PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – An iconic waterfront restaurant is rolling out an updated menu this summer that includes bison burgers, Asian nachos, Bahamian chicken—and more—making good on a pledge to embrace the “dynamic and bold,” company officials announced this week.
The Captain’s Table, long considered the premier place for fine dining around Charlotte Harbor, is unveiling its first-ever bar menu and updated lunch and dinner menus throughout the summer, said General Manager Nate McKelvy and Chef Todd Stolpe in a joint announcement. Located in the top tier of Fishermen’s Village, the Captain’s Table is the flagship of Smuggler’s Enterprises, the local, family-owned restaurant network known throughout Southwest Florida for excellent food and service in a variety of settings.
“We are striving for a dynamic menu, one that’s bold and authentic,” Stolpe said. “The new items are a testament to our patrons’ interest in having exciting selections to choose from. The appetizers, main courses, and side items showcase Caribbean, Asian, and Old World Spanish influences on South Florida’s fresh seafood and locally grown, seasonal fruits and vegetables,” he said. Other innovations include a “Wild Game and Whiskey” dinner that marries full-course, table d’hôte specials—such as bison, boar, or rabbit—with specialty bourbons, whiskeys, and brandies, topped with a hand-rolled cigar on the sunset deck. Upcoming events include the “Hemingway Old Caribbean” dinner which will explore Caribbean food and old, aged Rum.
The new Captain’s Table menu has been a team effort that began with water driven inspiration. That progressed to exploratory, kitchen-tasting sessions among the staff and then to his final recipe and presentation, Stolpe said. “Sous Chef Dustin Ferguson has been an amazing force in the kitchen,” Stolpe said. “Dustin is an excellent chef with a great palate. He can take an idea and turn it into an exciting dish where the flavors have depth and balance,” Stolpe said.
General Manager Nate McKelvy said the updated menu at the Captain’s Table simplifies and streamlines the a la carte in order to focus on what diners tell him they are looking for: “Locals and visitors alike say they want the freshest local products possible,” he said. “And everyone is keen on seasonal selections. Our new menu has the flexibility to showcase local products and incorporate preparations suited to each season,” he said.
Diners can expect to see more salad selections on the menu and fewer “basket with fries” fare at lunch. In addition, McKelvy said, “We are expanding the chef’s dinner specials with a rotation of new dishes that, if the demand is there, will be promoted to the main menu.”
The first weeks of the new bar menu has been an especially big hit, McKelvy said, partly due to timing. The bar menu now offers selections throughout the entire day, and most importantly, bridging the two hours in the afternoon between lunch and dinner. “We had not offered specialty sandwiches, wraps, and appetizers at the bar before, but the demand is clearly there. We are delighted to be able to respond to that demand with both new items and old favorites,” McKelvy said. Complementing this new menu is a selection of craft cocktails and a list of over 30 single barrel bourbons and small batch whiskeys that McKelvy has carefully constructed.
The new menu at the Captain’s Table includes long-standing specialties of the house, such as the chef’s signature Chilean sea bass marinated in coconut—now kicked up a notch with a marinade of Thai sriracha. “Another emerging favorite is the lobster grilled-cheese sandwich,” McKelvy said. All in all, the new menu is fresher and brighter than ever before, he promised.
The Captain’s Table is a 275-seat restaurant with magnificent views of Charlotte Harbor. It is open seven days a week, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner on weekdays, and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Find the Captain’s Table on the upper deck of Fishermen’s Village, 1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, Fla. 33950.
Telephone (941) 637-1177. Visit the website for news, menus, and on-line reservations at www.thecaptainstable.com
About the Team
Chef Todd Stolpe, a Sarasota native, has planned and implemented innovative menus throughout a distinguished 30-year career that began in the mid-1990’s. By 2009, he had risen to Executive Chef for a global hospitality firm. A few of his career highlights include creating a private dinner for the Prince of Monaco and accepting medals for culinary excellence from Presidents Obama and Clinton. He planned, produced, and coordinated menus and meals at major sporting events, including three Super bowls and five Orange Bowls – each requiring several thousand platings for executive and celebrity diners – and as culinary coordinator for the 2013 BCS college football championship. Stolpe is a graduate of Florida Culinary Institute where he earned a degree in the combined fields of culinary arts and business management. He has been with Smuggler’s Enterprises since 2014. “My family is here, and The Captain’s Table is the perfect venue for a chef like me, one who enjoys the challenge of catering to the full range of customers – from those who look forward to innovative cuisine, to those who expect nothing less than top quality in selection and preparation.”
General Manager Nate McKelvy joined Smuggler’s Enterprises in the fall of 2014 after seven years at the historic Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande. Nate has assisted in planning & coordinating dining, private events and weddings for many celebrities and politicians, including the Bush family. He also holds a Level 1 in the Court of Master Sommeliers and has taken courses under Master Sommeliers in Colorado and Florida. Nate began working at a golf club dining room at age 15 and has spent the past ten years holding positions at fine dining restaurants and private country clubs in Orlando, FL, as well as, the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2007. He lives with his wife and family in Punta Gorda.
For More Information:
General Manager Nate McKelvy (941) 637-1177 ext. 113
Chef Todd Stolpe (941) 637-1177