Caribbean flair at Banana Cabana
Louise Bolger | Sun
P.J., Chris and Sheryl Smargisso are celebrating their
one-year anniversary at Banana Cabana
There are over 7,000 islands in the Caribbean, and they all have that special relaxed let’s-just-hang- out attitude. Anna Maria Island has its own version of the Caribbean style in thriving Bradenton Beach, within walking distance of everything.
When Chris and Sheryl Smargisso started vacationing in Anna Maria more than 10 years ago from New Jersey, they knew it wouldn’t be long before the Island lifestyle became a permanent part of their lives. Last year, they made it official, deciding to live full time in their vacation home and open a business with their son, P.J. Smargisso.
Since P.J. was already working as a chef on Anna Maria and had six years of experience in New Jersey the natural business was for them to buy a restaurant that the whole family could be involved in. When Banana Cabana became available they couldn’t resist the combination of Caribbean flair and great sunsets from the beach view across Gulf Drive.
This month they will be celebrating their one-year anniversary as owners of Banana Cabana, as well as the one-year anniversary of reinventing themselves.
Banana Cabana has had some significant changes since the Smargisso’s have been owners while still keeping the Caribbean feel that everyone loves. The inside has been updated with artwork on the walls by local artists, painted chairs, the addition of 3 TVs and free WiFi, and most important of all, a new menu and bar choices.
The appetizer choices alone will make you long for the Caribbean Sea with conch fritters, shrimp and grits, yellowfin tuna and the newest addition of Gator Swamp chili. Entrees include crab cakes, macadamia nut encrusted grouper, ribs, curry and paella. They also boast the only place on the Island that has alligator ribs and tacos. There are salads and sandwiches including burgers, grouper, jerk chicken and daily specials. Also, there is a separate lunch menu with many of the same items that are on the dinner menu, a children’s menu and desserts like fried banana macadamia.
Banana Cabana offers beer, wine and specialty drinks featuring six beers on draft and 24 varieties in bottles. Happy hour is every day from noon to 6 p.m. with $2.50 drinks and beer, $1 hot dogs and $5 burgers, and between 3 and 6 p.m. you can get 50 cent wings.
Banana Cabana has entertainment four days a week, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with open mic on Sunday afternoons and local artists coming in with their easels and brushes. They are happy to host private parties and have catering and take out available. Watch for their wing eating contest at the end of January.
New Year’s Eve will be special at Banana Cabana where you will have a bird’s eye view of the fireworks and enjoy music by Doug Bidwell. There will be a special menu and reservations are a must. Don’t forget that the Island trolley stops right in front, so getting there is never a problem.
Chris, Sheryl and P.J. Smargisso want their Banana Cabana to be a local hang out and invite people to come in and stay as long as they want. Banana Cabana has Caribbean style and island attitude in convenient Bradenton Beach. Make it your neighborhood favorite.
BANANA CABANA CARIBBEAN BAR & GRILL103 Gulf Drive
941-779-1930 Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday: Noon to 9 p.m.
Monday: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday:
Noon to 11 p.m. All major credit cards accepted www.bananacabanaseafood.com