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Matt Grover, Troy Syprett and Russell Matthes stand in front of the bar at Daiquiri Deck’s Siesta Key location. Photo by Rachel S. O'Hara.
Siesta Key Thursday, May. 10, 2012 5 years ago

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar expands their brand

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Like the five types of oysters Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar has on its menu, the island-themed restaurant and bar captures the unique flavor of each region in which its restaurants reside.

And now, Daiquiri Deck, a brand held by SMG that was founded in 1993, will expand its regional focus once again this fall with a new restaurant in Venice.

SMG co-owner and Vice President of Operations Matt Grover, Daiquiri Deck President and co-owner Troy Syprett and Daiquiri Deck Vice President and co-owner Russell Matthes plan to apply the experiences they’ve collected operating the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, a Siesta Key Village landmark, in their latest business endeavor.

“It’s really defined the criteria we require to open a Daiquiri Deck,” Grover explained about opening Daiquiri Deck brands in Madeira Beach and on St. Armands Circle.

Although the island-themed concept is tourist-driven, it has to offer local patrons something as well; for example, the popular breakfast menu offered at the St. Armands Circle location. When season ends, the amount of local support for a business can separate a fleeting bar from a sustained brand.

“Bars come and go all the time, but having a quality food product that tourists and locals can enjoy is how you stay in business,” said Matthes.

Lobster Benedict and mimosas, breakfast options that Grover said lures locals to the two-story location on St. Armands, aren’t the only way to buoy local support. The owners keep a tight bond with the community through charities, schools and neighborhood organizations.

In a way, the trio serves as community ambassadors: Matthes takes up causes on Siesta Key; and Grover concentrates on St. Armands Circle. Syprett has been visiting Venice often, making him the face of Daiquiri Deck in that region.

“We sometimes lose sight of how much we’re involved with the community,” Grover said. “Especially at the Siesta location.”

Also, the managers that will steer the new restaurant have already paid a visit to the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce and Venice MainStreet Inc. events (a nonprofit that oversees downtown Venice activity).

“Ironically, they’re both (the managers) from the Venice area,” Grover said. One even played and coached basketball at Venice High School.

Siesta Village was not always a bustling tourist hub, and Matthes said the expansion into Venice might provide a similar challenge to when they co-founded the Siesta location in 1993.

“We need to ask ourselves how to steer people to a sleepy downtown,” Matthes asked.

One regional factor the owners hope to tap is the greater number of retailers near the planned Venice Avenue spot, something that is lagging in Siesta Village but has helped the St. Armands location.

“I’m encouraging (the shops) on Venice Avenue to stay open later,” Matthes said. “St. Armands is a shopping mecca from 6 to 10 p.m., and a lot of the shops on Venice Avenue close at 5 or 6 p.m.”

Parking is another familiar hurdle for the Daiquiri Deck owners. They will need to keep the same ratio for parking spaces to capacity: one space for every five seats.

“We’ve been dealing with (parking issues) for almost 20 years,” Matthes said. “We know if people are fighting over parking spaces, we have to make (visiting the Daiquiri Deck) worthwhile.”

The expansion could be part of a long-term goal to market the Daiquiri Deck as a franchise concept.

“We’re certainly open to franchising and have been approached numerous times,” Matthes said. “But at this time we feel it will take three to five stores to really hone in on a corporate chain level.”

Tasty timeline

1993 — Daiquiri Deck opens in Siesta Key Village.
1995 — Daiquiri Deck opens a second location further north in Madeira Beach.
1996 — Daiquiri Deck owners open the Peanut Gallery, a small bar in Siesta Key Village, which is now the raw bar for the Siesta location.
1997 — The owners open a bar on Main Street, which they sold in 1999.
2000 — The owners open Pancho’s, a Mexican restaurant, and in 2002 convert it into the Siesta Key Oyster Bar.
2003 — The Siesta Key Oyster Bar is sold to its current owners, and Daiquiri Deck owners open Octave, another bar, in Gulf Gate.
2004 — The owners sell the Madeira Beach location.
2005 — The owners sell Octave.
2011 — The owners open another location on St. Armands Circle.
2012 — The owners plan to debut a hybrid model of their brand in a new 6,500-square-foot location in Venice, which include elements from the Siesta Key and St. Armands locations.
(*Years provided by co-owners)

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