In 2016, Don and I were heading north in Florida, along the Atlantc coast. It was lunchtime. This place didn't look very inviting, but we had heard about the seafood shack. It was featured on Food Network's, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. So why not?
Trash or Treasures
As we headed towards the door, we saw a cat and quite a collection of weathered boat related goodies. It was hard to tell if these were discarded items or decoration.
The porch also held a lot of clutter, but a Budweiser sign seemed to be welcoming us.
The first thing we spotted inside, was a gigantic built in tub of ice, holding all the fresh seafood.
Above the tub, was a shark on the wall, with a bottle in his mouth. All very festive.
Tables and Benches
The warped tables and benches made me feel like I was at summer camp.
The tables began to fill, soon after we arrived. The larger tables invited strangers to dine together, which encouraged a community feel... which was helpful at one point.
I had noticed a white haired woman earlier. She looked like she was from another era and I imagined her heading off to her square dancing club after lunch. All eyes turned to her table at one moment when her tipsy bench sent her tumbling backward onto the floor. Before I had a moment to gasp, a number of men dressed in camo jumped up and rushed over to assist. She was actually fine, but I'm guessing she wasn't up for square dancing after that.
Founder, Ray Singleton was featured in many news clippings and photos. He and his wife Ann, opened the tiny shack in 1969 to serve breakfast to fishermen. Ray is no longer with us, but his son Dean is carrying on the tradition.
Ray's wife Ann, is evidently responsible for the pig artwork.
Florescent lights gave a special glow to the collections of old bottles and cameras and toy vehicles on an upper shelf. There was lots to look at.
The Shack kept things simple with Styrofoam plates. Don's Mahi Mahi was quite good, even with plastic cutlery. I ordered the New England Clam Chowder, but should have ordered the Minorcan Clam Chowder. I didn't read up on my history earlier, or I would have known about the Minorcan colony in the area. Dean Singleton claims to be 10th generation Minorcan.
Dining with a View
The outside deck wasn't open, but it had a nice view of the St. John's River and ships carrying cargo.
The most memorable part of our oddball dining experience, was the free of charge, attached "museum" that held over 100 large carved boats. Ray Singleton evidently was the creator of these ships years ago. There were many signs reminding us not to touch. There were also signs telling us the boats were not for sale. The good news is, these boats did not float away last fall when Hurricane Matthew did some damage to Singleton's Seafood Shack!
A Better View
After a museum visit, we wandered around back and found a better view of the restaurant. The dock and boats were much more appealing than the unpainted front.
I guess we'll just plan to arrive by boat, next time!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.