Homosassa’s Riverfront Revival – Part 1
With a world-renown fishing reputation, Old Homosassa has been a favorite vacation spot since the 1800s. Resorts and RV parks spring up over the years, but Homosassa has always remained true to its roots with the strong sense of a community that has grown up along river.
New vibes are infiltrating the waterfront on both sides of Homosassa’s bountiful River. Foodies can rejoice. Begin planning your overnight stay to indulge in fresh seafood, live music, and beachfront parties along Halls River Road and South Boulevard.
NatureCoaster was tasked with visiting several Homosassa waterfront venues and sharing the experience. Old Homosassa is one of the first places I discovered when exploring Florida’s Nature Coast. Its slow pace, natural beauty, sense of community and place resonates with me.
That was more than 15 years ago and, while I have returned many, many times, this visit gave me new eyes for one of my favorite destinations – and the change is good!
Crumps Landing Waterfront Tiki – Florida Keys Anyone?
We began our epicurean adventure at Crump’s Landing Waterfront Tiki. I was a fan of K.C. Crump’s Restaurant on that fateful day when the kitchen caught fire, burning the place to the ground in the mid-2000s.
I watched the new Crump’s as it was being built. It looked like a good party place, but the scale of this resort with a kids’ playground, statues of manatees, pirates, sharks, and parrots scattered around the bar and dining areas makes it a destination unto itself!
The giant tiki, with a pirate statue greeting guests and corn hole games lined up along the riverfront, houses a huge full liquor bar, tables and lots of photo ops. The sugar sand beach features a myriad of waterfront amenities, including a water taxi dock, beach chairs (Adirondack style), tiki tables, tiki party pits, and plenty of boat slips.
Arriving at 11 am on a Thursday, we chose a tiki table on the beach to begin our adventure. Jessie Capone, with her infectious smile, served us a tropical salad with shrimp laced with mango vinaigrette dressing. Add a virgin Pina Colada and Mango Daquiri to set the tone and we were whisked away to Key West…
The aquamarine sky and wispy clouds made it hard to leave, but we had work to do.
Seagrass Restaurant – Fresh & Creative
Our next stop was the Seagrass Waterfront Restaurant, at 10386 W. Halls River Rd. Seagrass Restaurant offers a full menu and full bar and has a wonderful welcoming atmosphere.
Their chalkboard advertised Angus certified steak specials. Walking in, a special room with a live edge table invited us to have our next event here.
Mike, Seagrass’ manager, offered us a choice of waterfront tiki tables with umbrellas, screened-porch seating over the water or inside seating. We chose the comfortable booth with a nice view of the river for our adventure here, ordering appetizers from their extensive and varied menu (from Brazilian steak, seafood platter to pork fried rice and the Basil Burger).
Ordering from their appetizers, we chose pierogis and fried green beans. The beans were fresh and crunchy, obviously hand breaded on site. The dipping sauce made them sing! But the pierogis…
I have not seen pierogis on a menu since living in Detroit. When I was a kid, we would go to Hamtramck to eat at the Polish restaurants. Pierogis are a pocket of dough around a potato and cheese filling. They are usually cooked, fried in butter for a finisher, and at the Seagrass they were served with caramelized onions and spices that elevated them to new heights of yumminess – and served with the sour cream.
Seagrass Now Offering River Cruises & Lunch Cruises
Now the Seagrass Waterfront Restaurant is offering river cruises from the restaurant, as well as lunch cruises to Monkey Island and the Springs.
Marguerita Grill – Opa!
We had to visit Marguerita Grill, 10200 W. Halls River Rd, another Homosassa restaurant that has been reincarnated from its ashes, but this location kept its uber-Patriot theme, full menu, and full liquor bar – with Greek flair.
On the covered patio we enjoyed gorgeous view of the river one way and a view of the bridge the other. As we were trying appetizers, the Flaming Shrimp was today’s treat. Fresh, large shrimp topped with feta cheese, herbs and tomatoes, and flamed tableside – Opa!
Freshly made pita triangles and an amazing flavor make this worth visiting Margurerita Grill for, whether by land or sea!
Homosassa’s Riverfront Revival includes a Working Waterfront Park
After Hall’s River Road, which continues back to U.S. 19 (Suncoast Boulevard), we turned onto West Yulee Drive before returning to civilization. West Yulee Drive leads to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park, which is a wonderful animal park of Florida native species.
If you drive past the Park, over the bridge and onward, you begin to enter the village of Old Homosassa, where a group of concerned citizens work tirelessly to improve the area. There latest project is the Homosassa Heritage Park and Working Waterfront.
This 2 acre-waterfront parcel on South Boulevard will eventually include walking trails, kiosks, and turning an 80-year-old cracker house on the property into a maritime museum. There are also boat docks.
Check back next week when NatureCoaster brings you Part 2 of Homosassa’s Riverfront Revival.