Since Caddy’s at the Pointe took over the new Manatee River- front location in Bradenton on St. Patty’s Day where the former Tarpon Pointe resided, the word is spreading about this new and improved dining destination and the summer is sizzling with new specials.
I met with Caddy’s GM Nathan Greer and Marketing Manager David Culhane to sample the offerings and find out the latest scoop.
“We like families. We want people to know we’re a family-friendly destination,” Nathan said. One of the unique ideas he’s implemented is the “No Phone Zone.” If all parties place their cell phones in a basket and refrain from using them, the group gets 10% off their meal. A brilliant idea, as I have adult kids who are sometimes inclined to bring out the phones when conversation lags. This excellent communication-enhancing tool is one of many of Caddy’s family-friendly endeavors. A dog park underway; complimentary yoga and mimosa on Sunday morning; several outdoor games on the sandy beach next to the tiki bar (including volleyball, giant pong and corn hole); and live music seven nights a week (1 – 7:30 on Sunday) all serve up fun times for all ages.
One of 14 Caddy’s in the St Pete/Tampa Bay region, this restaurant is the furthest south in location and it has evolved over the years from its first pub to a focus on the family restaurant concept. As it sits on the most beautiful part of the Manatee River, due east of the Riverwalk, the sprawling, beach-like environment features a main dining area that is outdoors but completely protected from the winds and rains with plastic drop down awnings. Misters, fans and shade keep this area comfortable in the midst of this hot summer, and it’s truly a fun, casual spot for dining even during the rain. We had a torrential downpour when we arrived but by the time we had dinner, the sun had come out and the playing resumed on the beach where volley ball, corn hole and other games welcome kids of all ages to engage in some friendly competition.
The large Tiki Hut bar provides yet more seating on the river around the bar, at tables and at a leaning bar right on the water, the latter of which we chose to retreat after our delicious dinner, to watch the sunset, have an after dinner cocktail and play a fun game of corn hole. (Note: dress casually and wear appropriate footwear or go barefoot in the sand to play games). Happy hour runs 11-6 daily by the way, with $3 wells, domestic beer, wine and wings.
Other improvements to this locale – the kitchen has been remodeled to provide for faster service. “We had a six-minute cook time on July 4th when we were swamped,” Nathan said proudly.
Caddy’s smokes its own fish, chicken and pork and makes a mean fish spread as an appetizer. They also make all of their own sauces – and the salsa as well as the cajun aiolle sauce on the fish were my favorites. My guest and I indulged in the fish spread served with Captain’s crackers before we tackled the nachos served with black beans, choice of chicken or pork, cheese, jalapenos, homemade salsa (made from roasted tomatoes) and a sweet, tangy barbecue sauce. The nachos were not your usual – and delicious.
For our entrees – we had the grilled grouper sandwich, which also comes blackened or fried and it was served up on a generous bun with lettuce and tomato. We also had the fish tacos, which featured a generous portion of grouper mixed with tomato, small chunks of jalepeno and a nice texture-enhancing tad of cabbage instead lettuce. A side of black beans and tortilla chips with salsa accompanied the entrée. Yummy.
Desserts include key lime pie, chocolate peanut butter pie and cheesecake. We had the key lime (the best compliment to fish) and it was creamy and topped with meringue.
A kids menu, beertails (cocktails made with beer), specialty drinks, a wide assortment of starters and a nice selection of entrees are featured on the Caddy’s menu. Red snapper (with the head on for you adventurous types), grouper, shrimp, chicken tenders, a seafood basket, fish tacos, and Dayboat Catch range from $12.95 to market price. Sandwiches include hand-made burgers, pulled pork, a grouper Reuben, clubhouse and grouper sandwich range from $10.95 – $14.95. Finally, mozzeralla fingers, calamari, jalepeno poppers, shrimp and nachos, and the fabulous fish spread are featured starters ranging from $8 – $10.95 and everything has ample portions.
It Takes a Village
Another important fact about Caddy’s – it supports the community in a big way. Each smoked fish appetizer purchased ensures $1 goes to All Children’s Hospital. A last Saturday of the month pet adoption from 12 – 3 supports our local Humane Society. Manatee Memorial hospital staff gets 20% off. And the staff is also working with Manatee County’s Police Athletic League (PAL) to support funding for football scholarships. “Nathan is great at what he does for us,” Culhane said. “We at Caddy’s believe in giving back.”
Take a boat ride to Marker 24 on the Manatee River. One dock is available. If you stop at the Caddy’s mooring, and give them a call on Channel 71, they’ll even come out and get you on their dinghy and bring you back! Another boat dock is in the planning stages. Or if arriving by land, you’ll find Caddy’s tucked away off SR 64 at the end of 6th St. E with a physical address of 801 Riverside Drive, Bradenton. For more information, visit the website at www.caddysatthepointe.com or call 941-708-3777.
Photos: Patti Pearson and courtesy of Caddy’s