One of the many things I love about visiting Cedar Key, Florida is the opportunity to enjoy “mom and pop” restaurants. This island rests in the Gulf of Mexico, however the waters that hug its shores are not the typical turquoise hue. This is because the Suwannee River slivers through the South and finds its final destination in the Gulf.
Just a twenty – thirty minute drive from this historic, laid-back island is a charming little establishment named Treasure Camp on the Suwannee River. The storied shores of the Suwannee are known to have been visited by pirates. Hundreds of years ago pirates’ plunder could be found along this Southern waterway. Now it is a favorite playground of Southern residents and visitors. You can find info about Treasure Camp and the Fowlers Bluff area here. There are cabins for rent, but personally I would recommend staying the night or two in Cedar Key and driving to Treasure Camp for lunch. Which is exactly what we did this past Saturday.
You won’t find anything over the top or fancy here. What you will find is the freshest seafood around, a friendly staff, and a priceless view of the river. The dining area is accessed by passing through the small general store and out to the large screened in dining room. There are plenty of seafood options from which to choose including fried shrimp, fresh grouper, mullet, and crab cakes. There are also classic hamburgers, salads, and sandwiches. They offer a wide selection of beers that are priced real nice and are a perfect way to relax on a hot summer day.
As a group of five we each found something to suit our fancy. One of us even ordered the Saturday fish fry, all you can eat catfish, flounder, and mullet. I tell ‘ya, if I was not working on shaving off a few more pounds I would have indulged. While the kitchen prepared our orders, I stepped out the back door and enjoyed being on the river. Treasure Camp also rents out canoes, pontoons, and other watercraft. One day I would love to do so. My stepson soon joined me out on the dock and we then were joined by a Summer sun shower.
After getting a lil’ wet, we headed back into the screened in porch. We sipped our drinks, enjoyed the view, and chatted away. Fun little signs about pirates and fishing shared wall space with country antiques. Our fellow diners consisted of families, fishermen, and a few couples.
Soon our table was full of treasure: grilled scallops, blackened mahi mahi, a big, fat juicy hamburger, and four kinds of fish all freshly fried. My stepson order grilled scallops (pictured right) and said, “these are the best scallops I have ever had!” Not a single one was left on his plate when all was said and done.
Somehow our table found room for dessert, I can’t blame them. There were only three choices, but when you do something right it’s about quality not quantity. I resisted the peanut butter pie, but the rest of the gang could not say no to homemade brownie sundaes and warm apple pie a la mode. And so, I indulged in a few spoonfuls of each. Oh my! This is why I love eating in this part of Florida. Everything is homemade and made with love. After feeling the heavenly sensation of being full, I went outside to take a few more pictures….. enjoy!
You may have noticed something about the river…. well besides how beautiful it is, there are many ways to spell it. Although spellcheck would have you believe it is Suwanee, all maps and signs spell it Suwannee. Either way, just got out there and get on that river!
- A Salty Saturday at Cedar Key (thisfloridalife.com)