Alan Moore, who co-owns Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant with his brother, Paul Moore, and Robert Hicks, maintains he has no plans to make changes to the 40-year-old restaurant. At the Dec. 7 commission meeting, though, Mayor Lee Rothenberg questioned Moore’s statement, but Moore said the commission’s vote to re-zone the land from commercial to residential had essentially doubled the value of the land.
Moore contends that the re-zoning of the property will help to save the restaurant,s because it will allow him to renegotiate his double-digit, interest-rate business loans that are due in January by creating a financial exit strategy in case the business is no longer financially viable.
“I want to keep on going,” Moore said. “If I close this up tomorrow, I’m going to be out there looking for work.”
At the Dec. 7 meeting, the commission voted 4-3 to allow his request to move forward, despite the fact that the Planning & Zoning Board didn’t approve the request. Early next year, the commission will vote on the measure at second reading.
Moore is feeling optimistic, not just about his restaurant’s future, but about Longboat Key’s future. He sees the town as increasingly willing to think outside the box to help businesses like Moore’s survive. But for the restaurant to thrive, he says the island needs to draw more tourists.
Moore thinks that the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s proposed $400 million expansion plan is essential to bringing tourists back to the island. He also believes that transforming Whitney Beach Plaza, possibly by changing it from a commercially zoned property to a mixed-use property that could house tourism units, is essential.
Tourism was what drew Moore’s father, Pete Moore, and his uncle, Hughy Moore, to Longboat Key in 1967. They considered opening the family restaurant at the location of what is now the Seafood Shack, in Cortez, before settling on Longboat Key, because it was more touristy.
And the Moore family stone-crab tradition goes back even further than that: Moore’s grandfather, “Papa” Jack Moore lived in Cortez and began harvesting stone crabs in 1927 to sell at retail markets in Manatee County.
Both Moore brothers and Hicks plan to be in the stone-crab business for years to come. But, there is one change that’s ultimately inevitable at Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant. All of the Moore and Hicks children have watched their fathers working 60 to 70 hours a week at the restaurant. And, because of that, they plan on careers in fields other than the stone-crab business.
But, for now, Moore’s plans are simple.
“Our aim is to keep it going,” he said.
Occupation: Co-owner of Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant
Hometown: Cortez and Longboat Key
Interesting fact: The Moore family used to own a pet monkey named Molly.
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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