Frank Strunk III • Backfin Blue Cafe 

Ask for Strunkbow.

click to enlarge FRAMED: Strunk lining up a shot of his picture-perfect prime rib before commencing demolition.

Todd Bates

FRAMED: Strunk lining up a shot of his picture-perfect prime rib before commencing demolition.

What he orders: Prime rib with jumbo lump crab cake, mashed potatoes and gravy, with Strongbow cider to wash it all down.

When you go: Ask for “Strunkbow,” named as such after Strunk started asking the restaurant to carry Strongbow. When you order a Strunkbow, you may be presented with a variety of rewards for your insider status. Backfin Blue has given discounted or gratis appetizers or beer to those ordering Strunkbows.

Why Strunk eats there: “I usually eat bologna sandwiches,” says Strunk as he cuts into a beautiful piece of prime rib. But he springs for a big meal from time to time between welding and melding in his Gulfport studio, and Harold Russell's Beach Boulevard institution has been the artist's go-to spot for 11 years. He had started swing dancing at the Gulfport Casino (yes, the very rugged Strunk is exceedingly light on his feet) and met longtime friend/Backfin Blue server Bethany Reynolds there.

Other haunts: Sake Bomb, The Bends, Smokin’ J’s BBQ, Engine No. 9, and Taco Bus.

Keep your eyes peeled for: Strunk’s Facebook posts offering friends free bologna sandwiches to anyone cruising by his studio. He has provided nourishment to a good number of the area’s creative community, including this writer.

Backfin Blue Café, 2913 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 727-343-2583.

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