by RRR

When I moved to Sarasota, Florida from Chicago in the early 1990’s, my first job straight out of college was waiting tables at the super high-end seafood restaurant, Charley’s Crab.  Located on swanky St. Armand’s, Lido Key, Charley’s Crab was a hot spot for rich tourists and celebrities.  With a college degree in finance and business, I turned down jobs offers left and right from Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Arthur Andersen because I making 3X the money serving said swanky diners.

So, it was at this restaurant that a successful 25 year career in hospitality was born.  It was really my calling, I love everything about this industry and it fits my personality like a glove.  Even though, at times, it felt like O.J.’s Isotoner.  Eventually, I got fired from this job (the first and only time, ever!) because the manager claimed that my shirt was wrinkly.  Well, what do you expect?  I changed into my uniform in the Siesta Beach public bathroom a half an hour before my shift!

That was my crew’s daily ritual.  Hit the beach in the morning, work a shift, make $250 cash and hit the bars at night.  Life was outrageously fun and carefree.  So, yeah, no thank you Merrill Lynch.

This gazpacho is truly, the best I have ever tasted.  I ate it nearly every night for dinner.  Plus it helped me keep my summer bod year round.  The recipe was created by Charley Crab’s founder Chuck Muer, who died with his wife, tragically, in a boating accident off the coast of the Bahamas.  To this day, the gazpacho is still on the menu, though now the restaurant is named Crab & Fin.  The secret ingredient is (wait for it) Wishbone’s Italian dressing.  Think about it, though.  Gazpacho is basically salad soup, so the dressing makes sense.  Trust me on this.  Serve the gazpacho with a cucumber spear, a dollop of sour cream and homemade croutons and you’ve got the real deal.

Serve with Joe’s Stone Crab Classic Crab Cakes and Romano’s Macaroni Grill Shrimp Portofino and Enjoy!

Charley's Crab Gazpacho Soup

Serves: 4 quarts Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1 very large English cucumber, peeled 50%, de-seeded and small dice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 green pepper, small dice
  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, juice included
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1 ½ cups of Wishbone Italian dressing
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic gloves, grated
  • 2 TBL fresh basil, julienned
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Croutons (optional)


In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Serve very chilled and top with a dollop of sour cream and croutons (homemade pref.)



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