Just north of Fort Lauderdale is one of the most unique historic restaurant experiences in the country. What makes Cap’s Place so unique, other than its history, is that to reach the restaurant you need to take a boat. You can use your own boat to get there, or you can drive to their dock in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and take their ferry over to the restaurant. It is a lovely ride on the inland waterways, especially at night when it’s quite romantic.
Cap’s Place originally opened as Club Unique, a supper club, casino, and speakeasy built on a beached barge in 1928, and run by Captain Theodore “Cap” Knight, a local rum runner, with his wife Lola. Many celebrities and important figures dined there over the years, including Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt during WWII, when they were having secret war meetings at a nearby estate. The bar and dining rooms were filled with nautical artifacts collected by Cap, including a carved wooden bowsprit from a Spanish galleon (in photo below and still in the bar today). The bartender in the photo is Al Hasis, Cap’s friend and business partner since the beginning. The gambling was stopped in 1951, Cap passed in 1964 at ninety-three, Lola passed in 1989, and since then the Hasis family are the current owners. The restaurant was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1990.
Upon arrival you walk up Cap’s dock onto their private island where there is a patio dining area, a bar, a restaurant, some smaller buildings, and some cats roaming around.
The history is apparent inside, with the original wooden floors and the wooden walls covered with old photographs and nautical decor.
One of their specialties since the beginning is hearts of palm salad, which is made with Sabal Palms grown near Lake Okeechobee. Their menu is focused on local seafood.
The next time you are in Fort Lauderdale, check out Cap’s Place for a unique and historic dining experience. Just be sure and get precise directions from the restaurant’s web site (or call first) because it can be hard to find the ferry dock (and don’t expect a taxi driver to be able to find it – something I learned the hard way!).
Cap’s Dock is at 2765 N.E. 28th Court, Lighthouse Point, FL
Phone (954) 941-0418
Open Sun – Thurs 5:30pm – close (call first)