Portside Tavern, in Port Charlotte, has long been known as a neighborhood pub, a place to go meet and make friends and where no one is a stranger.

Joe and Tammy Grieger have been the owners of the Portside since 2003, and prior to that, it was owned by Joe’s family. One might say it is truly a family business.

“My parents owned it for 28 years, and I worked for my father for 10 years of that,” Joe said. “Then I went off to do a little traveling with my wife (Tammy), and eventually we decided that we wanted to raise a family, so we came back to Port Charlotte.”

Tammy had been traveling around the world installing computer systems for commercial airlines, so was happy to be able to come back home with Joe and settle into the family business.

The couple has kept the tavern much as it always was, with both indoor seating and a patio out front, blocked from the road by large plants. It is more than just a bar, though, they also offer a full menu of food with appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, salads, pizzas and more than 30 different types of hot dogs.

Tammy says that they are just as focused on the food aspect of the Portside as the alcohol.

“Everything we make here is made in-house,” she said. “We want to offer a great food product at a great price.”

The couple also makes their customers a priority, scheduling different events during the week for their entertainment.

Mondays and Wednesdays are Ladies’ Nights, Tuesday is Taco Tuesday, Monday Thursday and Saturday are for karaoke and Sundays, they run hot dog specials on hot dogs and beers, and have a live band on the patio from 2 to 5 p.m.

Joe said he’s getting ready to begin something new on Friday nights.

“We’re going to start doing a Country Music Dance Night,” he said. “From 5 to 8 p.m., there will be a band out on the patio and then a D.J. inside from 9 p.m. on.”

Snowbirds certainly find their way to the Portside, but the clientele primarily consists of locals, who Tammy said are primarily friendly, working-class people.

For Joe and her, this is why they came home all those years ago.

“I just love the people and it’s like a family here,” she said. “There are generations of families who come here, and if you need something, you come to the Portside and you ask.”

Portside Tavern is located at 3636 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, and is open Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday, from 7 a.m. to midnight. For more information, visit the website at www.theportside.com or call 941-629-3055.

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