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Still No French Fries at Duffy’s Tavern in Holmes Beach, FL

| Suncoast Post Staff |

Duffy’s Tavern is a charming and beloved restaurant located in Holmes Beach, Florida, known for its delicious hamburgers and unique history. Founded in 1958 by four sisters, the restaurant has been a staple in the community for over six decades.

The four sisters, Pat Geyer, Mary McCauley, Betty Schoeneman, and Peggy Moore, were originally from Ohio and moved to Florida in the 1940s. They worked various jobs before deciding to open their own restaurant. They named it Duffy’s Tavern after the popular radio show of the same name, which aired in the 1940s and 1950s.

From the beginning, Duffy’s Tavern was a hit with locals and tourists alike. The sisters created a welcoming atmosphere that made everyone feel at home. They were known for their friendly personalities and their willingness to chat with customers.

No Fries

One of the things that makes Duffy’s Tavern stand out is their hamburgers. They are made with fresh, never frozen, ground beef and cooked to order. The burgers are served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. Customers can add cheese, bacon, or mushrooms for an additional charge. The burgers are juicy and flavorful, and many people consider them the best in town.

Despite their popularity, Duffy’s Tavern does not serve French fries. Instead, they offer a choice of potato chips or coleslaw as a side dish. This may seem unusual to some, but it has become part of the restaurant’s charm. Customers appreciate the unique menu and the fact that the sisters do not follow the trends of other restaurants.

Over the years, Duffy’s Tavern has become a local landmark. The walls are adorned with photos and memorabilia from the restaurant’s history, including pictures of the four sisters and famous visitors, such as Jimmy Buffett and Jerry Springer. The restaurant has been featured in several publications, including Southern Living, The Suncoast Post, Bradenton Herald Tribune, and Coastal Living.

The four sisters have since passed away, but their legacy lives on through the restaurant. Their children and grandchildren continue to run Duffy’s Tavern, and they have maintained the same welcoming atmosphere and high-quality food that the sisters were known for. Customers still feel like they are visiting the sisters’ home when they dine at Duffy’s Tavern.  Today, Polly, Peggy, Pamela, and Penni are the family members in charge.  They are well known legends in Holmes Beach!

Duffy’s Tavern is a unique and beloved restaurant in Holmes Beach, Florida, with a rich history and delicious food. The four sisters who founded the restaurant created a welcoming atmosphere that has made it a popular destination for over six decades. Their hamburgers are considered the best in town, and the fact that they do not serve French fries has become part of the restaurant’s charm. Duffy’s Tavern is a testament to the enduring legacy of the four sisters and their dedication to providing excellent food and hospitality.

From the Duffy’s Facebook page:  There’s nothing better than a burger after a day on the water—but are you a Duffy’s or Skinny’s fan?

History of Duffy's

Duffy’s Tavern, pictured here, was built in 1954 across from the new Manatee County Public Beach, where Manatee Avenue dead-ended at Gulf Drive. Carl “Skinny” Freeman originally ran the small building with its two screen porches. He then leased it to Ed Payne and, in 1957, to Claude Whiteman. It was Whiteman who named the restaurant after the popular NBC radio show “Duffy’s Tavern.” Patricia Geyer, former Holmes Beach mayor, took over in 1972 and raised her five daughters, Patti, Pam, Peggi, Penni, and Polli, behind the counter.

All the locals went to Duffy’s, which was sometimes a substitute for the local newspaper; you heard all the news there first. The Geyer family ran Duffy’s for 30 years until June 2002, when their lease was not renewed. Carl Freeman’s children wished to run the restaurant in  honor of their father, and they renamed the building and business Skinny’s Place. 

However, Duffy’s didn’t die. The Geyer family moved up Gulf Drive, to the old Island Auto Body building, renovated it, and reopened for business in early March 2003. Today, the new Duffy’s building has air conditioning and even a fireplace.  From, Manatee County Public Library System Digital Collection

Check out another Duffy story on The Suncoast Post.  And, visit their website and Facebook page for more information.

Duffy’s Tavern
5808 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217
941 778-2501

Photos from The Suncoast Post & Duffy’s Facebook page.

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