TBT: That time we wrote about a fake restaurant that served manatee



This year we're celebrating our 25th year in existence. And, so, every Thursday we'll be taking a look back at a few of our favorite highlights while covering the vibrant Central Florida scene.

This week, we look back at "Eat at Dougs," a satirical article in which our writer Jeffrey Billman purported to have stumbled on a secret restaurant that served manatee. Perhaps, just maybe, in retrospect, we went a little too far. Here's an excerpt: 

Jim and Bub watched each other, smirking. Ultimately, Bub couldn't keep quiet anymore. "Mr. Billman, you're about to tear into a 100-percent, grade-A, free-range, Florida-raised dugong steak."

"Dugong?" I asked.


The article, a cover story which was published May 22, 2003 (we didn't even have the excuse of April Fools' Day), detailed the long and secretive trip out to a shack out in the middle of the Everglades where, for a price, customers could chow down the beloved marine mammal sometimes also called a "dugong." Get it? "Eat at Doug's"?

Needless to say, people fell for it, and 12 years later, they still do. 


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.