City chooses Ford’s Boathouse to take over Yacht Club restaurant location
POSTED Tue, 07/16/2013 – 2:05am | POSTED BY Jeff Koehn
Ford’s Garage officially opened in the former Leapin’ Lizards location on July 4
On the day one era ended at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, another one began.
On Monday night, the Cape Coral City Council accepted the proposal of Zak Kearns one of the owners of local restaurant Ford’s Garage.
Ford’s Boathouse, as it will be known will take up residency at the former home of KC’s Riverstop at the Cape Coral Yacht Club pier, hopefully within the next four months.
Kearns says Ford’s Boathouse will be an extension of Ford’s Garage, which opened its Cape Coral location just a few weeks ago at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge.
With their latest venture, the company will look to create a waterfront destination that would be family oriented with hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood, and drinks targeted to accommodate beach goers and boaters, “We are going to go above and beyond to make it a hang out.”
Included in the plan would be a possible extension of the restaurant’s deck, live music and entertainment, and possible beach service for food and drinks. Kearns also said the company is looking into the possibility of adding sunset cruises aboard a pontoon boat.
Ford’s Boathouse was one of three proposals the city received to take over the restaurant, fuel dock services and bait/tackle shop after the city decided not to extend the lease of current tenant KC’s Riverstop. Cape Coral’s Dixie Roadhouse and T&D Adventures of SW Florida were the other proposals received.
However, Dixie Roadhouse announced late Friday afternoon that they had withdrawn their proposal to concentrate more on their current business and expansion of that business.
With Dixie Roadhouse withdrawing, that left the council with the choice between Ford’s Boathouse and Poppy’s Grill at the Yacht Club.
Poppy’s Grill was proposed by T&D Adventures of SW Florida, owned by South Cape Diner owners Tom and Debra Timmerman. Also, part of the T&D Adventures team was former Cape Coral Mayor and owner of BJM Consulting Joe Mazurkiewicz.
Mazurkiewicz made the announcement of his involvement in the project while presenting the proposal to the city council at Monday night’s meeting.
Mazurkiewicz explained that between his 45 years in the community and the Timmerman’s years of experience in owning restaurants both in Cape Coral and New York, Poppy’s Grill would be just a piece of a larger puzzle, “This is bigger than a restaurant, this is about the entire Yacht Club,” he explained to the council. “We want to evolve this into the jewel of the Southeast Cape Coral.
He also stated that the two proposals were not that different, other than their approach, “T&D wants to evolve the site into a destination, and that will take 3-5-10 years.”
T&D said part of their growth strategy would the possibility of adding a roof covering three quarters of the deck in the second five years of their lease.
According to their written proposals, both establishments agreed to pay $3,500 per month in rent plus property tax. However, both told the council they were negotiable when it came to the amount of rent the city would charge. Both were asking for a five year lease, with Ford’s Boathouse asking for two five year options following.
For the council, while there was excitement generated by the proposals, there was also some questions, “I have some concern about the hours of operation,” explained council member Rana Erbrick, who said the restaurant’s location in a neighborhood area does not allow for late night music enjoyed at some establishments.
Council Member Kevin McGrail echoed Erbrick’s concerns, “I have a scary vision of bad karaoke at midnight.”
Both Ford’s and T&D explained that it was their goal to develop a strong relationship with their neighbors, and would have to adjust their entertainment accordingly in order to not have a negative impact on the area.
Another concern was the lack of parking available at the Yacht Club. No one had an immediate solution to that problem that has plagued the Yacht Club for years. However, both said they would work with the city to at the very least optimize the parking that is currently available.
In the end, the council commended both firms for having impressive proposals, but went with Ford’s Boathouse in a 5-3 vote with council members Marty McClain, McGrail, Derrick Donnell, John Carioscia, and Lenny Nesta voting for the proposal.
Kearns says they expect to have the improvements completed in time to have the new restaurant open for the upcoming season.
Now having two restaurants in the city, they are hoping to have a positive impact on the entire South Cape district, “It takes one to start a fire. I think Ford’s Garage is going to be the igniter. When we put them all together, along with all the other establishments in the South Cape, we can only make them better. We are extremely excited about adding Ford’s Boathouse to that mix.”
This article is courtesy of: CapeCoral.com