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A restaurant paying tribute to the area’s history is coming to Fishermen’s Village in September, fulfilling a longtime goal of Lee Richardson who, along with his partner Mike Wright, owns and operates Leroy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in downtown Punta Gorda. 

Richardson said the new restaurant, Leroy’s Fish Shack, will be in the space formerly occupied by Village Fish Market, which closed in April. 

He said it will be the only area restaurant serving all locally sourced seafood, with the exception of conch and calamari, which are not in local waters. 

A couple of commercial fishermen will pull up with their boats to the restaurant’s dock three to four times a week, wheel in the fish on ice and patrons can see the fresh seafood. 

The fish will be cooked and prepared fresh.  

The menu will vary, depending on what the fishermen are catching, he said. 

Among the varieties of fish will be different kinds of grouper, snapper, hogfish, flounder, wahoo, shrimp and crab, Richardson said. 

Born and raised in Charlotte County, Richardson said since he opened Leroy’s Southern Kitchen in 2015, “I’ve been looking for the right spot to do this restaurantit’s got to be perfect.” 

When he heard that the Village Fish Market space had opened, he began negotiations with leasing agent SVN Commercial Partners. 

His suppliers will be commercial fishermen whose families have been working in the industry since the 1800s. 

The interior of the former Village Fish Market will be completely gutted, and the demolition permit will be ready April 12, he said. 

The design will mimic old fish shacks, and decor will include a Key Westtype vibe, including buoys, Richardson said.  

In addition to the dining experience, patrons will learn about the history of fishing in Charlotte County, the estuary and the family-owned fish shacks whose photos and information will be on display.  

Currently, Richardson is working with Leroy’s chef, and they have come up with “pages of recipes,” he said. 

“All will be our own creations.”  

The Fish Shack also will offer traditional fried and broiled seafood platters that are popular with the public, he said. The big difference will be that the food on their plate will be locally sourced and fresh. 

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