The place: Rotten Ralph’s, on the Bridge Street Pier, Bradenton Beach, (941) 778-1604.
The fare: Does it really matter what’s on the menu for breakfast, lunch or dinner when you’re comfortably seated in the shade on a pier over the Intracoastal Waterway enjoying the sea breeze on a fine Florida day?
The bottom line: For some it’s a cliché, but for most of us Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger In Paradise is an anthem, if not the foundation, of a certain way of life. The cheeseburger at Rotten Ralph’s will set you back $7, a small price to pay for admission to a little slice of heaven. It comes cooked to your order, plump and juicy, topped with a choice of four cheeses (make mine Swiss) and the prescribed lettuce and tomato, sided with the requisite French fried potatoes (or chips, if you dare deviate from the song’s script). At lunch or dinner, a cold beer goes down smoothly as the pelicans glide by and the sea gulls attempt to talk you into handing over your burger.