Owners celebrate 4th anniversary at Ragged Ass Saloon
When Peter and Heather Ennis took over the Ragged Ass Saloon, with business partners John and Kim Shields and Nick and Mary Ruland, they knew keeping the name was an absolute. Built in 1954 in St. James City, Ennis says he believes the building is one of the most historic on Pine Island.
Now facing their fourth year as owners, Ennis said they’ll have to wait until things are a little more normal to have a traditional celebration. Although there is still music three nights a week — Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday — they are keeping the tables as far as 10 feet apart in an effort to keep people safe and feeling protected during the pandemic.
“People do enjoy being outside,” said Ennis. “I notice if people are outside they seem to feel more comfortable. It’s a good environment.”
Customers often tell Ennis that being at the Ragged Ass is like being in the Keys, without actually being in the Keys. He admits it’s a place for everybody.
“Two guys in T-shirts can be sitting down having lunch and one guy might be an hourly worker from the island and the other guy might be a retired doctor,” said Ennis. “It doesn’t really matter who’s who.”
As far as the restaurant, Ennis said they still have some of the same staffers who were there before they took over. Although he admits the food has always been good, he said they are becoming known for certain dishes, such as their pizza, fish n chips or homemade stuffed banana peppers. They are currently serving breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well as nightly dinner specials, rather than having the same menu items each night.
“If someone hasn’t been here before, it’s a place to come and buy a shirt that says you were at the Ragged Ass Saloon,” said Ennis. “The number of people who take pictures outside the restaurant in front of one of our signs is just phenomenal. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The Ragged Ass Saloon has become a magnetic destination for many who ride motorcycles or drive boats, according to Ennis, crediting the restaurant with the allure of a tourist attraction. He admits northern residents often send pictures of themselves to the staff, wearing their Ragged Ass Saloon T-shirt while riding a motorcycle after they’ve gone back home.
Ennis said everyone should be on the lookout for their upcoming anniversary celebration, which will likely be a fundraiser, incorporating one or more island organizations.
The Ragged Ass Saloon is at 3421 Stringfellow Road, St James City, FL 33956. For additional information about the island restaurant, call 239-282-1131. You can also visit the restaurant website at www.raggedasssaloon. com