When John Ritter thinks back to 1948, he can almost taste the frozen treats he churned out during his after-school job at the local ice-cream parlor. Now, after a 35-year career as a film animator, he helps others to enjoy similarly sweet memories at Ritter's Frozen Custard. Here, friendly staffers handcraft each batch of frozen custard, an ultrapremium ice cream as smooth as a jazz record dipped in chocolate. At the counter, guests can sample the flavors of the day, which range from tart blueberry to gooey, crunchy mocha-almond fudge. Scoops of classic vanilla—along with more than 25 toppings—fill specialty creations such as brownie sundaes, hand-dipped malts, and freezer-ready ice-cream sandwiches.
“Fisherman Charley,” a wooden fisherman statue in a yellow rain slicker and hat, stands guard in front of Charley’s Boathouse Grill, where chefs have prepared steaks and seafood for more than four decades. The kitchen wet-ages Angus beef for four to six weeks before hand-cutting each steak, which is measured by ounces and seared to taste. Seafood such as locally caught grouper also fills the menu alongside snow crabs, teriyaki chicken breasts, and house-baked breads.
For special events, patrons sup on some of the most popular menu items inside a converted boathouse. Up to 70 people can also gather at the “hideaway,” which has back-bay views of Estero Bay, making it perfect for actually seeing the harbor seals you dressed in tuxedos.
No one's ever told the hibachi chefs at Kumo Japanese Steak House & Sushi not to play with their food, and that's a good thing. As diners cluster around the hot grill at the center of their tables, the chefs put on a show, flipping morsels of meat and seafood into the air and onto plates with the same kind of dexterity a surgeon demonstrates while playing Operation. The sushi chefs are equally skilled, turning out beautiful rolls inspired by freshly caught local fish. Diners enjoy these dishes at tables made from glistening granite and set atop glittering floor tiles and beneath modern, geometric lights.
Situated along shorelines in Tampa, Naples, and Key West, Florida Marina Club keeps watercraft ready to crest the waves with docking services, fuel docks, and ship repairs. The marinas’ terra firma amenities match the refinement of their seaside offerings. Restaurants and bars home in on local flavors and international atmospheres, from the Cuban and Caribbean recipes at The Club at Key West Harbour to the weekend pool parties at Tampa’s Hula Bay Club. When not dining or enjoying drinks at Jack's River Bar or Gordon's On The River, members can sweat away cares in saunas, glide through heated infinity pools, or sketch the design for a hypothetical seventh chess piece in restive clubhouses.
When a restaurant's award tally ticks close to 100, there's no need to change the menu. That's the philosophy at work at Michelbob's Championship Ribs, where co-owners Lou Bavaro and Bob Mattson have been serving baby back ribs imported from Denmark and slathered in award-winning original-recipe barbecue sauce since 1979. All of their meats?which also include barbecue chicken, pork, and beef?are slow-smoked to a tender perfection each day and served alongside sides such as baked beans, cole slaw, and onion rings, which are all also made fresh daily. Most recently, their victuals won the Naples Daily News award for Best Food in Southwest Florida. They also ship their sauce and ribs anywhere in the United States via overnight air shipping, catering to the legions of fans and long-haul bike messengers who crave their delectable barbecue brand.