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Ed's Tavern to open a second location in Lakewood Ranch

The popular sports bar will open a 4,200-square-foot restaurant at the State Road 64 and Upper Manatee River Road intersection late this year.

Ed's Tavern co-owners Bob Bender, Adam Myara and Albert Myara said the new restaurant will have the same menu and many of the same features as the existing one.
Ed's Tavern co-owners Bob Bender, Adam Myara and Albert Myara said the new restaurant will have the same menu and many of the same features as the existing one.
Photo by Jay Heater
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With many restaurants coming to East County, the norm has been considerable delays due to supply chain problems and other construction woes.

Those problems have made it impossible to pinpoint the opening of a restaurant.

However, co-owner Albert Myara was firm when talking about his new Ed's Tavern being built at the intersection of State Road 64 and Upper Manatee River Road/Lakewood Ranch Boulevard.

"Before the end of the year, we will be open," Myara said, emphasizing "will."

He makes the statement even though vertical construction has yet to begin.

Myara and fellow co-owners Bob Bender and Adam Myara (Albert's son), will now have the northern border of Lakewood Ranch covered as well as having their current restaurant at 10719 Rodeo Drive at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch.

The Main Street restaurant is packed day after day for both lunch and dinner, and the three co-owners expect that to be the case when the new restaurant opens.

"I have zero concerns," Bender said. "I am so bullish on this (new) restaurant. I am extremely confident.

The current Ed's Tavern is about 2,800 square feet while the new restaurant will be 4,200 square feet. The new restaurant will feature an indoor/outdoor bar and a special air conditioning system that will be utilized when the windows are open to the outside portion of the bar.

Although the new restaurant, which sits on the adjacent lot to the north of Wawa (10807 S.R. 64 E.), along Upper Manatee River Road, differs in size from the existing Ed's, many of the features of the Main Street restaurant will be copied.

"You don't change a winner," Albert Myara said.

Bender said the overall blueprint for the new restaurant, in terms of business, will be "pretty much the same" as the existing restaurant.

"No matter what location, there will be something going on every night," Bender said. "We are going to keep the same menu. It will be centered around sports, and it is going to have an appeal for families.

"When consumers come into the new restaurant, they will be thinking, 'This is the Ed's I know."

Currently, Ed's Tavern offers live music once or twice a week, Tequila Tuesdays specials, a $6 burger day, a poker night, trivia nights, watch parties for sports events, and lots of Happy Hour specials.

Adam Myara said the most important thing to the owners is that the new restaurant has the same energy as the current restaurant.

Certainly, a lot of energy will exist outside the restaurant, when it comes to drive-by traffic.

The area where they are building has quickly become a business hotspot considering all the growth along the S.R. 64 corridor and Upper Manatee River Road. However, the corridor offers few sit-down dining establishments with full bars.

"It serves everything we need," Albert Myara said of the location. "We will be serving everything from Lorraine Road to the interstate, and Parrish. We couldn't have found a better spot."

Upper Manatee River Road is scheduled to be widened to four lanes from S.R. 64 to the Fort Hamer Bridge. Then the Fort Hamer Bridge is scheduled for another span over the Manatee River. All the construction is expected to take about six years.

It all points toward increased traffic though that intersection.

Bender said all that development includes UMR Sports, on Upper Manatee River Road, will attract lots of families who will hopefully become customers. UMR Sports is an athletic academy that builds athletes in multiple sports through teaching, showcases, tournaments, and leagues.

When they take a break, they will be hungry.

"All those pickleball courts and fields will bring people to the restaurant," Bender said.

He also said Ed's Tavern at Main Street has many customers from S.R. 64 corridors, living in neighborhoods such as GreyHawk, Heritage Harbour and Mill Creek. He said those customers tell him they can't wait until the new restaurant opens so they don't have to travel as far. He said he hears stories of how they check the construction more than he does.

"They are as excited as heck," he said.

Bender said he will keep an eye on the progress of construction to see when it comes time to hire the 50 to 60 employees who will make up the staff. Although many businesses in the service industry have experienced problems hiring workers, Bender said he doesn't anticipate any problems.

"We have not felt any help issues," he said. "And we have loyal, long-tenured employees (at the current restaurant). We will be able to bring some of our key employees over, and they will set the pace."

Bob Bender, Albert Mayara and Adam Myara are the co-owners of Ed's Tavern and now they are building a second Ed's on Upper Manatee River Road.
Photo by Jay Heater

Adam Myara said the abundance of apartment complexes being built nearby on S.R. 64 enhanced the spot, which will have about 90 parking spaces, for them to buy. He also said the restaurant has a reputation for being popular for kids through seniors.

"I love it here," he said while standing in the current Ed's Tavern. I'm 37 and my friends my age love it here, too. They have grown here."

While they plan to keep the same menu, Adam Myara noted that Bender is great at "menu pivots," so if the new restaurants needs to tweak its offerings, that will happen quickly. Bender said the menu changes three or four times a year due to demand.

All three co-owners have been in the restaurant business most of their lives. Adam Myara said he remembers walking around in his father's kitchens since he was 6.

"All of us have grown up in the business," said Albert Myara, who noted that he and Adam are more investors who will rely on Bender to take care of the day-to-day operations.

"But if Bob needs anything, we have no problem doing it," Albert Myara said. "If that means washing dishes, fine."

Albert Myara said Ed's Tavern's many specials have built its popularity.

"We can go to breakfast, just the two of us, and spend $45," he said of himself and his son, Adam. "Are you kidding me?"

Bender knows the restaurant industry is under a lot of stress to raise prices, but he said Ed's Tavern will continue to be "family sensitive," even when the new restaurant opens.

"There is no argument is it a challenging environment," Bender said. "But I feel we are recession proof. There are, certainly, a lot of storm clouds out there."



Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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