A new miniature replica of Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille adds a visual taste of Southwest Florida to the beloved train ride at Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Built and donated by employees of Doc Ford’s Fort Myers Beach location, the scaled-down lakefront model captures the restaurant’s beach and waterfront vibe with an open-air interior, outdoor patios and signature neon green illuminated pitched roof, right down to its miniature white tables, chairs and food. Doc Ford’s volunteers also helped park employees rebuild the Fort Myers Beach Pier, recently reinstalled.

A fixture on Fort Myers Beach since 2009, Doc Ford’s celebrates its 15th anniverary in 2024.

“Our team is very proud to work on Fort Myers Beach and has been dedicated to help rebuild the community since the devastation of Hurricane Ian in 2022,” said Joe Harrity, a partner with HM Restaurant Group, the parent company of Doc Ford’s and Dixie Fish Company. “They were honored to donate their time and talent to this project and represent the resilient spirit of this special community.”

The miniature Doc Ford’s took a month to complete. It was donated to the park’s nonprofit Railroad Museum of South Florida. The new Doc Ford’s model joins real-life neighbor, Dixie Fish Company, an original Old Florida fish market dating to the 1930s. Nestled along a lake, the white-washed Dixie Fish building was built and funded by the Railroad Museum in 1937. Dixie and Doc Ford’s are among the replica Southwest Florida attractions and villages passengers see during the museum’s mile-long train ride.

Both buildings can be visitied daily at Lakes Park, 7330 Gladiolus Dr. Fort Myers. Train rides are offered Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 1 to Aug. 9.

HM Restaurant Group owns and operates Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille and Dixie Fish Company. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the restaurants are renowned for delivering a legendary guest experience.

Award-winning Doc Ford’s offers food with a unique balance of flavors inspired by the Caribbean Rim. Known for its sauces, spices and passion, Doc Ford’s is a local and visitor favorite for spectacular seafood. Established on Sanibel in 2003, the restaurant has expanded from its original location to three others: Fort Myers Beach and two in St. Petersburg – on the St. Petersburg Pier and in Jungle Terrace. A perennial Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice winner, the pier restaurant was named the No. 1 Best of the Best Restaurants for Everyday Eats in 2023.

Dixie Fish Company, an original Florida fishhouse and 2023 Yelp Top 100 Florida Restaurant, traces its origins to 1937 when it was primarily a fish market. Today, the award-winning waterfront restaurant on Fort Myers Beach serves delicious fresh food in an ideal location complemented by a beach atmosphere, live music and picturesque views.

Philanthropy and community outreach are engrained in HM Restaurant Group’s company philosophy. Proceeds from specialty cocktails at Doc Ford’s raise money for children’s hospitals and water quality issues. HM Restaurant Group also supports local nonprofits dedicated to conservation, community and the environment. The “Ding” Darling Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament has raised nearly $1.2 million for Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge since 2012. The 12th annual tournament is May 10, 2024.