Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille opened a second home in St. Petersburg, but this time on the west side of the city. On the opening day of Dec. 9, I scoped out the new Jungle Terrace location.
Doc Ford is a fictional character who exists in the mind and mystery novels of novelist Randy Wayne White. Dr. Marion Ford is a marine biologist who resides on the west coast of Florida.
The restaurant brings to life the beloved characteristics of the character. As a marine biologist, Doc Ford has a strong love for the saltwater, but he also enjoys baseball and history.
This Jungle Terrace location faces Boca Ciega Bay. I made my way to the “first come, first serve” seats along the railing of the upper deck so I could get a good look of its waterfront view. I definitely suggest sitting anywhere that faces the water. The sun felt great as I sat and watched boaters drift through the water.
This location also has patio seating where customers can still see the beautiful view of the bay, but also allows them to not stray too far from the bar full of flat screen TVs constantly playing sports channels. Other than the railing seats, the hosts can seat customers inside and outside anywhere they’d like. The place is absolutely ginormous.
There’s even a dock for anyone traveling by boat to tie up on. The dock is long and leads right to the stairway of the upper deck of the restaurant.
I wanted to try anything that was special to Doc Ford’s, so I ordered the Doc Ford’s Hammerhead Wit, which was very light and citrusy. I also ordered Doc’s Beach Bread for an appetizer. The baked French bread topped with various cheeses and diced tomatoes was filling. I also ordered their tropical salad, which included fresh greens, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, mandarin oranges, sun-dried cherries, and pecans also tossed in their “secret” balsamic vinaigrette, and on top were some skinny (but crispy) onion rings.
I’m not super fond of seafood, but everyone around me had either a grouper sandwich or shrimp as their main dish.
What’s cool about this restaurant is how it’s not only named after a character, but many of the dishes are based on the characters.
They had advertisements for their signature Yucatán shrimp dish on every table. The menu credits this signature dish to Doc Ford’s buddy, Tomlinson. The menu explains that “Tomlinson traveled to the Bay of Ascension, Quintana Roo, Mexico to fish for bonefish and came back with this great recipe.”
The service was quick, the views were phenomenal, and my meal was delicious. The representation of the characters in the menu is a cool touch to this Floridian restaurant.
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille 8790 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Pete, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.,727-290-9578, docfords.com