We've all been up at the Port. For me, many years ago, it was to host a party every Tuesday at Fishlips, or a short lived Saturday night party at Milliken's Reef. Lately, when I go to the Port it's either for the Annual Chowder Cook-Off or to meet up with some friends that come over from Orlando for the night. From Grills to the newest restaurant Rising Tide, Port Canaveral has great food, great views and coming soon a new aquarium! But the main source of tourism in Port Canaveral is the cruise boats. You've seen them from 528. They're massive. They can be seen even before you get up to the entrance. And just recently, the Port made history having 6 cruise boats at port at one time. Thousands of visitors came in from OIA. Took a bus to Brevard. And set sail on multiple days to an island in the Caribbean. That effort hasn't gone unnoticed. Port Canaveral has becoming the world's go-to port for vacationers looking for a family vacation. And who else better to talk about the history and the future of Port Canaveral, than Port Commissioner Wayne Justice.
I met Commissioner Justice actually at the Chowder Cook-off a few years back and he started to tell me about his story. How he used to be in the military and even was one of the people who carried the "Nuclear Football" for President George H.W. Bush. Yeah, he carried the nuclear codes people! So when I wanted to learn more about what's happening in Port Canaveral I knew we had to talk to him! Plus, let's be honest, I wanna know more about what it's like to have that kind of power in carrying nuke codes!
So here's the newest "Dinner and Drinks" episode, and in this episode we took the show to a new location. For many years, you may have heard me brag about Pappagallo's. I used to work for Dave Rich and Pappagallo's before I got in the radio business back in the early 2000's. And Dave, along with his wife Tricia, were previous guests on the podcast. So I picked up the phone, asked Dave if we could have some pizza and talk about the Port. Dave instantly said "YUP!" and here we are. Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean on Pappagallo's deck and learning about Port Canaveral!
Along with the Exploration Tower at the Port, pretty soon as we learned, the Brevard Zoo is assisting in building an aquarium for people to visit as well. So from the amazing views for rocket launches, great restaurant's to check out, and Jetty Park, a visit to Port Canaveral needs to be more than just a random night out. Things up there are moving quickly and I personally can't be more excited to see what the future has in store. Also, if one night after a SpaceX launch, Elon wants to grab a beer, hey dude I'm available!
So let's talk about Pappagallo's for a minute. Located in South Satellite Beach on A1A, this family-owned Italian restaurant does more than just pizza. My usual order is a stromboli but again they do so much more. Pasta dishes, specialty calzones, catering, and they're amazing outdoor bar is all but like 50 steps from the ocean. I've known Dave Rich since I first moved to Brevard back in 2000. He's been a close family friend and even more importantly Dave is a genuinely great person. He's always willing to help everyone with anything. You won't see him slacking off anywhere in the restaurant and chances are if he's not back in the kitchen, he's right there at the pizza counter literally 'throwing dough'. You meet Dave once, and he'll seriously remember you the next time you come in. And yeah, there will be a next time. The food's that amazing. And then there's his son Nik. We go waaaaaaaaaaaay back. From watching working at Pappagallo's back in the day, he was a kid and now he's back behind the bar making some seriously awesome drinks. He's doing food festival's and creating some great social media stuff for the restaurant. And I'm on record saying this, but he does make a better stromboli than his dad. I often beg Nik to make mine but when you're behind the bar you don't want flour getting in your gin and tonic. As you can tell, I'm passionate about Pappagallo's and I truly love the Rich family so much. I was even lucky enough one day to have Dave's mom make me stuffed peppers because one day while sitting at the counter I told Dave I hadn't had a good stuffed pepper in a while. He called his mom and the next day told me to stop by the restaurant and I had some of the best stuffed peppers in my life. Thanks Dave, Nik, Tricia, and everyone at Pappagallo's for always being my favorite place in Brevard!
Now take a look at what we DEVOURED in this episode!
And a final shout out to Commissioner Justice. For taking the time out to trip down to the SB and tell us his story. The work him and his staff are doing to make Port Canaveral the "World's Best Port To Take Cruise Out Of" is something we should all be proud about. Even his pride of having the SpaceX rockets being on displayed after they land back on the drone ships, you can tell he's loving what he's doing. Thanks again, and I know we'll see each other again soon in 2020 at the Chowder Cook-Off!