Shooters Waterfront is, in a way, a tale of Fort Lauderdale.
Forever etched into the city's inebriated memory as the place to enjoy a fantastic happy hour, a scenic dock, and poolside swimsuit contests, Shooters has decided to shed the party life and mature considerably. The restaurant, one of the Intracoastal Waterway's most popular, has turned a new leaf under the ownership of the Grateful Palate's William McIntyre and is now helmed by Meghan Leckey and her team.
Gone is the famed pool and its debauchery (moment of silence...), and in its place is a new alfresco dining deck with 300 seats that is poised to take full advantage of the skyline and waterway with its "panoramic views of the water in a distinguished, beachy-chic setting," according to a news release. Aside from the aesthetic renovations, the restaurant has hired Chef Chi Chan, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate, to remodel their lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch menus as well as luxury resort veteran interior designer Deborah Frustino to oversee the restaurant's new decor.
Chan's lunch menu now includes the Shooters Burger, made from a chuck, brisket, and short-rib blended patty, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion, with a special sauce on a brioche bun. There's also the Beer-Battered Fish & Chips with Atlantic cod and house-made tartar and creamy red cabbage slaw for his spin on the British staple.
Dinner service includes a rich Maine lobster pasta with a summery onion, fennel, tomato, mint, parsley, and white wine sauce on orechiette and slow-braised short ribs with garlicky mashed potatoes and pickled red onion with an herb salad and red-wine reduction.
Sunday brunch will also keep its eye on the seasons with a decadent Challah French Toast crusted ion maple-cinnamon with bourbon dulce de leche and raw bar with stone crabs, coconut shrimp, and assorted crudos. Sweet hounds will enjoy the new Molten Chocolate Almond Cake, while trendy and concerned diners will appreciate the Gluten-Free Strawberry Cheesecake with puréed strawberries, Chantilly cream, and a honey-oat crust.
The new Shooters might not host swimsuit contests anymore, but with a 14,000-square-foot waterfront spread and the breezy weather, it'll be making the most of what it can do. Diners can arrive by car or boat -- their own or water taxi. Wanna pull your yacht up? Go ahead! Boaters can enjoy dockside service and have their orders delivered directly to their craft to avoid mingling with the landlubbers. Frustino's vision for the restaurant offers "a relaxed, seaside atmosphere using a combination of over-sized love seats, cabana chairs, umbrellas, fire pits and landscaping that entices guests to sit back, relax, and enjoy an unobstructed view of the sunset."
Fort Lauderdale, thankfully, isn't a spring-breaker year-round, and it is nice to see some flourishes of maturity, especially when it takes advantage of the Intracoastal's charm and beauty.
Shooters Waterfront is located at 3033 NE 32nd Ave. Fort Lauderdale. Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call 954-566-2855, or visit shooterswaterfront.com.
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