More casual, more affordable and more fun.
That’s what the new owners of Riviera Dunes Dockside, formerly Blu Mangove Grill in Palmetto, say they have planned for the restaurant at 102 Riviera Dunes Way.
Steve Bishop and Ron Fuller, who took over the business the week before Thanksgiving, are revamping the entree and sandwich menu, and offering an expanded lineup of craft beers and signature margaritas, to go along with regular live entertainment.
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In 2014, Bishop and Fuller purchased Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen restaurant in Tampa and subsequently opened a second Surf Shack on St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota.
Later, they purchased Island Time Bar and Grill and Bridge Street Bistro on Anna Maria Island.
Fuller previously lived in a condominium near the Blu Mangrove Grill. Fuller and Bishop frequently met at Blu Mangrove Grill to discuss business and decided if the opportunity presented itself, they would try to acquire the restaurant.
“We love the property,” Bishop said.
In January, the partners plan to briefly close the restaurant and reopen a few days later with its new look and new menu.
What guests will find is lots of fresh fish dishes prepared in a variety of styles, sushi and a retooled burger and sandwich menu.
“We are famous for our tacos, will offer a different spin on salads and a complete overhaul of the menu,” Bishop said. “On the beverage side, we are known for craft beers and our signature margaritas.”
Blu Mangrove has been known for its live music, and the new owners plan to continue that tradition.
The Beatles tribute band, Glass Onion, is slated to perform on New Year’s Eve.
“We want to take a good thing and make it better,” Bishop said.
The new owners started at ground level in the restaurant business — Bishop as a dishwasher and Fuller as a bartender.
Their careers eventually took them into the corporate world.
Bishop served as chief operating officer and vice president of operations for Crispers Restaurants Division and division president for Steak n Shake.
Among his stops in the corporate world, Fuller served as vice president of operations for Darden Restaurants Inc.
Hours at Riviera Dunes Dockside are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week.
The partners operate as Excellence in Restaurants. For more information, visit excellenceinrestaurants.com/consulting/.
Other restaurant notes
▪ Louis Pappas Fresh Greek is planning its sixth restaurant at University Park near the LA Fitness on Cooper Creek Boulevard.
The fast-casual restaurant chain is known for its Greek salads — particularly its potato salad — and its signature sandwiches. The company has restaurants in Tampa and Clearwater.
Louis Pappas said this week he hopes to have the new restaurant open this spring.
“It’s wonderful working with the Bendersons. It’s been a pleasure,” Pappas said.
For more information on Louis Pappas Fresh Greek, visit louispappas.com/.
▪ Tarpon Bay Grill & Tiki Bar, located within the Ramada by Wyndham Sarasota at 7150 N. Tamiami Trail, plans its grand opening Dec. 7-9.
The renovated restaurant includes a tiki bar, air-conditioned waterside dining, a poolside view with relaxed seating and a beach sand volleyball court. Decorated for the holidays, Tarpon Bay’s centerpiece is an upside-down Christmas trees.
Grand opening entertainment Friday includes Troy Nichols from 5-8 p.m., followed by the Billy Rice Band from 8-11 p.m. On Saturday, Albert Bashor performs from 1-4 p.m., followed by the Randy McNeeley Band from 8-11:30 p.m.
For more information, visit tarponbaygrill.com/.
▪ Skyline Chili is being outfitted on the north end of the new Shoppes at Commerce Park, 4112 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
Owner Joan Zai of Alexandria, Ky., who is partnering with Susan Wiegele and Amy Groene, both of Lakewood Ranch, previously said she plans to have the restaurant open Jan. 28.
For more information about Skyline Chili, go to skylinechili.com.
▪ Another much-anticipated addition, Shake Shack, announced in January that it was opening a restaurant near the Mall at UTC.
Shake Shack started as a hot dog cart in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park.
Workers were busy at the site off Cattleman Road and south of University Parkway this week, and a banner announced that Shake Shack was coming soon.
When asked about an opening date, the company responded: “Opening new Shacks are complex projects, so thanks for your patience! While we don’t have an official opening date yet, it looks like we’ll be opening later next year!”
For more information about Shake Shack, visit shakeshack.com/.
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