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Mar Vista starts $2 million expansion

The iconic Longboat Key restaurant will remain open during construction, while plans for Shore continue to evolve.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. August 10, 2016
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Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub patrons may have to deal with a little dust and a smaller menu for the next five months or so. But they can still enjoy the waterfront views in the Longbeach Village during the roughly $2 million expansion project owner Ed Chiles began this week.

A front-end loader tore into the old kitchen the morning of Aug. 3, as contractors picked through the rubble to save Old Florida kitsch pieces that have defined the restaurant during its history. The redevelopment project, which will take place in two phases over the next year, includes the addition of a second-story office and storage area, a new interior and a kitchen with 37% more space.

The expansion will allow Chef George Quattromani to experiment with more specialized tasting menus, which include small-plate specialties, such as citrus grits and fish, and squash from Chiles’ garden.

“Chef George’s tail is just going to be wagging,” Chiles said. “That old kitchen was hot as Hades.”

During the first phase, in which the new kitchen will take shape, staff will work out of semitrailers, which are already in place on-site. The restaurant closed for lunch Wednesday as demolition began but promptly reopened for dinner that evening. The first phase is scheduled to last until around Christmas. When season ends in 2017, the second phase will begin with a new interior and the second story.

Architect Barron Schimberg, whom Chiles hired for previous multimillion-dollar renovations of the Beach House and Sandbar restaurants, has included a potential working water tower feature in the design for Mar Vista.

Mar Vista’s redevelopment plans have evolved through five applications. The latest included second-story seating relocated from indoors. But, after standing on the roof earlier this year, Chiles decided that the view just wasn’t as spectacular as he had originally hoped due to surrounding trees.

Instead, in the latest proposal, seating under the porch will expand from 54 to 90 seats, and eight additional seats will move from indoors to underneath the trees at the waterfront, while the upstairs will feature office and storage space.

“Any time you mess with an institution, you have people who are going to be concerned,” Chiles said. “But I’m excited about it. I think we got it right, and people are going to love it.”

Bonefish co-founder joins Shore team

The Shore on Longboat Key is slated to open in spring 2017, and co-owners Tom Leonard and Mark Caragiulo have taken on a new partner in the venture.

About six months ago, John Mays signed on as operating manager for the Shore on Longboat Key.

Mays founded Bonefish Grill in the 2000s, and before that, served as the regional director of operations for Hops Grill & Brewery in the 1990s. Most recently, he launched Noble Crust with partner T.J. Thielbar in 2014.

Shore on Longboat Key co-owner Tom Leonard said he hopes to have the final permits for the new restaurant by the end of the month.
Shore on Longboat Key co-owner Tom Leonard said he hopes to have the final permits for the new restaurant by the end of the month.

“John’s just fully focused on Shore,” Leonard said. “It’s nice to have him here.”

In April, contractors reduced the former Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant to rubble and subsequently cleared the property for the coming Shore on Longboat Key. But since then, there haven’t been many physical changes to the land.

“We’ve had a couple of hiccups with the building department,” Leonard said. “We should have a permit in the next two weeks.”


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