It started last year, when Stella’s and O’Maddy’s entered the first-ever Gulfport Recycle Regatta. The two restaurants shared a few waitresses and many customers but couldn’t share the title of winner.
To this day, winning the 2012 Recycle Regatta Cup remains a point of pride for Stella's, who triumphed over O'Maddy's. One thing was clear this year, though: in 2013, the two stalwarts of the culinary community would not be denied their rematch. Several months ago, the two business owners shared a beer and ribbed each other over who would beat who in the upcoming regatta around Williams Pier.
The regatta, part of the annual AquaMania celebration, welcomes any competitor with a boat made with recycled or reused materials. Competitors must build their own boats.
No one paid attention to newcomers J.P. Brewer and Fred Metzler, who bought On The Rocks and turned it into Salty’s. They laughed at Biff and Angela Lagan, who bought the Beach Bazaar, when they saw their boat, made with old cardboard and covered with cerulean paint from the county’s “Swap Shop” – a place for people to get free paint and chemicals dropped off by people who no longer need it.
Turns out, the new kids had the last laugh. Stella’s fancy boat – complete with sail – need a tow from the competition to get started. O’Maddy’s resorted to trying to wake the Lagan’s recycled cardboard rowboat with a personal watercraft when it became apparent the Lagans were in line for the trophy.
The cardboard rowboat took first place with several minutes to spare, followed by the beer-keg-and-bamboo-boat from Salty’s.
By the time O’Maddy’s and Stella’s crossed the finish line, the Lagans had already accepted the trophy for first place and had their photo taken for the Gabber. Salty’s, who flew into the finish line second, were on their second post-race beer.
“At least we beat O’Maddy’s,” Salty’s owner Fred Metzler said. The price of the loss? O’Maddy’s co-owner Joe Guenther told Brewer and Metzler if they beat his crew he would wear a pink, spaghetti-strap, ladies size small “Salty’s” tank top at work for the next week. Sources close to Mr. Guenther tell the Gabber he does not typically wear a size small.
“At least we beat Stella’s,” Mr. Guenther said of the loss.