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The History Of the Shrimp Dock Bar & Grill

The history of shrimping in Fort Myers goes back to the first inhabitants to call Southwest Florida home, the Calusa Indians. The Calusas inhabited many of the coastal islands of the region where the abundant sea life was a staple of their diet, as evidenced by the massive shell mounds left behind from their discarded conch, oyster, clam and scallop shells. The original American homesteaders arrived in the early 1800’s. Back in those days, there was only one family each on Estero Island, Black Island, Mound Key and Dog Key. Due to the year round growing season and abundant marine life on which to feast, homesteaders continued moving to the area. In those days, White and Brown Shrimp were discovered in the waters off Sanibel and Estero Islands. Then by chance in 1950, “Pink Gold” was discovered. Legend has it that a local shrimp boat was having trouble with their nets. They pulled up the nets to work on them and day started slipping into night. Shortly after sunset, they dropped the nets back in the water to test them. When they pulled them up, the nets were full of Pink Shrimp (as Pink Shrimp are nocturnal and come close to the surface at night to feed). So began the boom of the Florida Shrimping Fleet. Since then, Florida Pink Shrimp have become famous as a culinary delicacy around the globe, with Fort Myers being one of, if not the largest shrimp ports in the world. The Original Shrimp Dock building was erected in 1959 as the Island Packing Company and was one of the first modern shrimp warehouses in Fort Myers Beach. As you enjoy our restaurant, you can see many historical pictures and maps of the island, the shrimping fleet and the Island packing Company. The Island packing Company operated until 1999, when it was purchased by Salty Sam’s. Since then, the property has become a multi-venue  destination with 2 restaurants, a full service marina and  numerous cruise vessels offering entertainment, sightseeing and wildlife explorations.

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