Location: 12306 46th Ave W, W Cortez, FL
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Starfish Company is a casual seafood market and Anna Maria Island restaurant with scenic outdoor picnic-style seating on a dock, friendly service and small focused selection of satisfying locally sourced seafood dishes. Don’t worry about dressing up, feel free to arrive in shorts and flip-flops. Place an order and dig in while sitting at a picnic table in paradise-like weather and overlooking the Sarasota Bay.
A long and interesting history that dates back decades
This quaint and interesting little eatery has a long history that dates back to the early 1920s. It was started by Judge Mills and was later purchased by Gaylord Garner in the 1950s. His son took the business over when he died in the 1980s.
Starfish Company started out as a wholesale seafood market and began selling retail seafood in the 60s. After the retail market was launched, a new set of clientele including locals and travelers began visiting.
Garner sold his company to Karen Bell in 1996, and Karen felt that it would be a wise decision to also sell freshly cooked seafood. It turns out she was right! A small kitchen was upgraded for commercial use, and they’ve been serving some of the area’s best seafood ever since.
Simple yet delicious seafood
Starfish Company’s recipe for success is based on simplicity and fresh ingredients. There’s no question that whatever you order on the menu will be locally sourced and recently caught. You’ll get to choose from several preparation methods for your favorite seafood or the catch of the day.
For appetizers, you have your pick of Calamari, Peel and Eat Shrimp, Conch Fritters, Middle Neck Cams, Cortez Fish Chowder, Soup or Seafood Salad. For the entrees, two portion sizes are available, Light and Hearty, and you can select from Mullet, Grouper, Gulf Shrimp, Oysters, Sea Scallops, Crab Cakes, and Clam Strips prepared just the way you want — grilled, fried or blackened.
Specialty dishes include Stone Crab Claws, Florida Pompano, Shrimp & Grits, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Grilled Mahi and Honey-Pecan Chicken. A range of sandwiches and po’boys are also available to order including Mahi, Grouper, Oyster, and Soft Shell Crab. The sides are just as simple as the menu with a choice of cheese grits, cole slaw, hush puppies or French fries. Prices for every item will leave your wallet full.
Right next door to Anna Maria Island
If you’re staying anywhere on Anna Maria Island you’ll have easy access to this restaurant. It’s located in the historic fishing village of Cortez, which is right across the Cortez Bridge on the southern end of the island.
With a quick drive or taxi ride you can be there in minutes no matter where your lodging is at. The entire area is also worth checking out, as there are numerous historic sites related to the fishing industry there, and a very unique charm that you just won’t find anywhere else.
Grab a beer and a seat on the dock and enjoy the sunshine and bay views while your seafood lunch or dinner is being freshly prepared at Starfish Company. It’s a one of a kind dining experience that you and your family is sure to love!