BRADENTON -- Retro City, a ’50s-style deli/diner offering a menu featuring mostly items under $10, will open Tuesday in the space that was once to be filled by Ezra’s Cafe.
The new eatery brings to four the number of restaurants coming this fall to downtown Bradenton, which was known just a few months ago for its relative lack of places to grab a bite.
“I think we are turning the corner,” said Dave Gustafson, executive director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority. “To hear we’ll have more choices for not just our day crowd, but our night crowd, is just what we need to bring more bodies to the downtown area.”
Ron Marasinski and wife Rebecca Picasso chose the spot at 1001 Third Ave. W. because of its close proximity to downtown’s major employers, including City Hall.
“The location is a perfect fit,” Marasinski said. “And it’s got good parking.”
Gustafson said he’s also excited that the new restaurant is located “just around the corner from the Pink Palace,” the historic building that the DDA hopes to help renovate through more than $1 million in incentives offered to developers this week.
Marasinski and Picasso, both former restaurant consultants who operated cafes in New York for years, discovered Manatee County while vacationing. Marasinski’s mother also retired to the area.
Retro City will start with breakfast and lunch and begin serving dinner shortly after the new year, Marasinski said.
The new spot’s location was the subject of controversy in February, when the development authority offered the upscale Ezra’s Cafe hundreds of thousands of dollars to relocate there from its west Bradenton location.
Ezra’s owner Donna Eason eventually turned down the offer both out of loyalty to her existing neighborhood and because of public outcry against the incentives.
Retro City did not seek any incentive funding, Marasinski said.
Other downtown restaurants slated to open this fall include The Grill at o’Brick’s and OMG (Old Main Grill). They will all join existing downtown restaurants Fav’s Italian Cucina, Robin’s Downtown Cafe, Pier 22, Lucky Dog and Beck’s Bistro.