Behind Bars: Iron Rhino’s Karen Bushby

When it rains, she pores

Article Highlights

  • If it’s raining when a patron comes into the Iron Rhino, or if it starts raining while they’re there, the next drink, whether it’s a draft beer or a cognac, will only cost $1.

Iron Rhino Saloon

19800 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL

19800 Tamiami Trail East
Naples, FL
Phone: 239-393-3974

Located approximately 15 miles from Marco Island at the Royal Palm Hammock and the crossroads of San Marco Drive and the Tamiami Trail, the Iron Rhino is a fun-filled, family-friendly restaurant that boasts a great causal menu, and a venue ...

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Although it looks, feels and acts like a biker bar at night and a family restaurant during the day, don’t be shy about asking Iron Rhino Saloon bartender and general manager Karen Bushby for a martini. It’s her specialty.

“The white chocolate martini. And the lemon drop,” Bushby replied when asked about her favorite cocktails.

The specialty martini drinks came from Bushby’s nearly six years as a bartender at a now closed martini bar in Fort Myers that offered 1,500 different varieties of the cocktail.

A spin-off of classic martinis with gin and vermouth, a white chocolate martini and a lemon drop martini both consist of flavored vodka.

“I like when people come in and order martinis,” Bushby said.

She also likes the bar’s special on the weekends, when they offer $5 Bloody Mary drinks, which contains her own homemade mixer.

But her new favorite house special is called Dollar Days. If it’s raining when a patron comes into the Iron Rhino, or if it starts raining while they’re there, the next drink, whether it’s a draft beer or a cognac, will only cost $1.

“People love it,” Bushby said.

Bushby, a New Jersey native, visited her grandparents on Fort Myers Beach often after they moved to Florida in 1976 but didn’t make the move herself until about 10 years ago.

“When I decided to move, I knew of no other place,” Bushby said.

Before landing her current job at Iron Rhino, and after the Fort Myers bar she worked at closed down, she tended bar at two other Naples establishments that also closed: Spectator’s and Porky’s (which is now open) in Golden Gate.

“I landed at Gary (Viggiano’s) doorsteps on a Saturday afternoon and I wasn’t even looking for a job and he hired me on the spot,” Bushby said. She started work the next day.

Viggiano, the owner of Iron Rhino, said: “It was one of the best decisions I ever made. We cry on each other’s shoulders.”

Bushby’s oldest son Robby is a busboy on the weekends, and her husband, Chas Allen, is the bar’s handyman. The family atmosphere doesn’t end there. Viggiano’s son, James Pendulik, is the head chef.

“It’s a family,” Bushby said.

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Comments » 1

flashyfl writes:

I feel like letting us know Ms. Bushby's last job closed down twice was unnecessary, I also was not aware that you could print untruths in the newspaper. Robby Vince is not her son nor related to her or her so called husband Chas. I give this article 2 thunbs down.

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