Let New Orleans have its gumbo, Kansas City its barbecue, and Los Angeles and New York City their trend-setting concepts. Here in South Florida, we have our own enviable pedigree: Floribbean, best described as a fusion of island-inspired fare mixed with locally grown tropical fruits and fresh-caught fish. And at Papa's Raw Bar in Lighthouse Point, it's what's on the clipboard menu.
Last spring, Joy and Hugh Ganter and their son Troy decided to take over the newly vacated space next door to Seafood World, a business they have successfully run for the past three decades.
A Lighthouse Point institution, Seafood World stands as one of South Florida's quintessential seafood restaurants and markets, having evolved into a full-fledged brand complete with an online store and onsite retail shop selling everything from the Ganters' homemade sauces and spices to more than 85 types of seafood, from shellfish and Caribbean lobster to Florida stone crabs caught from the family's own fishing vessel.
The opening of Papa's Raw Bar in April marked a continuation of the family's love affair with seafood, which began in the late 1950s in the Bahamas, where Hugh and Joy met; both were trying to escape the doldrums of the mainland and together dreamed of opening a restaurant. They returned to Florida in the late '70s to open Seafood World, what today has expanded into a busy wholesale operation with a national delivery service. As each division grew, so did the requests from regular customers to provide catering services, and so the expansion continued with the Bimini Room, Papa's in-house catering and event room.
"We wanted something for the local crowd, so when the space next door opened up, we moved in," says Troy. "But everyone loved it so much, we decided to turn the space into its own concept."