O’Steen’s

O’Steens, a landmark seafood joint in St. Augustine, Florida, opened in 1964 or 1965—no one can quite remember when—after a 1963 Florida East Coast Railway strike. The thirty-five-seat eatery served meat-and-three specials like liver and onions and fried chicken, as well as regional favorites like pilau and Minorcan clam chowder. Over the years, the cracker-meal fried shrimp garnered a loyal following: crowds of locals and tourists are known to wait three hours for a table.

Lawrence “Lonnie” Pomar assumed the O’Steen’s helm in 1982. He manages the restaurant and his wife, Barbara, keeps the books. This St. Augustine institution hasn’t changed much over fifty years because, Lonnie says, quality and consistency are all part of O’Steen’s charm—and the secret to its longevity.

This Greenhouse film by Troy Stains tells the story of O’Steen’s.

Hear Lonnie’s story in this oral history interview by Anna Hamilton, part of our Minorcans of St. Augustine project.