INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — The Original Crabby Bill’s has become a local staple for residents and visitors alike, and the Loders are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their family-owned seafood restaurant.

Over time, the Loders’ restaurant business has grown from a single beach hot spot at 401 Gulf Blvd. into an eatery empire that includes JD’s Lounge, Jake’s Coastal Cantina, Pipo N Betty’s bakery and Guilty Sea Sports Pub in Indian Rocks Beach and Bon Appetit in Dunedin.

According to an April 15 post by Matt Loder Sr. on the Original Crabby’s Facebook page, the family plans to celebrate the milestone in style with a weekend full of games, entertainment and specials.

“On April 28, 1983, we first opened Crabby Bills,” Loder writes. “My parents Dolores and Bill have created a family business that’s lasted four decades. Brothers and sisters and many others who became part of our Crabby Bills family have made something special. Today, our Crabby Bills family continues the tradition my parents began so long ago. Join us on our anniversary celebration weekend it’s going to be very special. Thank you.”

A flyer posted on the page notes the festivities will include a Crabby’s bar crawl on Friday, April 28; live music and games, including an ’80s costume contest and a grouper weight game, as well as food and drink specials throughout the weekend; and a 40th anniversary pint glass giveaway on Sunday, April 30.

Those commenting on the post mention their personal Crabby Bill’s memories.

“Crabby Bill’s is the first place, well first, second, third … and last place we go,” wrote one regular visitor to the Tampa Bay area. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner, always the best!”

“(I) was there for the original grand opening and it was so fun!!” another said. “Congrats to the Crabby’s family and thank you for continuing the celebration!”

Following the Loders’ purchase of JD’s, an island landmark, for a reported $3.2 million in February 2022, Indian Rocks Beach Mayor Cookie Kennedy praised the family for their years of reinvesting in the community.

“Crabby’s and the Loders have been a great partner to Indian Rocks Beach for more than 30 years,” Kennedy said, noting they sponsor several city events and donate food for many civic functions “JD’s has been a very popular venue for a long time, and the owners wanted to sell it to them knowing the Loder family is going to continue running it as-is, with some minor changes. So, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Since then, the Loders’ restaurant portfolio expanded to Dunedin with the August purchase of Bon Appetit, a popular waterfront dining spot, and the family opened IRB’s first sports bar, the Guilty Sea Sports Pub, last December following a lengthy remodel of the rundown building at 301 Gulf Blvd.

“It was probably one of the longest and most difficult projects that we’ve ever done,” Matt Loder Jr. said during a December commission meeting while crediting sister Mia Corrales for overseeing the rebuild. 

With Loder siblings, cousins and in-laws playing key roles in the organization, and their many contributions to Indian Rocks Beach, Matt Loder Sr. is continuing the tradition established by his parents 40 years ago. 

“We think it’s an advantage that we aren’t some large, out-of-state corporation, but just a sizable family business where everyone helps out,” Loder said following the JD’s purchase. “We’re always going to do the right thing. I know there’s this image out there and we know we’ll always have to fight it, but it’s the complete opposite of what we are. We’re all about the community and building relationships.”

When asked why his family receives so much blowback for everything from expanding their operation to suggesting city leaders search for parking solutions on the tiny barrier island, Loder said with a smile, “When you’ve been around as long as we have, you’re going to make friends and enemies.”