A Port Charlotte physician has purchased the popular Fishery Restaurant in Placida from legacy owner Garry Albritton, whose family has operated the eatery since it opened in 1988.
"It was a lot of fun but we've had it for years," Margaret Albritton said from her destination art gallery. "The sale is not for the property; just for the restaurant."
Next door, in his cluttered office mere steps from the historic ferry launch that used to be a vital link to Boca Grande, Garry Albritton said the timing was right for buyer and seller.
"Business is strong," he said. "It's good."
None of the next-generation Albrittons were interested in running the restaurant as they had embarked on other careers, Garry Albritton said.
Dr. Mark Asperilla paid an undisclosed price for the 150-seat Fishery Restaurant operation, which has been on the market since a land deal fell apart.
"He's keeping all the employees who wish to remain," Albritton said. "He said he'll be keeping the menu basically the same."
The Fishery Restaurant specializes in fresh catch dishes featuring grouper, mahi-mahi, pompano, redfish, snapper, salmon, tilapia ,flounder and stone crab claws.
About 17 years ago, the Albritton family sold the property to Jacques Cloutier, who later defaulted on 20 loans totaling $115.5 million from nearly a dozen lenders. Caribbean Mortgage Lenders took it over and the Albrittons are basically leasing from them, Garry Albritton said.
The Albritton family will remain in business on the property they've basically run since the 1940s. Garry said he will go to work as an artist with his wife, Margaret, at her landmark Albritton Gallery next to the Fishery Restaurant.
'I'm ecstatic," Garry said. "I think we have a pretty good legacy."