Vol 7 No. 9 - November 22, 2006

Dolphins delight diners at The City Pier

Dave Sork, general manager of The City Pier Restaurant, has been with the restaurant since the Anna Maria City Pier reopened in 2000.
By Louise Bolger
sun staff writer

More than a dozen years ago I visited Anna Maria Island for the first time, and like so many other tourists took a walk on the Anna Maria City Pier as the sun was going down. The setting sun cast a pink glow on the surface of the water, and as if on cue, a pair of dolphins glided by. It was one of those magical moments you keep with you always. All these years later, the dolphins are still playing in the bay waters surrounding the pier and pelicans are still diving for their dinner. You would think it couldn't get much better than that, but at The City Pier Restaurant, perched at the end of the pier, it has.

David Sork, the general manager of the restaurant, has been with the restaurant since the pier reopened for business in December 2000. Sork says the diverse menu offered at The restaurant has evolved right along with the changing demographics of the Island. This is especially reflected in the daily lunch and dinner specials which have taken on a gourmet flair.

They day Sork and I spoke, the specials were smoked salmon lasagna and potato leek soup, both homemade. You can also order ahi sesame tuna, grouper oscar, a variety of seafood pasta dishes, a portabello sandwich and croissant sandwiches with crab cake and seared tuna. But if you're craving a burger, peel and eat shrimp, steamer pots, baskets of fish and chips or popcorn shrimp, you won't be disappointed, these old favorites are on the menu as well.

The restaurant also has beer and wine and Carla's Key Lime Pie and Turtle Cheesecake for dessert. Since the restaurant supports the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, for each piece of cheesecake sold, it will donate 25 cents to Turtle Watch. And, to round out your dining experience, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you'll find Howie Banfield entertaining.

If you're more interested in catching fish than eating it, you can take advantage of the restaurant's blanket fishing permit to wet a line. Bait and tackle are available to purchase on the pier. Add a bucket of beer and fish to your heart's content with your only problem being the dolphins and pelicans challenging you for your catch.

After living in Florida for 25 years Sork says there aren't a lot of places left like the pier where you can come out with your fishing pole, take a stroll or have a great dinner.

He says, "It's a great place to be and you get to see dolphins every day."

So if you haven't been out to the pier recently, ride the Island trolley to the last stop and take a mini-vacation. Creating magical moments is what Anna Maria is all about.

The City Pier Restaurant
100 Bay Blvd., Anna Maria
11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday
11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Happy hour, Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.
Entertainment: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

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