FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2015) –The Veranda restaurant in downtown Fort Myers is getting ready to say goodbye to one of its longest and most endearing waiters.
Larry Forsyth will hang up his black tuxedo for the last time following the dinner shift on Saturday, March 21 after 27 years with the iconic downtown dining institution.
“He’s the quintessential waiter and a really great guy,” said Paul Peden, who owns and operates the Veranda with his son Craig. “He’s always been a solid, quiet leader.”
Forsyth started working for the Pedens in 1978 when they opened the Shallows restaurant in south Fort Myers. When the Shallows sold in 1988, he transitioned to the Veranda.
“I grew up with Larry,” said Craig, who at the age of 18 began working with him at the Shallows. “He’s truly like family, and we are really going to miss him.”
“Larry was our server the first time we ever dined at the Veranda with our family on Mother’s Day,” said Dr. Paul Rosete of Cape Coral, who with his wife Randi has been dining at the Veranda since 1990. “Our kids grew up at the same time his kids grew up, and it’s really like family every time we dine there.”
Dr. Rosete said Forsyth’s calm demeanor is what he will miss most of his friend’s retirement.
“He’s like Teflon; no matter what is going on, Larry never gets angry. He just lets everything fall away and remains even in his stride and stays calm and smooth.”
“There are so many wonderful people I’ve met over the years,” Forsyth said. “You get to know one generation and then the next and in some cases, even a third.”
Forsyth says the interaction with people is what he will miss the most.
“Just talking about life in general with people – their ups and downs and family. You get to know a lot of people really well after this long,” he said.
“Larry has always been my waiter, and I’m certainly sad to hear he’s going to retire,” said Bob Martilla who has been dining at the Veranda since moving to Fort Myers from Detroit in 1986. “Larry is a great waiter; he knows me very well and knows what things I like and how I like them.”
With his newfound free time, Forsyth said he’s looking forward to volunteering in the community with his wife Pamela. The couple has been married for 38 years and has two children – a son who is an Army Captain at Fort Hood, Texas, and a daughter, an attorney who works for Charles Schwab in Orlando.
“There’s been so many great repeat customers over the years,” Forsyth said. “It’s been a good ride.”
The Veranda is celebrating 37 years of business in 2015. Located at 2122 Second Street in two turn-of-the-century Victorian homes in downtown Fort Myers, the restaurant features Southern regional cuisine with a full bar, extensive wine list and first-class service in a romantic setting. The Veranda is consistently honored as one of the most award-winning restaurants in the area.
Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. A mid-day menu is served Monday through Friday from 2 until 4 p.m. Dinner is served Monday through Saturday from 5:30 until 10 p.m. Private dining is also available from 10 to 400 guests. Live entertainment is featured in the Veranda’s piano lounge Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30. Valet or street parking is available.
For reservations and more information, visit www.verandarestaurant.com.