are still a lot of shows to do, and money to make, before I go north in early May.

    We have Gainesville, Cedar Key, Tallahassee and Melbourne, even Deland to name a few.  All can be money-makers.

    In May I still do the Shrimp and Art Festival in Fernandina Beach--always make money there, and have a hell of a good time.

    "Bake by the Lake", Lakeland is exactly that.  Nicely run show, but hard to make money at, and it is always beastly hot and humid.

    So, does that answer your question?

    I never have trouble getting a seat at a restaurant, I always head to the bar, you get quicker, more attentive service,and, that is where the booze is.  Simple solutions.

  • The snowbirds generally leave around Easter.  IMO, the last possibly decent show is Melbourne the end of April.  Don't even try Mayfair.  The heat can be excruciating, last time I was there it was 102 in the shade and I got real close to heatstroke during setup.  And as was proved last year even without the heat sales are dismal.  I did try one indoor event in August one year.  Sounded like a good idea but you still have to unload outside and that was miserable.  I noticed recently on ZAPP that Daytona Beach has a new outside show in JULY.  The show hours are from 2-11 to avoid the heat but setup is from 8-12 in the morning.  I hope they have medical personnel standing by for that one.

  • Nels - just curious, how much longer does the outdoor art festival run for Florida?  I think Nancy's post mentioned the heat, I was curious how much longer your season will last in Florida and how much longer the snowbirds will be hanging around.  Of course, once their gone, your favorite restaurants should be less busy:)

  • Vey nice of you to say so Ruth, thanks.  

    Ken it was good for some and not so good for others--what else can I say.  Check out Nancy's blog--I contributed to it, also.

  • Ken - scroll a little further down the blog posts, Nancy already wrote a review of the show, Nels is adding the color commentary!!  He's making me want to pack my bags and travel to Florida, not that we don't have great seafood in Seattle, it's just in early April there's no sitting outside to enjoy those seafood dinners.

  • This might be a silly question on a website like this, but How was the show?

     I skipped it this year to do West Palm (not so great a show). Englewood is 35 minutes from my house. West Palm is 3 1/2 hours. Did I make a mistake?

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