— The owners of Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill are dipping their toes into casual seafood dining. Their beach restaurant will replace the Oasis Cafe, which was threatened with eviction from the city-owned site for unpaid taxes and rents.
City commissioners selected PDKN Holdings on Tuesday as the winning bidder with its plans to operate Bo's Beach House on the property. The company said the restaurant would be a tropical dining spot, and not a beach version of the louder and larger sports bars that carry the Bokamper name.
The proposed menu at the new restaurant will have a local seafood emphasis, local farm-to-table produce and local brewery craft beers, the company said. It expects to have standard fare like conch fritters, coconut shrimp and oysters on the half shell, along with items like seared ahi tuna, whole-fried mutton snapper and Jamaican jerk chicken.
"I think this is a very good deal for the city," Mayor Jack Seiler said. "This part of the beach needs a restaurant of this type. There's a gap."
The Oasis Cafe, a 21-year fixture at 600 Seabreeze Blvd., had been paying about $50,000 a year in rent and had offered to double that to $100,000. But commissioners voted to evict the café in February after it racked up more than $130,000 in past due rent and taxes. The restaurant has since paid those debts, but closed in July and did not submit a bid to continue operating there.
The Bokamper group has agreed to pay the city $225,000 a year in rent, with 3 percent annual increases, and to spend about $1.5 million in renovations. That includes work on a ground level and upstairs dining areas with retractable awnings.
City officials will now work on finalizing a 20-year lease with the company, with the option of four, five-year extensions, for the commission to approve.
Chuck Hansen of the nearby Illini condominiums was skeptical about the proposed restaurant, saying it appeared similar to the other Bokamper spots, with typical "sports bar" food and the majority of the income from liquor sales.
But Courtney Crush, representing the owners, said the restaurant across State Road A1A from the ocean would be very different from the sports bars, and the operators would abide by noise regulations for the location.
The PDKN partners are Kim Bokamper, a former Miami Dolphin; Patrick Kavanagh, who owns three restaurants in New York; former Rexall Sundown President Damon DeSantis, who also owns the 10-store chain Tupelo Honey Cafe; and Noel Cullen, the managing partner of Bokamper's Sports Bar & Grill.
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