SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
Star Fish Co. is a slice of old Florida in the historic
fishing village of Cortez.
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
It starts when you hear the squeaky screen door slam,
a signal that youre in another era, a place where
its time to slow down and smell the shrimp boiling.
At the Star Fish Co. seafood market and dockside restaurant,
you can have a fresh-caught seafood lunch while watching
the commercial fishermen who caught it work on the dock
alongside hungry herons, egrets and pelicans.
Come by boat and tie up at the dock, or sightsee by car
through the historic fishing village of Cortez, which
ends where it began a century ago, at the working waterfront
on Sarasota Bay.
Star Fish Co., which has the distinctive address of P.O.
Box 1 in Cortez, was founded as a commercial fish company
in the early 1920s by Cortezian Judge Millis, who sold
the business to Gaylord Garner in the 1950s. A retail
market was added in the 1960s. His son, Allen Garner,
took over in the late 1980s, and sold the business in
1996 to Karen Bell.
Bell added the outdoor dockside dining room, which overlooks
a historic net camp building preserved just offshore on
stilts, a bird nesting island, Bradenton Beach and Jewfish
Charter boat operators are based at the dock, where theres
always something to see a traditional wooden sailboat
built at the Florida Maritime Museum sailing on the bay,
a flock of white pelicans diving for supper or a fresh
mullet catch being offloaded at A.P. Bell Fish Co. next
Besides mullet, which Bell says is excellent this time
of year, theres pompano, grouper, Florida oysters,
local Gulf pink shrimp, blue crabs, and, beginning this
week, stone crab.
Served on the dock of the bay, its enough to make
you believe that old Florida still exists.
Star Fish Co.
12306 46th Ave. W. Cortez
Restaurant: Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
Sunday, Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Retail store: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.