It began as the Pub Cocktail Lounge in 1947, when Capt. Don Nemmo and Ray Smith opened a fish camp to sell bait, tackle and beer.
More than 60 years later, the restaurant is now Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub, a four-star, waterfront restaurant still known for its old-Florida charm.
Ed Chiles’ Chiles Restaurant Group, which also owns The BeachHouse on Bradenton Beach and The Sandbar on Anna Maria, bought Mar Vista in 1990.
Mar Vista’s buildings are some of the oldest on Longboat Key, with some structures dating back to 1912.
Chiles aims to preserve history at Mar Vista, and hosts the Longboat Key Historical Society’s Annual Fish Fry each October. But the restaurant frequently adds new features. The most recent addition: a new deck, covered by a wooden pavilion-style gazebo with new tables and chairs, where diners can enjoy the historic restaurant’s waterfront view.