Anna Maria Oyster Bar: A Seafood Evolution

Good Bite

Picutred: The concrete bartop at Anna Maria Oyster Bar in North Port has a trough dug in it that's filled with ice all day long, so you can enjoy freshly-shucked oysters in style. Photo courtesy of Anna Maria Oyster Bar.

Anna Maria Island has long been a treasure trove of hidden culinary gems, and Anna Maria Oyster Bar (AMOB) is one of its crown jewels. John and Amanda Horne opened the first AMOB back in 1995 at the historic Anna Maria City Pier. Islander and mainlanders alike fell in love with their fresh and fun take on local seafood and over the course of nearly three decades the Hornes have gone on to open a handful of AMOB locations throughout the Bradenton-Sarasota area. In May, the Hornes and their Oysters Rock Hospitality group opened the sixth AMOB location, this one in North Port.

“The vibe is a balance between the traditions of the commercial fishing community that is the lifeblood of Cortez and Anna Maria with a more modern coastal contemporary chic kind of feel,” says Eleni Sokos, the Executive Vice President of Oysters Rock Hospitality, describing the new space.

One of the ways the new location pays homage to the roots of the AMOB tradition is through the use of two large-scale murals in the restaurant. One is a photorealistic digital rendering of a painting of the original AMOB on the Anna Maria City Pier which has since closed. The other is a photograph of the Bridge Street pier complex in Bradenton Beach which is home to another AMOB location. The space also features art by local artist Mike Parrott who paints subjects like sealife, beach scenes, and mermaids on reclaimed wood. These more nostalgic design elements are paired with more modern design choices, like the 56-seat bar adorned with shimmering fish scale tiles and capped with a concrete countertop.

“We’re kind of blending old and new in terms of reinventing the coastal ambiance,” Sokos says.

That same spirit of evolution can be found on the AMOB menu. The North Port location has the same menu as the other AMOB locations which features familiar favorites as well as some fresh and flavorful updates that have been added over time. If you like a classic fried seafood basket, there’s golden brown Fish and Chips. In the mood for something light? The Tuna Poke Bowl is packed with flavor. Feel like designing your own meal? You can pick a fish, a style, and a topping all geared to your taste. Sokos swears by the Open Blue Cobia, which is sourced from sustainable farmers in Panama, grilled and drizzled with tequila lime herb butter. Even if you’re not a seafood person, AMOB has incredible burgers and a tasty Tropical Chicken Bowl among several other non-swimming options. And of course, you have to check out the Gulf-fresh oysters. There’s truly something for everyone.

The Anna Maria Oyster Bar in North Port is now open Sundays through Thursdays from 11am to 9pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 10pm. To see the AMOB menu, visit the restaurant’s website at oysterbar.net

Anna Maria Oyster Bar, 14132 Tamiami Trail, North Port, 941-207-2662.

Picutred: The concrete bartop at Anna Maria Oyster Bar in North Port has a trough dug in it that's filled with ice all day long, so you can enjoy freshly-shucked oysters in style. Photo courtesy of Anna Maria Oyster Bar.

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