The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 30 - May 9, 2012


Chill at Swordfish Grill

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

louise bolger | sun
Mark Bartlett is the general manager at Swordfish Grill,
which offers spectacular views of the waters around Cortez.

There's not too much old Florida left in old Florida, but you can still find pockets of authenticity that will remind you of the way it once was. Tucked away along the quiet waters of Sarasota Bay in the iconic fishing village of Cortez you'll find a new restaurant that will restore your faith in old Florida.

The Swordfish Grill is smack dab in the middle of a working fishing village, boat yard and fish houses, surrounded by the bay waters that are home to practically all of Florida's water birds. The location is colorful enough for the most jaded Floridian, even before you step inside.

Inside you'll find a large cozy nautical space with a dynamite water view, walls made of weathered dock planks, tables, large booths a tin ceiling and a bar. The inside opens out to the deck and tiki bar, where high tables hug the railing along the water overlooking available dock space for diners who want to come by boat.

Mark Bartlett, the general manager of Swordfish Grill for owner John Banyas, has worked hard since the restaurant's opening in December to create a casual restaurant where you can have a beer and an appetizer or a rib eye steak dinner and everything in between.

Except for the daily lunch and dinner specials the menu is the same all day giving diners the flexibility of grabbing something quick at the bar or on the deck or relaxing and enjoying some of the entrees.

Some of the menu choices are appetizers like peel and eat shrimp, ahi tuna and ceviche. There is a raw and not so raw bar including stone crab claws and clams and oysters prepared in a variety of ways. Shrimp, chicken and fish baskets with fries and cole slaw are popular, as well as sandwiches like grouper, mahi, fish tacos and the Too Good To Be A Burger burger.

Available entrees include crabmeat stuffed grouper, grilled swordfish and shrimp as well as crab cakes, a couple of choices of steak and chicken. Salads and dessert are also available and there is a full bar at both the inside bar and tiki deck bar with many specialty drinks.

Bartlett says he is always looking for ways to improve the menu while still keeping the affordable pricing with menu items starting at $8. He also tries to keep all of the food choices local, doesn't use any frozen fish and does all the preparation work in house.

And if the views and the food aren't enough to entice you to visit Swordfish Grill, there's always the entertainment. Six nights a week it has live entertainment, usually on the deck.

Bartlett has been in the restaurant business for 40 years, 20 of them in Florida, most recently in the Florida Keys. One of the reasons he was persuaded to give up his retirement plans and relocate to Cortez was the old Florida relaxed feel of the area. He says it's the closest thing to Key West he has seen outside of the Keys and probably even a little more old Florida than today's Key West.

Try making the turn off Cortez Road at 119th Street and step back into the Florida of old where you can kick back with a beer and watch the white pelicans of Cortez at the Swordfish Grill, the Key West of Florida's west coast.

Swordfish Grill

4528 119th St. W., Cortez

11 a.m. - 10 p.m., 7 days
All major credit cards accepted

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

David versus Goliath

Investment Corner

One of the conundrums for companies which manage mutual funds and the investors who invest in these funds is the issue of size. In the fund management business, size is all about the total dollar amount being managed by the manager or management team.

If there was ever an example of success leading to mediocrity, perhaps the mutual fund business is it, although some select managers have risen above the pack. Smaller funds with a smaller amount under management can be more nimble. They are able to move into and out of stocks, bonds or other vehicles without their trades impacting the market price as much as a very large fund. Larger funds generally have to start to hold more securities in the portfolio to help avoid this liquidity problem, which could translate into money being put into portfolio holding, which are not the managers favorite, but which they hope will do OK.

It's easy to see how successful smaller funds with great track records start to attract more investment dollars from investors desiring to participate in the gains they hope will continue. The fund management companies desire more investment dollars to manage because they earn their fees as a percentage of the assets under management (AUM).

But at some point their desire to earn fees can allow a fund to, perhaps, become too large and end up not being able to provide the out-performance shareholders came to expect from the fund. When performance suffers, shareholders may choose to take their money and move elsewhere, creating what is known as an outflow of funds.

So, if you buy a hot fund or a hot manager based on recent success, you should keep in mind that many other investors are likely to be doing the same thing, causing the funds AUM to increase and challenging the manager to keep up the great performance. If you buy a fund which falls into this category, I suggest monitoring the performance of the fund closely to make sure the performance and risk characteristics stay within parameters that are acceptable to you.

When funds grow to be very large relative to the size of the category of investments within which they invest, expecting them to outperform is probably unrealistic. Again, the need to diversify more due to very large levels of AUM forces the fund manager to buy more of the market and their performance and risk characteristics will start to look more like the market.

The funds I admire most are those which don't hesitate to close to new investors when the AUM grows to a level the management team believes will inhibit its ability to deliver good returns and appropriate risk control. You might wonder why I would bring your attention to funds which are closed or have closed in the past. Most funds which close do so after the segment of the market in which they invest has had good success. Of course, what comes around, goes around, and eventually, when their market segment has experienced a correction in price and the managers are finding plenty of bargains to buy, they will re-open their fund to new investors.

Keep in mind when a fund closes to new investors, the current investors have the right to put in more money. Buying a good fund when it re-opens from a closure will give you the right to continue to add to your position in the future.

Good luck and good investing


Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing. Visit


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