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Plans call for the first beachfront restaurant in Madeira in years.
Published Jun. 20, 2012

The city may once again have a full-service restaurant on the Gulf of Mexico.

The restaurant doesn't have a name yet or even a cuisine. But according to architect Jack Bodziak, the owners already have hired a "first-class chef" from Tampa.

The restaurant, at 14100 Gulf Blvd., the site of the former Anchorage Motel, which was torn down about eight years ago, is expected to seat at least 150 people, with both inside and outside beachfront dining.

"It will have an upscale, beachy atmosphere with higher-end casual dining," Bodziak said.

A company called Beach by the Sea LLC, will own and operate the restaurant, according to Bodziak.

Principals involved in the company include David Bekhor, a Tampa businessman, and Dr. Mark Douglas Nanni, a Tampa radiologist.

Bekhor also is CEO of MSI, a Tampa-based diagnostic imaging company formed in 1988.

"There is nothing like it at all on the beach now. The condo boom and the economic collapse devastated the restaurant market," Bodziak said Monday.

One of those now-gone Madeira Beach restaurants was the Deck, a beachfront casual restaurant frequented by tourists and residents alike.

"Everybody loved it. It was open-air and they served food in baskets. You could sit inside or on the beach," said Pat Shontz, a former mayor and city commissioner.

The Deck and another beach restaurant, Skip's, were closed when beachfront property was redeveloped for condominiums in the 1970s, Shontz said.

"It will be great to have a restaurant on the beach again," said Mayor Travis Palladeno, who with the rest of the commission listened with interest last week when Bodziak explained the proposed restaurant site plan.

A key element is a proposal to give the city a 7-foot easement "in perpetuity" on the south side of the restaurant property.

The easement would be developed as extra parking that can be utilized by both visitors to the restaurant and the adjacent, city-owned Kitty Stuart Park.

Combined with parking spaces on the restaurant property, there would be more than 40 parking spaces available to park and restaurant patrons.

The spaces in the park and on the easement would be metered with the revenue collected by the city.

The restaurant owners also intend to build a pavilion with restrooms and an outdoor shower for park visitors, as well as a walkway from the street to the pavilion.

"We'll also clean up the landscaping in the park. These upgrades will be at no cost to the city," Bodziak told the commission.

City attorney Tom Trask told the commission nothing in the original park deed would prohibit Bodziak's proposals.

"The extra parking would increase ability of the public to use a small city park," Trask said.

A similar proposal for developing the property for a restaurant was made in October, but stalled when it was learned a plan to build an upper parking deck partly over the park was prohibited by the deed the city received when the park was donated.

Bodziak intends to submit site plans for the new beach bar and grill to the city this week.

He will need both site plan approval and commission approval for a special developers agreement before construction can begin.

If the process goes smoothly, the restaurant will be open by fall, Bodziak said.