Mainstay Restaurant North Captiva Island aka Barnacles

Mainstay Restaurant North Captiva Island aka Barnacles

A little of the old, a little bit of the new.  I have said before and I’ll say it again, “The beauty of the islands is that they are always changing”. In this case, it’s an iconic restaurant formerly known as Barnacles.  One of three restaurants on North Captiva Island.  Barnacles is now called “Mainstay”.  Change on the barrier islands usually comes at a slow rate and most islanders prefer this compared to the fast changes of the mainland.  This change of ownership from Barnacles to Mainstay is a great change for the island, as well as for boaters who have been visiting North Captiva for decades.

The biggest change to the island restaurant and a favorite change for the islanders is a full liquor bar.  In all the years of past the restaurant only served beer and wine, so the added full liquor bar is a welcome addition. Enjoy a Captiva Breeze, Mainstay Mule or the Caribbean favorite the Painkiller.

Tom Capallo and his team manage the Mainstay Restaurant.  When I was talking with Tom more about the recent changes to the menu, he indicated the beef and pork they use is smoked and prepared on the island.  Brisket tacos with verde sauce is one of the employee’s and patron’s favorites along with the fish tacos.  The conch fritters are also a tasty appetizer leaving your taste buds saturated with flavor.

Other additions to the legendary restaurant is a round chickee by the water providing more shade and tables.  Upstairs above the restaurant you will find some items islanders and boaters will appreciate.  They sell ice cream, milk, aspirin, Bloody Mary mix, assorted cheeses, fresh dips and Mainsail logo items such as t-shirts and hats.

If you are looking for a fun boat adventure for lunch on the barrier islands, half the fun is getting there.  Travel by boat, plane, kayak or paddle board to the Mainstay Restaurant on North Captiva Island and stay awhile.  It can be a hard place to leave once you settle in.

If you go by boat:

Travelling in the intracoastal waterway coming from north or south, turn west(270degrees on a compass) at marker 48 towards the island until you reach the channel markers leading you into Safety Harbor around the historic fish house to the Mainstay Restaurant. Be aware of slow for manatee signs and no wake areas.

Coming from the Gulf of Mexico by boat through Captiva Pass, once inside Pine Island Sound, head south towards the channel markers leading you around the historic fish house into Safety Harbor towards the Mainstay Restaurant.

Brian Holaway
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