top of page
Beach Fench

About Us

We are formally known as the Murphy's, informally Murph & Deb. Here is our story.

 

My name is Debra Ventura Murphy. I am a second-generation Italian/Irish American with paternal roots in Sicily. I am the youngest of seven children, and the only daughter, from a small beach town in southern New Jersey. My husband Michael, is the baby of four boys and also has roots at the Jersey Shore, being born in the Philadelphia area. Although he loves Italian food, he is of Irish descent.

 

Growing up in a large Italian household, My father was the cook in our home. My Nona passed down the family recipes. I, at an early age, was tasked with rolling pasta and canning tomatoes before being promoted to meatball rolling and artichoke stuffing. Our Sunday mornings were spent making dinner, not just any dinner, but Sunday Gravy (sauce) using the freshest seasonal, often homegrown ingredients, homemade pasta, sauces with meats, fresh vegetables picked from the garden, and even fresh seafood caught by my brothers. Life was different then. The food was fresh, made with love and always surrounded by family and friends. No one was ever turned away from Sunday Dinner and the table always grew. As I married, the dinners shifted to our home and our garden, becoming our traditions, and today, the table still grows here at Ventura's and on Sundays, you can come and be a small part of our family tradition with a limited amount of Sunday Gravy offered on the menu. My mom Fran, although not the cook of the home, always knew how to fill each seat at the table and was the entertainer. Today, she can be found doing what she does best, entertaining our new family and friends at Ventura's.

 

Over the years, I have found my love for cooking to be contagious. I find joy in not only preparing the meal but watching others have joy in what I have prepared with love. I have worked 30+ years in restaurants and other types of hospitality and have a genuine love for people. Now, I have brought my love for cooking and people together. I believe fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients are always the better option, and make a difference on the table. Although I do not cook every night of the week, you will find me back there stirring things up most nights. I like to call my recipes Jersey Italian-American.

 

People always ask Mike and me why and how we landed in Longboat Key, in this building and its history. Growing up at the beach is different. We grew up with sandy toes, literally, and for the past 20 + years, we have traveled to find our forever home, we kept finding ourselves coming back to the west coast of Florida, particularly LBK and AMI, and a few years ago our friends purchased a home here and so we made our decision this would be where we kick off our flip-flops. This building has a history as well, It was opened as a Steakhouse and converted to a Mexican restaurant, and sometime in the mid 90's it became the Bayou Tavern, where it had success for many years. The bar has a supposed history as well, it was shipped here many, many years ago from Chicago where it was a speakeasy bar., the story goes it may have been frequented by a notorious mobster.

 

Welcome to our family.

Deb & Mike

bottom of page