Lunch at Flo's
It was hot and sticky the afternoon Percy Darville pulled his skiff up to a dock in the subtle Bahamian settlement of Little Harbor Cay. The mountain of bleached conch shells flowing slowly into sea with the speed of an Alaskan glacier should have been our first clue as to what we could expect for lunch.
“Just follow that path up the hill,” Percy said. “You can go right in.”
We dutifully marched up the bank of the small island — one of dozens that make up the Berry Islands. At the top of the hill stood Flo’s Conch Shack — a true Bahamian institution and a little hide-away, hole-in-the-wall destination that has served the Berry Islands for generations. Percy’s brother Chester has run the place for years, and took over the operation from Flo, the restaurant’s namesake and the pair’s mother.
We stepped into the shade of the screened-in dining area and the enticing smell of cracked conch wafted into our faces, pushed by a pair of oscillating fans. Dollar bills lined the bright pink walls of this subtly famous “diner” — it gets a unique clientele, ranging from divers and anglers to honest-to-God movie stars. If it matters — and on that day, when I just wanted one of Chester’s famous ice-cold rum punches to push back the day's heat, it didn’t matter a lick — even Brad Pitt has graced the establishment.
The words scrawled on its tin roof say it all: “You welcome.” You can’t help but channel up your best Bahamian accent and say it aloud.
You can only get to Flo’s by boat, and Percy, who’s guided anglers on the Berry Islands for half a century (yep, you read that right), will have you on bonefish and triggerfish in the morning, and then have you stuffing your face with his brother’s amazing cracked conch by lunchtime. Yeah, you’ve come to fish the Berry’s through Soul Fly Lodge (the only fly-fishing lodge on the island also boasts some of the best dining in the Bahamas, to be honest), but lunch at Flo’s … that’s an event all by itself.
Honestly? I didn’t want to leave. I love to chase fish on the flats. But goodness gracious, the chance to sit in the wake of the half dozen rust-tinged, oscillating fans working in tandem to turn Flo’s into a breezy oasis, drink an inappropriate amount of slushy rum punch, and feast on some of the best local fare in the Bahamas was just too damned good.
Rest assured, I’ll be back to visit Soul Fly Lodge and the flats of the Berry Islands. But I won’t do it if I can’t spend at least an hour or two at Flo’s.
Have lunch at Flo's
Soul Fly Lodge
Every flats angler knows about the bonefish of the Bahamas that cruise the white sand flats from Abaco and Andros to the far-flung family islands of Exuma and Mayaguana. But permit fishing can be a hit-and-miss proposition in the Bahamas — certainly, some cays and islands are home to bigger populations than others. But, the little-known stretch of reefs and cays known as the Berry Islands — home to one single fly fishing lodge — is emerging as the permit destination in the Caribbean.