1817 San Marco Road, Marco
How time flies when you’re having fun! And that’s just what Larry D is doing at La Casita Restaurant — having fun and calling it ‘home.’ In season, he sings there seven nights a week, and that’s been going on for six years. He must be doing something right.
With his soft, mellow voice, his songs take in every genre. He sings songs appropriate to the people that are dining and per their requests — and there are many.
“I look at everybody and think ‘what can I play to make them happy?’ If it’s a young crowd, they get the latest music, middle age people like Motown, and the older folks like ’50s and ’60s music,” D said. “And when the kids are restless, I’m a babysitter, too. I start out with the Chicken Dance, Macarena, and Hokey Pokey and we have a fun time while the parents eat dinner in peace.”
Some of the same children have been coming back for the last six years, D said.
“I never did the Chicken Dance when I first started ‘babysitting’ but it’s kind of fun. The best thing the children like when they’re sitting down is when I bring the microphone to the table and ask them to sing. That’s something they say they’ll always remember,” he continued.
When not on stage, D walks through the audience as he sings and gives the adults the opportunity to sing as well. But while on stage, if there is a large crowd, he politely asks the audience if the music is too loud. Now, that’s being considerate.
He is such a homey kind of guy with a great personality, soft easy listening voice, who plays requests, and hardly ever takes a break. It’s not unusual for repeat customers to come in and wave to him. He always waves back.
Tending to sing with his hand in his pocket he says it’s because he sings a lot of Sinatra songs and Sinatra always had his hand in his pocket. It’s a way of being more comfortable, he explained.
His first introduction to La Casita happened while working at the Holiday Inn in Ft. Myers Beach. Someone from La Casita heard him sing and later told the restaurant’s owners they just had to hear him themselves. So they did and he was then formally invited to La Casita.
“Marco Island is a long way from Ft. Myers and on the way down, not really knowing where I was going, I said to myself ‘I’m never coming here again!’ But after I sang there the first night, it was really nice and the owner asked me to come back. I started checking my calendar and the rest is history. I’ve been here ever since,” D explained.
He has a rather impressive background. In addition to his gig at La Casita, he owns Larry D’s Entertainment and provides entertainment for Bayview and Vergina’s Restaurants. He also has his own eight-piece band called Larry D and the Boys. When he needs to do a show with them, which includes a lot of conventions, he has a substitute sing for him at La
“The owners have been very good to me about that. They let me train other singers here as well. We get along really good. I love this place,” he emphatically stated.
One of the singers he’s worked with, Vonzell Solomon, came in third on “American Idol.” He gave her a start in show business and is also her manager. He said she is doing well. Last year, another of his singers, Princess Johnson, made it to the top 40 on “American Idol” in Hollywood.
As far as his own singing career is concerned, Larry was invited to audition last Sunday evening in Orlando for the “America’s Got Talent” show.
“I sure could use $1 million,” he said. Three people will be chosen to go to Hollywood in June for the next round. We may well be seeing Larry D on television.
Currently, Larry D performs every Thursday through Saturday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. He will soon be singing seven nights a week. To contact Larry D for entertainment, call 334-4747 or 209-4683.
For reservations, call La Casita Restaurant at 642-7600 which is located at 1817 San Marco Rd. in the San Marco Plaza.