1. Business

Marine-themed restaurant planned for Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach

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Published Oct. 1, 2013

ST. PETE BEACH — Plans are afloat to add a marine-themed restaurant with 40,000-gallon fish tank to the year-old Guy Harvey Outpost beachfront resort.

Keith Overton, president of TradeWinds Island Resorts, said the restaurant would have an indoor and outdoor bar, music stage and retail store selling T-shirts and gift items from renowned marine artist Guy Harvey.

The project is contingent upon financing but is expected to start construction in November, with a March or April opening date in time for spring break, Overton said. It would take over about 10,000 square feet of convention center space fronting Gulf Boulevard.

The yet-to-be-named restaurant would be adorned with Guy Harvey artwork and have the feel of a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, where guests enter the spacious, heavily themed dining room through a retail area.

The fish tank would house 75 to 100 large fish native to the Gulf of Mexico, and divers inside the tank would talk to restaurant patrons through a speaker system.

The Guy Harvey Outpost opened in September 2012 after a $3 million renovation to the former TradeWinds Sandpiper Suites, 6000 Gulf Blvd. The rebranding incorporated Guy Harvey art throughout the 211-room hotel.

Harvey is a marine wildlife artist and conservationist whose realistic paintings of sportfish have been reproduced on clothing, posters and other items. A native of Jamaica who lives in the Cayman Islands, he chose St. Pete Beach for his first U.S. Guy Harvey Outpost because of the area's great fishing and strong fan base. People in the Tampa Bay area buy more of his T-shirts than anywhere nationwide.

The restaurant store would expand his product offerings and include his new line of women's apparel, due out in spring.

"We think we can do a lot better with the store because the existing one is so small,'' Overton said.

Harvey was recently in town for a screening of his latest project, Tiger Shark Express, a documentary covering five years of expeditions he led in the Atlantic Ocean to study tiger sharks.

Susan Thurston can be reached at sthurston@tampabay, (813) 225-3110 or @susan_thurston on Twitter.