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'We feel at home here': Doc Ford's on Sanibel reopens

Posted at 9:44 PM, Feb 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 14:30:11-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — A symbol of Sanibel recovering today, as Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille reopened for the first time since Ian.

"The real success here, I think, is how our people really rallied around and came together," said owner Marty Harrity.

Customers filled up the dining room at today's reopening. A dining room that just a few months ago was filled with nearly a foot of flood water.

Harrity said he was in awe of the turnout, but not surprised.

"We're about people having a great experience, like coming into their home," Harrity said.

A feeling that customer Fran Peters is familiar with.

"We feel at home here and we know that Marty will greet us when we come in," Peters said.

Peters is a regular at Doc Ford's; so much so that she has her own spot at table 42. She said being back was the perfect way to celebrate her birthday.

The damage at the Sanibel location was minimal compared to that of the iconic Fort Myers Beach location.

"Over on the beach we had 22 feet of water, in here we had less than a foot of water," Harrity said. "Just to play it safe, the mold and stuff, just take it out, take it down to the bones and we'll replace everything.

Fox 4 hearing today that Doc Ford's on Fort Myers Beach could reopen as early as this summer.

The company's other restaurant, Dixie Fish Company, opening next week.

"We're a little rough around the edges right now, but we will be back," Harrity said. "And we'll be back better, stronger, and prettier than ever before."