Since 1987 Harr’s Surf & Turf Market has been serving Palm Harbor the finest selection in meats, the freshest seafood and so much more. That’s why I can’t believe this place has been under my nose this whole time! After spending every spring break and summer vacation for the first 20 years of my life visiting my family in Tarpon Springs, five years ago I took a leap and moved down here from Los Angeles, CA. Since moving here, I have been seriously missing my gourmet and specialty markets. So when I walked into Harr’s Surf and Turf and took in their huge selection of corn and grain fed beef, literally ‘off the boat’ fresh seafood, over 250 artisan beers, countless wine labels and a variety of fine, aged cheeses, you can imagine my delight. This market has everything from everyday items like delicious Boar’s Head deli meats to the divine, such as bacon-wrapped filet mignon or fresh crab-stuffed flounder, ready to put in the oven. And for the adventurous cook, there are even prime cuts of buffalo and ostrich.
Ervin Harr has worked in the meat industry since 1961. Originally he had a meat market in St. Petersburg, Florida. Later, he moved his family to Orlando, where they owned and operated a restaurant, but they soon missed their family in Pinellas County and he and his wife Beverly moved back to the area and opened Harr’s Surf & Turf, located in the Shoppes at Cloverplace on Tampa Road in Palm Harbor. Ervin recalls, “When we moved into this location Tampa Road was just two lanes and nothing was developed in Oldsmar. It was just the old boot from Boot Ranch Rd and a lot of land.” Beverly chimes in, “I remember when we first opened; it was just the two of us and three employees.”
Today, with 23 years under their belts, they have 37 employees. At Harr’s it is truly a family affair – from every generation. “Our kids grew up in this store,” recounts Beverly. “Now we have a grandmother, a great-grandmother, three kids and grandchildren all working here. In addition, many of our customers’ kids grew up shopping here and today they are adults bringing their kids in.”
As a result, they have a devoted customer base that they treat like family. “I’ve been going to Harr’s since I was five years old and it’s just as good now that I’m 22,” says Harr’s customer Alex. “They have literally everything you could need there to cook a nice dinner. Their selection of cheese is fabulous. I live in Orlando now, but whenever I go home to visit my parents I make it a point to stop in and do some shopping.”
At Harr’s, family pride shines through from the high standards they hold for quality products to their commitment to service. Beverly’s son, Chef Stephen Innocenzi, explains, “We are a full service market where customer service is our priority. From the time our customers enter the store they are handled on a one-on-one basis from meat to produce to wine each customer will be working with one employee to ensure that their needs are met.”
They will custom cut meat to suit your needs or marinade fish before wrapping it up for you to take home and prepare. Sam Kinnamen, who has been a customer for 15 years, affirms, “They don’t let people stand around. I send new neighbors and friends there all the time, in addition to the high quality meats and seafood, they give such personalized service. They treat you as if they were coming to your house for dinner. We routinely buy Beverly’s famous lasagna and their sides are out of this world! They have so much to offer; their tuna salad is made with fresh tuna and they have 22 different varieties of kabobs that are delicious!”
Chef Stephen is the general manager overseeing all of their daily operations and their own personal celebrity chef. In addition to running the market, he also works on putting out many new and delicious recipes; you can find anything from stuffed mushrooms to his famous spaghetti sauce with the ‘Chef Stephen’ personal label. “I create recipes here and then I teach them to my employees,” he explains. His sister Carmen is the produce manager and helps with everything from cooking to catering and their brother Jimmy oversees the portable Surf & Turf Smoke House Bar-B-Que. When Beverly asked Jimmy to tell me about their BBQ, Jimmy quickly responded, “It’s the best barbecue ever! That’s what I heard yesterday.”
At Harr’s Surf & Turf Market, you’ll find the answer to the ever-present question, what’s for dinner? Harr’s offers gift cards, hard to find gourmet grocery items and out of state shipping. To get the full service experience, I recommend that you go in and see for yourself, but a word to the wise – don’t go hungry, unless of course you are going for lunch. Mark your calendars now because on Thursday, February 10th, Harr’s Surf & Turf will have a Valentine’s Day Wine Tasting Event.
For more information, call 727-785-8873 or 727-787-6758 and ask for Chef Stephan.
Story and images courtesy of East Lake Area Neighborhood News