This article is taken from The Miami Herald. Tuesday, June 10th 1986
By Joe Crankshaw
Herald Staff Writer
FORT PIERCE – When Charles “Chuck” Tabor sailed into the Port of Fort Pierce aboard the freighter Betty Weems in 1933, he didn’t know he had arrived at his new home, where he would meet his bride and become a popular restaurant operator.
On Monday, Tabor, 69 and his wife, Elodie, 68, celebrated 25 years as operators of Chuck’s Seafood Restaurant on 822 Seaway Dr. Because the restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, the couple, the friends and customers commemorated the event Sunday evening.
The Betty Weems was a famous ship in 1933. Three years before, it had been the first freighter to dock in the then-new Port of Fort Pierce.
Tabor got off the ship and wend to town and met Elodie Slay, then 16. Seven years later, they were married.
“We moved to Baltimore,” said Elodie. “That was Chuck’s home.” Chuck Tabor continued in the Merchant Marine, sailing along the coast and stopping in Charleston, Jacksonville, Miami and other places. “We loaded vegetables in Port Everglades when it was just one long slip in from the sea,” he said.
During World War II, Tabor sailed with the merchant marines in the second-largest convoy ever to cross the Atlantic and made supply runs into the Normandy Beachhead.
“That – the runs into the beachhead- was enough for conversations for years to come,” said Tabor.
The war’s end reduced the size of the merchant fleet, and Tabor went to work in a shipyard. When he got laid off, the couple decided to take a vacation in Fort Pierce with Elodie’s parents.
“We saw this place for sale and bought it,” Elodie Tabor said. The couple went back to Baltimore, sold their home and moved to Fort Pierce permanently.
“I thought she was going to do the cooking,” said Chuck Tabor with a chuckle. “But I do most of it.” Elodie Tabor makes the soups and chowders, but her husband does all the fry orders and heavy cooking.
Neither one knew much about cooking in large amounts when they started, but lack of knowledge did not hamper them.
“We still have our very first customer,” bragged Elodie Tabor, “and he is still our customer.” His name is Si Guard, and he is retired from the Coast Guard now. But he still comes in whenever he is in Fort Pierce.
Chuck’s Seafood Restaurant is a bit of old Florida. A nondescript, white, concrete block building, it has none of the pretensions of more modern restaurants.
“We can’t do anything to the outside because we lease the building form the Port Authority.” Said Elodie Tabor. Inside, the restaurant is 1940’s Florida with vinyl covered floors, formica tables, a wooden bar, beer signs hanging overhead, an eclectic collection of sea shells, nautical equipment and hats – all types of hats nailed to the exposed, overhead wooden beams.
“People come in here and leave their hats for us to put up,” said Chuck Tabor. “We make them put their name and addresses on them so that other people can know where they come from. We have had several people come in, read the names and recognize the owners of the hats.”
There are about 150 hats nailed to the ceiling. They range from a 1918 “Doughboy” hat to a bobby’s helmet from Cardiff, Wales.
“We had about 300 of them,” said Elodie, “but when the roof was fixed water and tar seeped down and ruined them, so we are starting over.