By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA – Jars of a greenish-yellow sauce with green specks in it sit in a display at the Pine Avenue General Store at 307 Pine Ave., Anna Maria. The label says it is Crabber Tom’s T&D Sauce, and for those who enjoyed a grouper sandwich at Tom Garbacz’s Crabber Tom’s restaurant in Holmes Beach, it is a fond memory of a tasty delight.
When Garbacz opened his restaurant in June 2005, he introduced a sauce that caught everyone by surprise. Its mustard color defines its taste and many found it to be the perfect dipping sauce or topping for almost anything on the menu.
The taste is not spicy, although many dipped their shrimp in it. It was a favorite of those who ordered the grouper, although some dipped their French fries in it.
"When my customers tasted it in the restaurant, everybody said, ‘You’ve got to market it,’" he said. "It goes well with shrimp, chicken wings – it’s especially good with hot dogs."
Garbacz said the sauce has nothing to do with red sauces that are hot. He said it is a form of tartar sauce.
"There are no variations of tartar sauce on the market," he said. "When you taste it, you get a full range of flavors that enhance whatever you’re eating with it."
Garbacz said it took him two years to get all the required testing to make and market the sauce. He said he has been making and packaging it in the kitchen of an Island restaurant and the Pine Avenue General Store agreed to sell it, but he has bigger plans.
He is on a Web site for inventors and is hoping a marketer sees his product and agrees to promote it. The Web site is http://www.invetionhome.com and the guest user ID is Aguest3291. The password is TH32916. Go to Admin Login to get to his site.
This 30-year veteran local commercial fisherman said he’s working on increasing production so that he can meet demand when he finds a marketer.
"In two months, a factory in St. Petersburg will begin manufacturing and packaging it," he said. "I have a lot of time and money invested in this, and I would like to see it become a success, although I get the most satisfaction from knowing people enjoy the taste."
Until his product hits the big time, Garbacz will continue to distribute it. If you need to have it shipped, call him at (941) 518-8727 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Garbacz said he hopes the sauce gets a good reputation from the locals on the Island and he feels that the Fourth of July holiday is a good time to try it.
"If you’re planning a picnic and you don’t have this sauce," he warned, "you’ll be missing out."