Peace River Seafood and Market
“If we can’t catch it we don’t have it,” Larry Corbin responded when I asked him about Peace River Seafood and Market. Larry is the restaurant manager and noticed my check-in on Facebook and asked me what Palate Passions was. Let me back up a bit…
My parents have a winter home in Florida. I have passed Peace River Seafood and Market many times. I have wanted to spend more time checking this place out. I had the opportunity on this recent visit. It’s a quaint little place off Highway 17 near Florida Interstate 75. There isn’t much on this road as you drive away from the interstate. The farther you drive the less you see but Peace River is a brightly colored building on the North side of the road. The nautical themed building attracts you with the sign often advertising fresh Blue Crabs.
James Beaull catches the fish and his wife Kelly is in charge of the wholesale part of the business. They wholesale all over the state of Florida and even up to Maryland where blue crabs are popular. They have been around for 14 years as of my visit in January. It happened to be the weekend for their annual luau. During this event they offer a seafood buffet and live entertainment and plenty of cold beverages. I seriously hope I’m in town for the next anniversary luau. It looks like a lot of fun.
Larry explained that blue crabs are a hybrid of salt water and fresh water crabs. This makes them quite unique because they can stay fresh longer out of water. It also makes them very popular with folks that are visiting the area from Maryland. Folks from Maryland love their crabs steamed not boiled and that is how it is done here. Larry says that it’s common for folks living in the Tampa area and Naples area (originally from Maryland) to meet up at Peace River for the blue crabs.
Everything is fresh on Tuesday when they open. Sundays and Mondays, they are closed to give the staff time to rest. Many of the staff pull double duty doing more than one job at Peace River. They are busier at the beginning of the week when everything is freshest. The Peace River Gator Gumbo is a favorite and was featured in a Florida cookbook called the “Good Catch”.
Peace River started out as a fish market and evolved as customers requested their purchases be cooked on site. There is actually more outside seating than inside seating. You can still buy fresh fish from the market and cook it yourself.
I love the parrot on the front porch and the stray cat they named Bonquiqui which wanders around the building. What fish market doesn’t need a cat? Seating stops at 7:30 so get there early. The philosophy here is that they want to run out by the end of the week. They don’t want anything left. But if there is, it gets used in other dishes. The day I stopped in I only ordered the She Crab soup and a Corona. Yes, I would get that again.
Check them out if you’re in the area! It will be worth it.
5337 Duncan Road
Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Peace River Seafood and Market
Tue-Sat: 11:00am to 7:30pm