Manatees on the Bay’s three-year-reign officially ended on Thursday, January 31, and it didn’t take long for the two-story building to find a new occupant.
Located at 3128 Beach Boulevard South, Caddy’s Restaurant Group has bought out Manatees, and will reportedly re-open on Thursday, February 28, according to marketing manager at Caddy’s, Miranda Borchardt.
This will mark Caddy’s fifth location, and the Gulfport branch will reflect the other four similarly in menu items and atmosphere.
“Change is scary, and Gulfport cares a lot about their community,” Borchardt said. “The ownership group wants to preserve that and be respectful.”
There will be no structural change to the building, but the outdoor mural is a huge topic of discussion in Gulfport, according to Borchardt.
The iconic, aquatic manatee mural that twirled the precious restaurant will be repainted and reinvented in the next couple weeks.
August Vernon, the artist of the manatee mural will be the one to complete the new Caddy’s art, respectively.
“Because the manatee mural was specific to the restaurant name, it has to change,” Vernon said. “I think Caddy’s is doing their best to support the community here in Gulfport.”
According to Vernon, the new mural will completely cover the entire back and front side of the building, unlike the previous art. The building will feature a landscape of Boca Ceiga Bay, as well as various Gulfport scenes.
Each letter in the “Caddy’s” sign will be painted with a Gulfport location inside.
“It’s going to be bright and fun,” Vernon said.
While the opening is close, Borchardt warns that the official first day may be delayed.
“As far as the opening date, there is a lot of logistics in play,” Borchardt said. “But hopefully everything will go perfectly.”
Stay posted in the downtown area to watch Gulfport get new colors, and new bar food.
Pickle Production in a Pickle
Gulfport frequented spot, Smokin’ J’s Real Texas BBQ, is looking to add another culinary venture, pickles.
Owner John Riesebeck is seeking a location to produce and distribute his Sweet and Sassy pickle line.
On Wednesday, February 6, Smokin’ J’s wrote in a Facebook post, “The FACT is we are currently looking for a location to expand our Sweet and Sassy pickle production. The city zoning will not allow for me to produce and distribute pickles from this location.”