Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille reopening on Sanibel after post-Ian repairs

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

On Friday afternoon, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille will reopen on Sanibel Island, making good on the owners’ promise that the restaurant would be back.

One of the owners, Joe Harrity, says the staff pitched in together to get this done, everyone doing jobs outside their comfort zones. Some of their guys in the kitchen suddenly became carpenters, people learned all manner of different skills, and all that hard work is finally paying off.

The Sanibel location of Doc Ford’s, located at 2500 Island Inn Road, is a staple in the community. After nearly 5 1/2 months, the stoves will fire up and the drinks will flow. Harrity says Hurricane Ian has been tough for many people, but he is happy that Doc Ford’s can be one more place where people on the island can reunite.

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce says Doc Ford’s is one of more than 50 businesses that locals and visitors can visit again post-Ian. Harrity also owns Dixie Fish Company on Fort Myers Beach, which reopens at the end of next week. He couldn’t be happier to see Doc Ford’s ready to welcome guests again.

“We opened up in 2003 at a separate location on Sanibel, but we’ve been a staple in the community for years now,” Harrity said. “It’s so important to us that we do get back to that sense of community on the island, and, you know, like I said, become a place that people can enjoy themselves again and kind of put this storm behind us, and somewhat get back to normal here before too long.”

Hurricane Ian poured 6 to 8 inches of water into Doc Ford’s on Sanibel. What does the future hold for the restaurant’s locations on Fort Myers Beach and Captiva? Harrity says the Fort Myers Beach location won’t be ready to open for another couple of months. The Captiva location, unfortunately, is closed permanently.

“I’m just excited to see people back at Doc Ford’s, and friendly faces, and people from up north, people from here, and just… the camaraderie, and the community coming together, and finally take a bit of a breath,” Harrity said. “So, it’s really exciting.”

The doors open at 4 p.m. The restaurant’s full menu will be available.

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