Every time customers toast to good times with a Sanibel Stoop or a Babe on the Bay cocktail at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, they’re also supporting top healthcare for Florida’s youngest and sickest patients. Since introducing its Hospital Drink initiative several years ago, Doc Ford’s four restaurants and parent company HM Restaurant Group have donated over $123,000 to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg … one drink and $1 at a time. In 2023, Doc Ford’s raised $11,101.

Specialty cocktails, listed as featured drinks from the past on the restaurants’ cocktail menu, allocate a dollar from each sale to the hospitals. Drink selections span two pages and 10 cocktails, many concocted by local customers with witty names referencing their inventors’ personalities and favorite Florida pastimes – from the Hook Line & Sinker and Sanibel Stoop (aka shelling) to Babe on the Bay and the Rowdy Razorback.

Money from drink sales at Doc Ford’s restaurants on Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach is donated to Golisano Children’s Hospital. Proceeds raised at the Jungle Terrace and St. Pete Pier locations benefit John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Both hospitals provide critical and lifesaving pediatric healthcare and specialized services and depend on philanthropic funding.

Championing the health of children – and highlighting cocktails crafted by customers, for that matter – are prime examples of HM Restaurant Group’s commitment to support important causes and the ongoing local community support the restaurants have enjoyed since the first Doc Ford’s opened 20 years ago.

“As a local company, we’re always looking for ways to impact our communities in a meaningful way,” said Joe Harrity, a partner with HM Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Doc Ford’s and Dixie Fish Company on Fort Myers Beach. “When you’re dining out, an extra dollar may not seem like much, but it adds up to make such a big difference in the lives of children and their parents. We’re grateful to our customers for supporting our Hospital Drink initiative and local children’s hospitals.”

The drink program originated in Southwest Florida in 2006 as a fundraiser for Golisano’s Children’s Hospital, which opened in 2017. It expanded to St. Petersburg with the opening of the St. Pete Pier location in 2020 and Jungle Terrace in late 2022.

Philanthropy and community outreach have been hallmarks of Doc Ford’s since its founding on Sanibel in 2003. The restaurant avidly supports F.I.S.H. of SANCAP, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Sanibel CARES and other island nonprofit organizations. Doc Ford’s also created the “Ding” Darling Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament in 2012, which has raised nearly $1.2 million for Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The 12th annual tournament is May 10, 2024.

Inspired by the title character of Southwest Florida author Randy Wayne White’s novels, Doc Ford’s is beloved for mouth-watering sauces, spices and fresh seafood featuring Caribbean Rim flavors, including its signature Yucatan shrimp. A local favorite for residents and visitors alike, Doc Ford’s is a perennial Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice winner. The St. Pete Pier restaurant was named the No. 1 restaurant in the country on the global travel site’s Best of the Best Restaurants for Everyday Eats for 2023.

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. Visit docfords.com for menus and locations.