Fort Myers’ locals know that the best place to buy fresh fish is at the old shrimp docks on Fisherman’s Wharf, San Carlos Island. It follows that the best place to find excellent seafood dining is also in that locality, and that’s where you’ll find the Dixie Fish Co.
Under new management, and recently adopted into the Doc Ford’s family, (Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille is right next door), this open-sided tin-roofed restaurant is right on the waterfront, overlooking Matanzas Pass. Built in 1937, the charming cream-and-black Old Florida warehouse was originally a fish market. It operated as a wholesale Fish House for almost half a century under the Guthrie family, witnessing many changes as Fort Myers Beach transformed itself from shrimp-boat outpost into a top beach resort.
You can enjoy watching a steady stream of sailing boats, fishing vessels and even the Key West Express coming and going along this sheltered waterfront as you sip a cold beer, browse the menu, and listen to live music.
Live Entertainment at the Dixie Fish Co
No visit to Dixie Fish Co would be complete without some foot-tapping music. The restaurant publishes a Band Schedule of live music for daily entertainment in peak season. Thursday evenings are the regular spot of Left of Center, from 6 p.m., while Friday evenings you will be in good hands with Mark Wesley and his guitar. Other local acts include Rockin’ Jake, Lou Canoe, Steve Hanlon and others.
Fresh Fish, Seafood and More
Fresh fish and local seafood comes in many forms on the mouthwatering menu at Dixie Fish Co. Appetizers big enough to share include more-ish smoked fish dip, crispy grouper bites and calamari fries. Carnivores can tackle a serving of wings while vegetarians are well catered for with fried green tomatoes of Chef Greg’s homemade chips.
Seafood and salads focus on the local “fruit of the seas” such as crab, scallops and shrimp on a bed of mixed greens in a seafood salad. Alternatively, you can add fried oysters or shrimp to the Dixie Garden Salad if the clam chowder doesn’t catch your eye.
Sandwiches include catch of the day in a ciabatta roll, cooked to your preference (coconut crusted, blackened, seared or cornmeal fried) with a zesty pineapple tartar in place of the usual mayo. More ambitious diners may prefer the crab sliders with remoulade sauce and slaw or the BLTAE with a difference!
Of course, there’s always the regular staples such as fried oysters, grouper, peel-and-eat shrimp, fish tacos, spicy seafood boil or a dreamy creamy seafood pot pie. The only dessert you need consider is the restaurant’s renowned Key Lime Pie which gets a huge thumbs up.
With something for every palate and pocket book, Dixie Fish Co looks well set to face the next half-century or so.