Sunday, October 17, 2010

The People Have Spoken: Tarpon Bend Burgers Rock



Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle
200 SW 2nd St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Visited October 11, 2010

Beer selection: Lame.

Food: Seafood and killer burgers.

Generally speaking, restaurant and bar owners tend to avoid politics.

After all, Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike drink beer.

Well, okay, maybe Democrats drink appletinis. But, you get the idea.

So I was a little surprised to see a big “No on 4” banner draped over the fa├žade of Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle in downtown Fort Lauderdale. And it was the only impetus I needed to give the place a try.

Question 4 is a Florida ballot initiative to put EVERY SINGLE zoning change in EVERY SINGLE locality in Florida on the ballot for a referendum vote.

Wait a minute. Isn’t that why we elect these jokers called politicians in the first place? I mean, what are we paying them for if they can’t decide whether or not a lingerie store should go up next to “Tiny Tots Day Care”? We have to have “a vote of the people” for that?

If Suit757 sounds a bit undemocratic, that is because I AM!

That’s why I choose to live in the United States of America, which is thankfully, not a democracy. No way am I letting the same brainless slackers who elected our current president vote to decide whether or not I can fly the Bonnie Blue in my front yard.

As it turns out, while a political statement may have been my initial inspiration, Tarpon Bend was exactly what I was looking for.

After putting 700 miles on my rental car while conducting three meetings in opposite corners of the expanse of the Sunshine State and wearing a suit for 15 hours straight, I was ready for something casual.

After checking in a 9pm, I walked out of my downtown hotel room wearing flip-flops, shorts and a North Turn Beach Bar & Grille T-shirt – from that shirt-buying-worthy joint located at the exact location on the beach in Daytona where NASCAR first raced in the 40s and 50s. (As you might imagine, Suit757 has quite an extensive collection of T-shirts.)

I wasn’t in the mood for South Beach hoity-toity. I was just looking for a place to pull up a bar stool, grab a cold brew, catch the game on TV and eat a decent meal.

Tarpon Bend was just the place.

A casual, fishing-themed open air Florida beach bar strangely situated under the shadows of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s bank towers, Tarpon Bend featured landlocked surfer dudes in board shorts and more cleavage than the set of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shoot.

Yeah, no problem fitting in here.

Nineteen of the 21 television sets – and the sound system – were tuned to the Jets – Vikings Monday Night Football Game. I had to crane my neck to see the Braves – Giants baseball playoff game.

Unfortunately, Tarpon Bend had absolutely NOTHING interesting or remotely exotic on tap or in the bottle, so I opted for Yuengling, my default beer of choice. Floridians display a stunning lack of imagination when it comes to beer drinking – yet another reason not to give them the power of democracy.

My bartendress helpfully pointed out that Monday night was $5 burger night, which presented something of a dilemma. What I really wanted was that when-in-Florida creation known as the fish reuben sandwich. But it was $12.

Suit757 has been known to be frugal. My friends might prefer the term “cheap.”

So, no way I’m passing up $5 burgers. Especially, when the $5 burger special is the same 5/8 lb. (that’s exactly half way between a half and three-quarter pounder for you mathematically-challenged) all-the-way “Big Cheese Burger” normally on the menu for $10.

Nope. Not passing that one up.

The burger was five star, all the way -- juicy, perfectly cooked with top shelf toppings and bun. The generous portion of potato salad that came on the side was the home-made red skin potato kind. A lot of top-notch food for one lousy (war criminal) Lincoln.

As I wiped the last remnants of burger grease from my hands and arms, drank down my final Yuengling and strained to catch the baseball playoff score, I began to contemplate what life would be like in a true “democracy”.

First of all, 21 of the 21 TVs would be on Monday Night Football.

I wouldn’t be drinking Yuengling because the only beer on tap would be Bud Light.

My burger would have been dried up and over-cooked.

And I’d probably never get to try that fish reuben sandwich, either.

Yeah, some things just shouldn’t be left to the tyranny of the majority.

I mean, just think, if everything in Florida were put to “a vote of the people”, they just might ban smoking on private property, outlaw pregnant pigs and bankrupt the state to pay off the teachers’ union.

Oh, yeah. I forgot.

All those things actually HAVE happened.

Vote “No on 4”. Please.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.
Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle on Urbanspoon

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