As Bubba Gump of “Forrest Gump” not so succinctly pointed out, there’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup … yada, yada, yada. But at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, Yucatan Shrimp is the star. So much so that there’s a national day of recognition for the restaurant’s house specialty: May 24 is National Yucatan Shrimp Day.

Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp is a taste of Florida via the Caribbean Rim, a dinner “to evoke deep summer … a kind of scampi for the sun-kissed and sun-desirous alike, a vacation on a plate,” as The New York Times shared in a “Cooking” column. The secret is in the sauce – a mouthwatering made-from-scratch potion of butter, garlic, fresh cilantro and Key lime juice tossed with steamed peel-and-eat shrimp and mild Colombian chilis.

It shines in shrimp tacos, the Yucatan bloody Mary, Yucatan baked oysters and half- and one-pound Yucatan Shrimp entrees at Doc Ford’s locations on Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach and in St. Petersburg on the St. Petersburg Pier and in Jungle Terrace.

“Our Yucatan entrees are wildly popular as Doc Ford’s top-sellers,” said Joe Harrity, a partner with HM Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille and Dixie Fish Company. “We’re excited to celebrate National Yucatan Shrimp Day with our customers.”

Doc Ford’s starts counting down to National Yucatan Shrimp Day on May 1, offering a drawing for a custom YETI cooler filled with restaurant swag at each location. For every purchase of a Yucatan dish or a bottle of the restaurant’s proprietary Yucatan Sauce, customers will receive an entry to the drawing.

Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Doc Ford’s is 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 beloved by locals and visitors alike as a spectacular seafood restaurant. 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.

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.