The building housing Willie’s was built by a Mr. Lubeck Brandon in 1915 and was used as a general store. In 1922 Mr. A.L. Porter purchased the building and continued the same type of business until 1941 when he sold out to his daughter and son-in-law, Zaidee and Henry Sharrar. The store was operated by them as a general store selling groceries, dry goods, fuel, feed and in the words of Zaidee Sharrar, “anything that would turn a dollar.” During this period it also housed the U.S. Post Office. They sold the building in 1970 to the Russell family to become the home of Fat Willie’s Fish Camp.
“Fat Willie’s,” as it became known to the people far and wide, was patterned after the many seafood restaurants Mr. Robinson patronized while living and traveling in North Carolina and are called “Fish Camps” by the locals. When he returned to his native state of Florida, Mr. Robinson brought the fish camp concept with him and opened his own restaurant.
The fish camp concept is one of simplicity and quality. The idea is to do a few things very well. To do seafood well you must always keep it fresh. This is accomplished by keeping it iced until the moment its cooked. Nothing is prepared ahead and all seafood products are iced until the order reaches the kitchen. This simple program assures freshness, but of course it helps to only buy the very highest quality seafood products available.
Mr. Robinson sold the restaurant in 1998, but it was reacquired by the Robinson family in October of 2000 and is now Willie’s, the Place for Seafood.