By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- Nestled on Fisherman's Wharf, between bait shops and boat docks, lays one of Sunrise City's diamonds in the rough.
When my dining companion and I met at Buckshot Bay on the Hard for lunch, I knew we were in for a treat. The airy dining area, complete with a bar, a spot for cornhole, a stage for live music and wooden tables and benches, is the epitome of what a sleepy town known for hot fishing spots is all about.
It's hard not to notice the salty characteristics that make Buckshot's one of a kind. Besides the nautical-themed motif and the sea breeze that made its way throughout the restaurant, the menu's entertaining choices put smiles on our faces.
Right away, we were told about daily specials and the spot's wide assortment of craft beers. Beers on tap, as well as a wide variety of bottled brews, were available upon request.
From the killer conch fritters, to the Cu-B-Q, a pulled pork Cuban sandwich, to the vast array of seafood choices and many different types of hamburgers and sandwiches, we had to ask for help with our selections.
"The Gyro and Cubans are some of best sellers," said Ginger McNamara, our server for the day. "We make all our own sauces and use special seasonings. The Tzatziki sauce that we use on our Gyros is really incredible."
We mulled over the appetizers, finding it hard to decide between the Buckshot Hots, their homemade salsa and chips, or gator bites. We decided to try the parmesan and garlic gator bites, and were glad we did. They were deep fried to perfection and topped with just the right amount of garlic. They were served with drawn butter and lemon, which added a great flavor to the local delicacy.
For lunch, my guest decided to try the Gyro, made with grilled lamb, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and their homemade Tzatziki sauce. The dish was served with tater tots, which are fried with Buckshot's special seasoning. The sandwich looked incredible and hit the spot with all of its delicious flavors.
Because Michelle Sigmon is a friend of mine, I decided to try her namesake, the "I walk like Michelle Sigmon," sandwich.
I asked her the origin of the sandwich.
"When Buckshot Bay started booking The Humdingers regularly, my friends and I started spending our Sundays there," Ms. Sigmon said. "One day, Reuben Dye, lead singer of local favorites, The Humdingers, ordered a BLT and Barbara Goad, Buckshot Bay's owner, suggested he try it with a fried green tomato. She served it up and I saw it, began salivating and asked her to make me one. With some alterations, we came up with: fried green tomatoes, grilled onions and mushrooms, provolone cheese and their secret horseradish sauce blend on toasted wheat bread and a side of crispy tots with their secret spices. The result was delicious and has been a favorite of a few of my friends. I have had my birthday celebration there for the past few years and I am a regular customer, so I reckon that warranted the sandwich naming after me."
Ms. Sigmon was absolutely right. The sandwich was incredible, and although I chose fried okra as my side dish, the same fantastic combination was achieved.
At this point of our lunch, my guest and I were full and didn't think we'd have room for dessert. However, our waitress insisted we not leave without trying the coconut cream cake. My companion and I shared a large piece of the moist yellow cake that was delightfully covered in a delicious coconut cream with coconut shavings. It was the perfect end to a great meal.
Because Buckshot Bay is a popular haunt for locals on sunny afternoons and for night owls who like late nights and live music, we'll make sure we visit again.
The friendly staff, hometown crowd and all-around great feeling you have when you're there are more than enough reason to become regulars at Buckshot's. Maybe they'll even name a sandwich after me...
Buckshot Bay on the Hard serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. They are located at 109 Fisherman's Wharf in Fort Pierce.
For more information, call (772) 979-2480.