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Florida Style Only: Guanabanas Keeps it Local

By Kelly Church

Guanabanas is a Jupiter, FL restaurant with a unique focus: to give each guest an authentic Florida dining experience, complete with exotic foliage outside, and tables under lit umbrellas. This restaurant's mission is to provide customers with an "overall sensory experience" that they can only find in Florida. General Manager Jon Sullivan says the restaurant can be considered risky due to weather in the southern portion of the state, but they knew guests would appreciate their "vision of the real Florida experience."

"I think it is pretty universal to enjoy sitting under palm trees enjoying a drink and some good food," Sullivan says. "We wanted a restaurant that when people think of Florida, they will think of us."

However, Guanabanas is more than just a tropical atmosphere. At this restaurant, the seafood is caught entirely from in-state fishermen. They participate in the Farm Fresh Florida campaign, an effort funded and supported by the state to focus on the agriculture opportunities within the state.

"We can verify our seafood sources down to the fisherman," Sullivan says. "This includes all of our fish, clams, shrimp and crab. We were among the first restaurants to join the campaign by committing to source 100% of our seafood from within the state of Florida. By doing this, we are supporting the economic development of Florida, supporting the fishing regulation that helps control the fisheries sustainability for long term health, and keeping Floridians employed."

Sullivan says that he finds no reason to have fish imported from out of state, when they have so much at their disposal locally. They try to highlight as much of the Florida culture as possible at Guanabanas, starting with the environment and culminating with the food.

"We try to not rely entirely on our ambiance by sourcing the best seafood possible and serving a variety of crafted cocktails to help round out the entire experience," Sullivan says.

Even their menu has a tropical twist. Customer favorites include their avocado, bacon, and mango salad, and the macadamia coconut encrusted fresh fish, which changes daily. Their number one cocktails are the coconut mojito or the category 5 hurricane, a nod to the area's notorious weather.

What started as a sandwich shop by a group of local Jupiter surfers in 2004 has turned into a lush, entirely open-air full-service restaurant that even features live music. But, no matter how unique the environment, Guanabanas maintains the local Floridian atmosphere by never straying from locally sourced food and inspired drinks.

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