East Manatee's Linger Lodge put back on the market

Linger Lodge owners looking again to sell rustic retreat

cschelle@bradenton.comSeptember 24, 2013 

EAST MANATEE -- The popular Linger Lodge Restaurant & Campground is on the block again, with its owners hoping a better economy means it could finally find a deal.

The restaurant and RV park, 7205 Linger Lodge Road, was recently relisted for $1.995 million by business partners Marvin Kaplan and Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett.

Bennett says he is trying to come to terms with parting with the restaurant.

"The problem with it is I love that damn restaurant," Bennett said. "I love the history of it."

The 28 acres along Braden River was put up for auction in 2008 and didn't receive a sufficient bid, but this time the owners think times have changed for the better. The pair paid $3 million for the property in 2005.

Linger Lodge opened in 1945 as a campground and evolved over the years with an eclectic Old Florida feel. Linger Lodge's flavor in its food and decor earned it the distinction as one of the Most Unusual Restaurants in the World by

Forbes.com. It also was featured on Travel Channel's "Food Paradise" series, and Al Roker listed it as one of the Top 5 Weirdest Restaurants in America.

"It's certainly Old Florida at its best," Kaplan said.

Kaplan and Bennett are being flexible in how they approach the sale.

"I don't think we would get hurt selling it, but I don't think we would make a lot of money," Bennett said. "We could develop it."

It's also possible the RV park could be sold separately from the restaurant, Kaplan said.

"Usually what happens is RV park buyers are not restaurant operators. We could do either," he said, adding the restaurant "does relatively well."

So far, the property has interested a few buyers, Bennett said.

"I think we're getting a little more active lookers all around, on all kinds of property on commercial real estate," Bennett said.

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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