PASS-A-GRILLE, Fla. -- Dave Serjak once saw a seagull eat an entire club sandwich. All four quarters. In one dive-bomb.
“It ate everything but the fries in the middle,” says Serjak, who cooks at Paradise Grille, a Pass-a-Grille beach hangout hot with locals, tourists and hangry seagulls. “He just went for the good stuff.”
Serjak is the unofficial seagull bouncer at Paradise Grille, which is known for good food, cheap beer and top-flight people watching.
The restaurant's one drawback? The birds.
Serjak installed a wire above the outdoor patio to keep birds away from diners.
“People don’t understand that if you feed the birds, they’re going to get worse,” says Serjak. “There’s so many people who come here from all over and they don’t realize the birds can get aggressive.”
Beach bars and businesses say this is a good time of year to remind people of Seagull Awareness.
The weather is nice. The water is getting warmer. Locals are finally joining tourists on the beaches. And seagulls waiting all winter are now going into a feeding frenzy.
The seagulls are especially aggressive after a storm when no one is on the beach and on the weekend when the beach is packed with people.
Paradise Grille manager Barb Reed tells all her customers: Keep your food low and covered when possible. Or else...
“You’re going to get swarmed,” Reed says. “They’ll take the food right off your plate.”
Serjak says seagulls love one group of beachgoers in particular.
“Please watch your kids a little better,” Serjak says. “You get a kid dangling a fry out there, and that’s it. Seagulls get more aggressive when they hear kids screaming. It’s like smelling the weakness.”