VENICE, Fla. -- A new waterfront restaurant could be coming to Venice. The Old Salty Dog is looking for the city to approve a restaurant inside the current MarineMax marina on the southern end of the island.
Some say it could be the beginning to revitalizing the area near the Circus Bridge, where there is a lot of potential. A new waterfront dining establishment would bring a lot of foot traffic to the area searching for an identity.
"Seating out here, looking right out at the marina basin, views also of the Intracoastal."
Soon a new Old Salty Dog restaurant could be overlooking the boats and water there. Those with MarineMax say it's a perfect location for a restaurant while bringing foot traffic to what they're selling. "I think it would be a great marriage between the restaurant and our boat dealership."
“I was hoping there would be some development on this end of the island." Venice resident Peter Arren lives nearby. He says much of the things to do and places to eat are at the northern end of the island, leaving many to the south wanting. "We have a lot of people that live on this end of the island. It's nice to be able to walk or ride your bike to some place."
The restaurant could inject some life into the area known mostly for what's left of the old circus arena.
"This is one of the gateways to our city. We need to pay attention to it." Venice city council member Emilio Carlesimo says businesses know that with the Baby Boomers retiring, the demographics of Venice are changing. "And who they bring with them…their children and grandchildren."
He says the southern end of the island is primed for something new. "There is a lot of potential. I think we have to market ourselves to nationwide or even international companies."
The process to bring in ideas on the old circus property across the street recently ended. What came in included a circus themed mini golf course, keeping the trapeze school, and even rebuilding the arena in some way for performances and other entertainment.
"I have mixed feelings about that. We all want to preserve our history, but we have to look at the reality of what is going on around us and what we can afford. Hopefully that will be resolved soon."
As far as what's realistic right now, those there on the water say they're ready and waiting for the city's approval. "The comments we've had from people are very positive. They are just anxious to see the project take hold."
Now as far a restaurant at that location, it's not a new idea. One called the Pewter Mug was actually in this same location. It closed in the early 80's.
So when could The Old Salty Dawg be coming? Their plan was approved by planning board Tuesday. City council members will have the ultimate say. But it’s likely the building would need a total facelift, conforming with the Northern Italian design the city requires.