Just off Island Inn Road across from Bailey’s Shopping Center. If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you! A trip to Sanibel isn’t complete without lunch or dinner with us at Doc Ford’s!
This beautiful new restaurant’s namesake, the fictional Doc Ford, was conceived in desperation just down the road at Tarpon Bay Marina where the owner, Mack, employed a small quirky cast of characters, one of whom wanted to be a writer.
That was 30-years and 3,000 charters ago, near the end of my career as a fishing guide. Thank karma, or fate, or blind blessed luck, but I love the symmetry suggested by Doc’s return to Tarpon Bay Road. The symmetry didn’t seem so blessed at the time.
In 1988, the federal government informed our little marina family that the bay would soon close to powerboat traffic. We fishing guides were out of a job. Aside from a license to drive big boats, I wasn’t qualified to do anything useful, but I did own a typewriter.
Eighteen months later, my first novel, Sanibel Flats, was published. It introduced a few (very few) readers to marine biologist Doc (Marion D.) Ford, and his unrepentant hipster pal, Tomlinson. They were hard core tropic travels; decent men with senses of humor, each devoted, in his way, to the obligations of friendship, family and their respective moral compass.
Both attracted trouble. Both men lived secret lives.
Sanibel Flats did nothing to threaten their anonymity — sales were minuscule. National reviews, however, were enthusiastic, so I continued to chronicle the adventures of Doc, Tomlinson, and my marina pals, all of whom orbited freely around a semi-fictional “Dinkins Bay.”
Now, twenty-four novels later, it is an honor, and just plain fun, to return as a member of the Doc Ford’s restaurant family — and we are a family, top to bottom, same as the same quirky, excellence-driven characters who populate my novels.
By virtue of being here, you are a member, too. My partners, Marty and Brenda Harrity, and Mark Marinello, would agree, and here’s why: these islands have a gift for attracting people of kindred sensibilities. Some are famous, most are not, and it doesn’t matter. You are here. These islands have chosen you. Why argue?
— Randy Wayne White
Facility Amenities: Parking, Patio
Cuisine Served: Seafood
Dining Type: Casual Dining
Meals Served: Dinner, Lunch
Restaurant Features: Full Bar
Restaurant Type: Sports Bar