LONGBOAT KEY - A Suncoast landmark is celebrating its 45th anniversary. Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant started with a fisherman who wanted to make a living doing what he loved, and the Longboat Key restaurant continues today with his grandchildren.
The restaurant has changed very little over the years.
Alan Moore says it started with his grandfather. "My grandfather produced stone crabs up and down the coast in the 60's and 50's. He started in the mid 30's, and we used to sell wholesale crabs up and down the state."
He says that in 1967 his father and uncle decided to open a restaurant to sell those stone crabs themselves.
And how has it survived so long? "First of all, family; we've got a large enough family where there is always family on the property. We've been here so long we've got a fantastic staff."
Some of the staff has been there more than 30 years.
One of the 3 owners, Robert Hicks, started as a dishwasher. "After a year and a half, I got up on the line with Pete. Pete took me under. Peter, one of the founders, him and his brother took me under his wing and kinda treated me like a son. It got me into the business."
And he says another thing that helped keep them in business all these years: "We buy locally all the time. Fresh fishes, fresh stone crabs…we have nine guys that crab for us. We process them right here."
Their customers say another thing that keeps them coming back is the beautiful, peaceful location right on the water. “We have generations and generations…people are always saying ‘I was here when I was a kid and played with the dolphins.’ We used to have the dolphins out here in the bay," says co-owner Paul Moore.
They say all these elements are a recipe for success. "As far as we know, we're the oldest family-owned restaurant in Manatee or Sarasota counties still owned and operated by the original family."
And they're not about to rest on their laurels. The owners say they've been there for 45 years, but this is just the beginning. They've got kids and grandkids lined up to carry the restaurant through the next 45 years.
To celebrate their 45th anniversary, Moore's is cutting some of its prices back to what they were in the 1960's.