July 4th, Harbor Docks officially reaches 40 years in business. What started as one little cottage and six picnic tables has become an iconic Destin landmark for food, family, events and more.
Harbor Docks was founded in 1979 by Charles Morgan, still five years before Destin became an incorporated municipality. Throughout the years, the cottage expanded significantly, with the addition of two buildings and the seafood market. The restaurant remains in the original location, right on the Destin Harbor. The walls are lined with unique treasures — photos, stories, awards, prize fish and other precious relics that have taken place the past 40 years.
A family-owned business, Harbor Docks is centered not only around fresh, local seafood, but also the loyal staff that have given a part of their lives towards making the restaurant what it is today. Harbor Docks has five employees that have been a part of the team for more than 30 years; three employees that have over 20 years tenure; and three with over 10 years. The staff members are, and always will be a part of the restaurant’s story.
Harbor Docks has built a tradition of bringing the community together through hosting its annual auction and golf tournament for more than 30 years to help raise funds for “Take a Kid Fishing Day.” This has allowed roughly 7,000 local children to experience a day on a charter fishing fleet, learning about a very important historic and economic aspect of Destin. Each Thanksgiving, the team comes together to cook an incredible feast, open to the public at no charge.
In 2018, Charles Morgan officially passed the reigns to his oldest son, Eddie, who plans to carry on the family tradition. Eddie had been fully managing the restaurant for several years, but the father/son team made it official when Charles sold the restaurant to Eddie last year. “I grew up in the restaurant and it truly feels like home to me. I’m honored to continue the tradition that my father started,” says Eddie. “Destin has changed a lot over the years and will continue to. But Harbor Docks will still be here in the heart of Destin – to many people, it is the heart of Destin.”
You’re invited to commemorate Harbor Docks’ 40th anniversary with a special celebration on the restaurant’s actual birthday – July 4th! Party like it’s 1979, as the restaurant will bring back several original menu items and sell Budweiser at the original price of $1! Live music kicks off at the dock bar at 4 p.m. featuring Austin Jennings, followed by Cadillac Willy and of course, a fireworks display at 9 p.m. For more info, go to www.harbordocks.com or find Harbor Docks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.