By Ryann Daddio
“Whether you are looking to rent a boat, grab a bite to eat on the water, or get some fresh fish to take home and cook for the family, I.C. Sharks is the place to go,” says local and I.C Sharks regular, Kevin Nguyen. I.C. Sharks is both a tiki bar and waterfront cafe located on Gandy boulevard right before the bridge. It first began when owners Brian and Paige Storman, former owners of “Storman’s Palace” and “The Venue,” began a fresh seafood market and over the last two years, transformed it one step at a time into a hot spot for both locals and tourists.
“People just love us and keep coming back bringing their friends and family and spreading the word… we have barely had to do any type of advertising,” said Cassandra Palumbo, an I.C. Sharks server. One of the main attractions of I.C. Sharks comes straight out of their fresh seafood market, live blue crabs. Though they do not actually steam them in the restaurant, management and owners have made connections with many crabbers, local and statewide, to assure customers that love blue crabs will have them consistently available. The seafood market is also stocked daily by local fishermen with fresh grouper, snapper, tuna, shrimp, and stone crab. I.C. Sharks seafood market has been one of the most popular in the Bay Area for years, so it is not surprising that the restaurant is beginning to bring in a large crowd.
Within the last two years, I.C. Sharks has grown and offered an array of services such as boat rentals, bait and tackle sales, and built an entire restaurant for dining-in onto the back of their seafood market. “Many of our initial customers and now regulars are those who have been coming to our market for years,” states Jimmy Roberts, market and restaurant manager.
It is a close knit place, but word seems to be spreading like fire. The restaurant includes outdoor seating with shaded patio tables and sunny picnic tables on the sand as well as multiple bars. The most popular of the bars is the tiki bar, which sits above the water and overlooks the Weedon Island Preserves. There are three more separate bars including an indoor bar, a beach bar in the sand for catching some sun, and an upstairs bar overlooking the water, mainly used for large parties or events.
When heading to I.C. Sharks for lunch or dinner, customers are expected to park in beach access parking, just a short walk from the restaurant. This is their only downfall due to customers parking in incorrect areas such as I.C. Shark’s neighbors, The Getaways, parking lot and resulting in a ticket or customers cars being towed from the premises. Customers may be confused because The Getaway is another tiki themed bar and generally, upon arriving, they assume that it is all one place. After the fish market closes at 7, managers allow customers to use that parking for the restaurant as well. One way to avoid the traffic is to pull up by boat and be docked promptly by one of the dock boys.
If you’re looking to find a new place to hang out for drinks or dine in with the family look no further, but on a beautiful sunny day be prepared to fight for a table. It appears that the Storman’s have seemingly created a little glimpse of paradise in Old Tampa Bay and everybody wants a piece of it.