Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub unveiled its newly renovated dock in a Nov. 21 ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the structure.
Construction began in September and cost $107,000 to complete. The original dock was built between 1988 and 1990 and was due for an upgrade.
“It’s nice to have everything current,” said Anthony Cucci, general manager of Mar Vista. “Thirty-three percent of our business comes in by dock, and some people used to not come because of the condition of our dock. Well, now they can come because everything is replaced and better.”
Cucci believes the new dock will endure for decades and won’t need to be updated or replaced for more than 50 years.
Like the previous structure, the dock has 14 slips, but the slips are bigger and higher up, allowing for larger boats. Construction expanded the structure by approximately 28 feet.
Ed Chiles, owner of the Chiles Restaurant Group, which includes Mar Vista, the Sandbar Restaurant on Anna Maria and BeacHhouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach, said the new dock will please patrons.
“It just makes it easier and better for customers and is more usable,” Chiles said. “On some days, especially the weekends, we have more people park their boats than their cars here, and we hope this dock will allow even more people to come by boat.”
Chiles hopes to further improve the restaurant by adding a second story, or “tree house.” Sixty of the 70 interior seats will be moved to the second story, which Chiles said will give customers a better view of Sarasota Bay. The application, filed in October with the Longboat Key Planning Zoning and Building Department, includes a site plan and petition for a special exception to increase the restaurant’s seating from 169 to 180 seats.
Chiles seeks to begin and complete the construction of the second story next fall. He also hopes to remodel and update the restaurant’s kitchen.
“This is such a special spot,” Chiles said. “What an opportunity we have to own this place where the public can come to such a great spot.”
Representatives from the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and Manatee Chamber of Commerce attended the celebration, which included a champagne toast.