The History Of "The Gulfshore"
The Gulfshore has a great, and almost 100 year old, history on Fort Myers Beach. The land was developed back in 1921 by a Fort Myers land developer named T.P. Philips. He developed the land to include a gambling casino, restaurant and an area downstairs that included over 100 bathhouses, and was known as the "Fort Myers Beach Casino". The concept opened on May 8, 1921, the very first day the bridge to Fort Myers Beach opened. Sadly by November of 1921, a hurricane came through the area and demolished most of the location, and washed out all the downstairs bathhouses. In 1924 it was rebuilt in concrete and sand, resold to Pete Nelson who renamed it the "Crescent Beach Casino". It gets very interesting from here.
Pete Nelson wanted to add a 100' boardwalk right in front of the casino, but was only able to construct a portion of it before the hurricane of 1926 demolished the entire downstairs of the casino once again. Behind the bathhouses, a few living quarters had existed, but were demolished by the storm. One of the residents of those quarters was a realtor named William W. Watson. He persuaded an attorney, R.A. Henderson and Sherif Frank Tippins to buy the structure and fix it up. By 1927 the casino was such a success, that Frank Tippins allegedly decided it might be a future political issue for him, so he sold the casino to a Doctor Thomas from Oklahoma, who kept it as an investment until 1930.
Sometime during the time Mr. Tippins and Dr Thomas owned the casino, the name was changed to The Gulfshore Inn and gambling was discontinued. In 1930 the Inn was sold again, to a Gene Bartholomeu, who ran it together with a few adjacent cottages until about 1940. During the 1940's the scene changed again, as the building became home to officers who were stationed at Buckingham Army Field, Page Field and the newly formed Coast Guard. Ralph and Connie Brigham were the hosts during this time period.
The History Of The Gulfshore Reflects The Changing Gulf Coast Region Of Florida
In 1972, three successful businessmen, with ties to Southwest Florida, had a vision of bringing the fine dining and spirits experience to this premier location on Fort Myers Beach, and took the steps to purchase the landmark establishment. These entrepreneurs, Daniel Reinfried, Malcom Young, and Wakyn Ferris, worked together and created the restaurant and called it "The Gulfshore Grill". The restaurant pioneers individual families have continued the tradition of hospitality and continue to operate the establishment with the same passionate vision their fathers had nearly a half-century ago.
While the famous historical building has been in continuous successful operation for 46 years, it has had necessary updates to keep pace with all of the growth taking place in Southwest Florida. The families’ next generation has expanded the operations and once again this historical property has risen to meet its customers’ expectations with a new look and a new name for our inside restaurant - Shucker's. As you will see, the restaurant and bar area has had a ‘roof-raising’ redesign.
Elegant and expansive glass doors have been installed to allow our customers and friends to enjoy an unobstructed view of the beach, and the breathtaking sunsets on the Gulf Coast. We added more seating in the bar area, and a chair rail to allow our customers to capture more of the stunning beach and sunset views. Our menus have had a refresh as well -- while we have kept our customer favorites, we also added new custom cocktails, and more of the freshest seafood you come to the Gulf to experience. Oysters, clams, shrimp and crab all have front row seating on our menu, and we've added a massive "Seafood Tower" that was created to allow our customers to experience a variety of the fresh seafood to share.
So as you visit The Gulfshore and our restaurants, please enjoy your meal, accept our Southern hospitality, and know that a little bit of history has happened right in this spot. Oh, and be sure to watch the sunsets, they are amazing!