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Anniversary party to feature bands, crawfish

By JORGE SANCHEZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


Chassahowitzka may be hard to spell and a little difficult to find, but the town's best-known diner/watering hole is throwing a second anniversary bash Saturday, complete with two live bands and a mound of Louisiana crawfish.

Jake's Place, 8501 W Miss Maggie Drive, is the local hangout in Chassahowitzka. The place shares the community's offbeat character. A guitar-picking alligator, painted on the front wall, greets visitors as they pull into the parking lot. Inside, the decor is a blend of backwater relics, casual NASCAR and lots of country music. One wall is covered with photos of regular customers enjoying a meal and perhaps a cold beer or two.

There is no one actually named Jake in the management team. The name comes from a blend of the first names of Jan and Kelly O'Shea. They have a lengthy track record of restaurant ownership, but that's not what led them to buy the place. The O'Sheas are among many people who visited Citrus County, fell in love with the place and decided to live here.

"Kelly was working at a temporary job in Florida Power," Jan O'Shea said. "We actually traveled around to different power plants as part of our job. We just decided we wanted to stay here." They purchased the diner, formerly known as Jim Bob's Gas and Shrimp, made a few cosmetic changes, and two years later, they are having a party to share their success.

"We're flying in 300 pounds of crawfish from Louisiana," Kelly O'Shea said. "We're going to boil them up Cajun style, along with new potatoes."

The crawfish ($6.95) will be served on the patio outside, beginning at 2 p.m. That's also when the first of two bands is scheduled to play. Johnny Lobo will play outside during the crawfish boil. The Minus One Band, a country band, takes over inside beginning at 5 p.m., followed by Karaoke with Jay.

Inside, the regular menu will be available, with items such as burgers, wings and weekend specials.

To find Jake's, take U.S. 19 south, past Homosassa Springs and Sugarmill Woods, to County Road 480 (Miss Maggie Drive) and turn right (west). Look for Jake's Place on the right about 1.5 miles down. Call 382-2427.

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