Tony’s Seafood (Cedar Key, FL)

Tony’s Seafood (Cedar Key, FL)

Chef Eric, Tony’s founder and owner, opened the doors in June 2005.  His 54-seat establishment, featuring fresh gulf seafood, is located 3 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, in Cedar Key’s historic downtown.

A mere month after opening, Tony’s introduced its, now famous, clam chowder.  The award winning chowder recipe, along with a variety other new dishes, was created on-site in Tony’s small kitchen.  Chef Eric lived in New England for over a decade in the ’80s.  So he was familiar with the many recipes available in the region.  That experience, combined with his own culinary talent, produced, in only 30 days, a clam chowder recipe which achieved worldwide notoriety in masters competitions.  Everyone from occasional customers to Bon Appetite Magazine have asked for the recipe.  All have been, politely, refused

 As the chowder’s popularity grew, and word spread, customers began asking for larger size take home containers.  Some suggested that it should be entered in the Great Chowder Cook-off, held each summer in Newport, Rhode Island.  Seeing the opportunity for expansion, in 2008 Tony’s launched a website for online sales, and created a fully functional concession trailer to attend events across Florida.  The 2008 expansion soon drew the attention of the media, which in turn reached a far wider audience.  As a result, later that year, Tony’s received an invitation to compete in the upcoming Great Chowder Cook-off.

On June 6th, 2009 (D-Day) Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder claimed the title “Clam Chowder World Champion” in the 28th annual event.  Tony’s went on to claim the title again in 2010 & 2011.  Having won the championship in 3 consecutive years, the now world famous, 3 time champion, chowder was retired into the Great Chowder Cook-off Hall of Fame. 

The Ride

It was perfect weather for a hot bowl of clam chowder as our small group left their homes for the meetup.  With the temperature in the high 30s, most of our group had opted to wait for warmer days.  However, those who stayed home really missed out on a beautiful day and ride.  It eventually got up to 50° with sunny skies.  Most, if not all, of us were shedding layers for the ride home.

Since the days are still a bit short, and our destination was 155 miles southwest, for me at least, our chosen route was nothing exotic.  It only included about 25 miles of interstate.  The rest was fairly straight, higher speed, back roads.  We started out by heading west on I-10 to Sanderson.  There we turned south on SR-121, through Lake Butler and on to Worthington Springs.  Just south of town we split off on CR-239 to Alachua.  We picked up 235 northeast of town and continued on that, through Alachua and on southeast to Newberry, where we stopped to meet the 5th and final member of our group.

Mike T. had bought a new bike, new for him that is, since our last ride together.  A 2015 Street Glide CVO, purchased to replace his 2007 Deuce.  Our stop in Newberry was the first opportunity for the rest of us had to see the CVO.  The design in general, the excellent balance of chrome & color, and special details like shadowed flames all come together to make this bike a particularly beautiful ride.  After 15 minutes or so admiring the addition to Mike’s collection, we continued on our way.

Heading south out of Newberry, it wasn’t long before we were in Bronson.  There we connected with SR-24, which would take us southeast and directly into the center of Cedar Key and our destination.

Cedar Key

Cedar Key is a city in Levy County, Florida. The population was 702 at the 2010 census.  The Cedar Keys are a cluster of islands near the mainland. Most of the developed area of the city has been on Way Key since the end of the 19th century. The Cedar Keys are named for the eastern red cedar, once abundant in the area.  The old-fashioned fishing village is now a tourist center with several regionally famous seafood restaurants. The village holds two festivals a year, the Spring Sidewalk Art Festival and the Fall Seafood Festival, that each attract thousands of visitors to the area.

While evidence suggests human occupation as far back as 500 BC, the first maps of the area date to 1542, when it was labeled “Las Islas Sabines” by a Spanish cartographer.  An archaeological dig at Shell Mound, 9 miles north of Cedar Key, found artifacts dating back to 500 BC in the top 10 feet of the 28-foot-tall mound. The only ancient burial found in Cedar Key was a 2,000-year-old skeleton found in 1999.  Arrow heads and spear points dating from the Paleo period (12,000 years old) were collected by Cedar Key historian St. Clair Whitman and are displayed at the Cedar Key Museum State Park.

 Video

Eddie, Moto17Jax organizer and ride leader, produced a video of our ride.  He graciously allows me to include them in my posts.

 

 Resources

Route Map

 
GPS Files

Click the link below to download a zip file which contains the route for this ride in 4 formats (gpx, gdb, kml, csv)

Tony’s Seafood GPS Files