Gary Harkness is a Managing Partner with the Anna Maria Oyster Bars. He left Northern Ireland for Bradenton in 1980 where he was a rear gunner on a milk float in Belfast. He writes, “It was a great move and I found paradise! No more cold rainy days for me.” Gary hooked up with John Horne at a joint on Anna Maria Island called Fast Eddie’s, and has been in the restaurant business ever since because he loves the people he meets. Gary has one 28-year-old daughter in Wisconsin, with whom he’s planning a trip to go back home to Ireland to visit his 83-year-old mother. Gary also loves golf…. and telling lies!!!!!
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I get to meet a lot of interesting people. Everyone has a story. I should write a book about all of the situations that I have been involved in; never a dull moment! I would have to change my name…whoops, I already did!
(Ask him who Gary Harper is…)
Describe yourself using only film titles.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly… One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest… Cocktail… Cheech and Chong… Dunkirk… Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels… 9 1/2 Weeks.
Tell us about your approach to customer service.
Be nice to everyone! Make guests happy. It’s as simple as that.
What is your signature comfort food?
Seafood!!!! What else would it be, after 20+ years at the Oyster Bars?
What’s “your” karaoke song?
My music teacher gave me two options: skip singing, or move my lips. I went home.