Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille commemorates 15th anniversary on Fort Myers Beach

May 15, 2024 Dine

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille on Fort Myers Beach is celebrating its 15th anniversary of business. Beloved for its Caribbean Rim flavors, fresh seafood and a vibrant beach atmosphere, Doc Ford’s opened on the island in April 2009, representing the second location of the popular Sanibel restaurant.

“We are honored to serve the Fort Myers Beach community for 15 years and appreciate the ongoing support of residents and visitors,” said Joe Harrity, a partner with HM Restaurant Group, the parent company of Doc Ford’s and the neighboring Dixie Fish Company. “Our customers know Doc Ford’s is synonymous with great food, incredible hospitality and a wonderful dining experience.”

Overlooking Estero Bay and the island’s fishing fleet, the restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, live music most nights and a quintessential beach town vibe. Diners arrive by car and by boat.
The opening of the Fort Myers location 15 years ago marked the beginning of growth for Doc Ford’s. 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, founded in 2020, and in Jungle Terrace, opened in 2022.

The anniversary is particularly poignant following the impact of Hurricane Ian in 2022. Storm surge reached 18 feet inside the Fort Myers Beach restaurant, destroying the bottom outdoor level and causing significant damage to the upper story. Extensive renovations replaced drywall, flooring, windows and the building’s roof. The destruction also required new equipment and furniture on the lower level as well as new decking and docks.

Doc Ford’s on Fort Myers Beach reopened in July 2023.

“Our 15th anniversary is a true milestone for us,” said Harrity. “It took us nearly a year to rebuild and we recognize there are so many others who are still facing the grim reality. Our regular customers have returned, and we are very grateful for the ongoing patronage of this community.”

In addition to celebrating its 15th anniversary, Doc Ford’s has started the countdown to National Yucatan Shrimp Day on May 24. At each location, for every purchase of a Yucatan dish or a bottle of the restaurant’s proprietary Yucatan Sauce through May 23, customers will receive an entry to a drawing for a custom YETI cooler filled with restaurant swag. Doc Ford’s Yucatan Shrimp shines in shrimp tacos, the Yucatan bloody Mary, Yucatan baked oysters and half- and one-pound Yucatan Shrimp entrees.

HM Restaurant Group owns and operates Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. 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, passion and signature Yucatan shrimp served daily, it’s highly regarded by locals and visitors alike as a spectacular seafood restaurant. A perennial Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice winner, the St. Petersburg 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.