Fantastic Food and View at The Ol’ Tacklebox Bar & Grill in the Heart of San Pedro
A few days ago, we went to the Ol’ Tacklebox Bar and Grill for lunch – one of the oldest bars and most storied spots in San Pedro. This place is packed with history!
Both island history and personal history – so let me summarize all that first. And get it out of the way. So I can tell you about the amazing food – and great drinks that the new crew is doing. As my foodie friend Cesar – who has visited the island at least a half dozen times over the years put it – “most underrated food on the island…sooo good”, the “fish is ridiculously fresh” and “even the kids’ fish sticks were amazing”.
The Tacklebox’s Island History: The Tacklebox Bar opened in 1981 – built at the end of a wooden pier by the Forman family. Everyone who visited the island visited this spot. (Great old pictures of the original bar)
At one point, it had an opening in the dock with an “aquarium” in it. It was then called Shark’s Bar. But the landmark was washed away by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. It was rebuilt in the early 2000s by some business partners from the US and then purchased by an older guy from Illinois who hired a manager to run the place while he was working in the states.
From December 2007 to about mid-June 2011 – the manager of this restaurant, busy bar, and nightclub was…ME! So fun, so crazy, such a good way to get to know so many people in this town and across the country, and…it almost killed me! Good grief…
Today it seems almost like a fever dream. Fever dream: An intense or confusing dream, often caused by fever. Perfect phrase.
Since I left, there have been different managers, and different owners and then the building was empty for a few years. Dan Choc, a fantastic chef (and slyly very funny guy) – and I’ll get to that history also – re-opened the famous spot about 9 months ago.
Before Tacklebox, Dan worked at Rojo Lounge/Rojo Beach Bar for 14 years! Rojo, now closed, was a gorgeous destination beach bar about 5 miles north of town – with incredible food and views. It was the best spot.
Jeff (my boyfriend for those new to the blog) was the co-founder and chef at Rojo from 2004 to 2014. He hired Dan as a dishwasher years ago – and then Dan worked as a chef and made his way up to head chef when Jeff departed. Got all that?
Here they are together. Danny and Jeff
Dan brings many of the dishes and the famous pizzas and the cooking skills from Rojo to Tacklebox.
Now that’s out of the way – let’s get inside. They have some great specials each day and an amazing drink list. Inside I saw Trader Vic’s Mai Tais on the board; everything made with fresh juices and fruits.
Here’s what’s happening inside…
They have a good-sized menu as well as the pizza menu. The prices are a bit higher than some of the other spots but the portions are BIG. Dan embraces the Rojo-style of eating – large plates and platters for everyone at the table to share.
Many Rojo recipes and even the old Rojo pizza ovens in the back!
I love the Alaskan…and it makes me think of when I first started dating Jeff 🙂 It’s EXACTLY like I remember. Deeelicious.
The conch fritters are all craggy = stuffed with conch…some of the very best on the island.
And then another Rojo favorite – the Belikin-braised pork baos with hoisin and crunchy cucumber.
All set on a busy dock right in the middle of town.
I will admit – I missed these views and this sea breeze.
While we were there, a tour group came in with some live lobsters for Dan and his team to prepare.
The food is really delicious. My friend Cesar is absolutely correct. The food, the history, the open air, the very friendly staff, and the views…I think you’ll love it.
Say hi to Dan for me and let me know what you think.
The Ol’ Tacklebox is located over the water in the middle of San Pedro town. South of Central Park. You can find out more information thru their Facebook page.