Marion County, Florida’s only Key West style waterfront restaurant.
Established in 1926 on the water’s edge of Lake Weir, Gator Joe’s is a family friendly restaurant with a laid back atmosphere and island cuisine.
Gator Joe’s got its name from a famous alligator who lived in Lake Wier from approximately 1930 – 1952.
In 1934, while trying to find the Ma Barker Gang, the FBI intercepted a letter mentioning an “Old Joe” near the Barker hideout. Lake Weir was pinpointed as it was found to have a big gator known as “Old Joe”.
On January 16, 1935, the FBI found the Barker gang in a historic home ⅛ mile from Gator Joe’s and in a 4-hour gun battle, Ma and one of her sons were killed. “Joe” on the other hand lived until 1952.
Watch this very interesting history of the Ma Barker House
Legend has it that gang members had tried to kill Gator Joe on many occasions.
It wasn’t until 1952 that Joe crossed paths and was killed by a local gator hunter named Vic Skidmore.
Since then, Joe’s foot has had many homes throughout Florida and even Kentucky.
The foot was donated to Gator Joes from one of Vic’s friends, Mr. Jim Townlee.