Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille is celebrating 20 years of business, a milestone marked by growth and an ongoing commitment to the community.
“It has been a privilege and honor to serve our community over the past 20 years,” said Joe Harrity, a partner with HM Restaurant Group, the parent company of Doc Ford’s and Dixie Fish Company. “Doc Ford’s is about connecting people with great food, delivering exceptional hospitality and creating wonderful experiences for our guests.”
Award-winning Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille offers food with a unique balance of flavors inspired by the Caribbean Rim. Beloved for its sauces, spices and passion, Doc Ford’s is known by locals and visitors alike as a spectacular seafood restaurant, serving up its signature Yucatan shrimp daily. Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille has continuously been top-ranked on Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Restaurants for Everyday Eats list over the years.
The original Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on Sanibel opened in 2003 on Rabbit Road and was inspired by a character in Randy Wayne White’s novels, Doc Ford. After 13 years at the Rabbit Road location, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille relocated to a brand-new restaurant on Island Inn Road in 2016. The new location increased the size of the kitchen and outdoor dining spaces and offered a more central location on the island.
Since 2003, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille has expanded to three more locations and now employes more than 400 team members. Its Fort Myers Beach location opened in 2009, the St. Pete Pier location opened its doors in 2020, and Jungle Terrace St. Pete, the newest location, opened late 2022.
“Celebrating this anniversary is especially noteworthy for us, just over a year after Hurricane Ian,” said Harrity. “We’ve spent the last year rebuilding and reopening the Southwest Florida Doc Ford’s locations, and we’re extremely grateful to the community for their ongoing support and patronage.”
Community support and involvement has been a hallmark of Doc Ford’s from the beginning. The restaurant is an avid supporter of numerous island community causes, including F.I.S.H. of SANCAP, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Sanibel CARES. In 2012, Doc Ford’s created the “Ding” Darling Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament to raise money for J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s conservation efforts in the community. Since its inception, Doc Ford’s has help raised nearly $1.2 million for the refuge. The 12th annual tournament will be held May 10, 2024.
Over the years, as more locations were added, its philanthropic reach widened. In recent years, the restaurant has donated $1 for each local specialty drink ordered to support Golisano Children’s Hospital. In 2020, Doc Ford’s began donating $1 for each specialty drink ordered at its St. Pete locations to John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. In total, Doc Ford’s has raised $123,084 for both hospitals to support children’s healthcare services.
HM Restaurant Group owns and operates Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., the award-winning restaurants are renowned for delivering a legendary guest experience.