Demolition of original Popi's Place starts in Bradenton

Original Popi's Place restaurant demolished in favor of McKechnie parking

cschelle@bradenton.comMay 6, 2014 

BRADENTON -- The demolition of the original Popi's Place started Tuesday morning to make way for parking at McKechnie Field.

The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased the building and land, 818 17th Ave. W, on Feb. 14 for $307,000 from Gus, Anastasia and Constantine Johnson. The vacant space is expected to provide about 50 to 60 spaces for Pirates spring training games and Bradenton Marauders Single-A games, too.

The demolition was halted when a piece of equipment failed.

The Johnsons operated the restaurant in name only as Popi's Place as some of the food and recipes changed after they bought it from Popi Ameres and her family in 2004 for $350,000.

The Ameres family bought the building in 1986 when it was known as The Dugout and now have seven Popi's Place locations. The 1,922-square-foot restaurant was built in 1961, according to property records.

Some of the Popi's Place items will live on. Darwin Santa Maria bought some fixtures and restaurant equipment that will come in handy for his new brewery across the street, Darwin Brewing Co. The brewery, 803 17th Ave. W, will be open to the public starting Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m.

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

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