Monday, June 23, 2014

Sean Murphy sells Eat Here in Sarasota to World of Beer

Sean Murphy. File Photo
Accomplished chef Sean Murphy, owner of the Beach Bistro and Eat Here in Holmes Beach, has sold his downtown Sarasota Eat Here location to World of Beer.

Eat Here, which also has a location on Siesta Key, offers affordable cuisine and drinks compared to Beach Bistro's fine dining. The Sarasota location at 1800 Main Street recently upgraded its rooftop bar to include a spiral staircase outdoors.

Murphy announced the deal on Eat Here's Facebook page Monday morning:

A big thank you to all our patrons at our Sarasota downtown location over the past few years. We're pleased to announce that World of Beer made us a compelling offer, and will be the new operators at this site on Main St. They will be an exciting new addition to downtown Sarasota. Our other Eat Here locations on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key will continue serving great chef-crafted cookery.
Murphy later sent out a news release explaining the changes:
"World of Beer contacted us with an unsolicited but very compelling offer to buy out our lease. The offer was attractive enough we could not refuse it. They are significantly extending the term of the lease and will be an excellent fit for the location.” 
"The Eat Here family's smaller restaurants on Anna Maria Island and Siesta Key will continue offering chef-focused, chef-crafted, coastal cookery at their island locations." 
"The World of Beer will do very well at the fountain and urban park location at Links and Main. There is a momentous excitement brewing in the neighborhood now with the opening of McCurdy's comedy store. The World of Beer will be a great addition to a refreshed entertainment district." 
Sean Murphy explained the change to World of Beer as a perfect fit for the location. 
"Eat Here is about great food, first and foremost. Our personal service style and chef-crafted menu creations are better suited to a smaller space. Most of the senior Eat Here staff will be offered positions at our other restaurants. Their presence will strengthen our performance on the two islands. We have been offered promising smaller premises in St Pete and Tampa.” 
"I am pleased that we have a great tenant for the Kauffman family. Dr Kauffman is a true gentlemen. He has always treated us graciously and generously. I will miss him. He loves our blue tomato soup. I have promised him that every month I will bring him a quart."

Dean Lambert, one of the managing partners of the World of Beer on University Parkway is excited about the new location.
 
“ It will be an excellent showcase for our extensive offerings of craft beer and our new food menu. World of Beer will be opening on Main in the early fall.”
The World of Beer location will be operated by managing partner Dean Lambert, who oversees both the University Park World of Beer location and a new one at 497 Cortez Road in Bradenton that is expected to open during the third quarter. Restaurants in Sarasota Facebook page was the first to report that the Eat Here would be sold to World of Beer, back on June 9, citing anonymous industry sources. Lambert teased about the Sarasota Main Street location with a banner during the Lucky Dog Craft Beer Expo at McKechnie Field in May.

The release goes on to say that World of Beer will also co-sponsor Beach Bistro's Culinary Winter Carnival in January 2015, adding beer craftsmen to the mix of winemakers, chef bartenders and best chefs of the south.

World of Beer got its start in Tampa's Westchase neighborhood. Scott Zepp and Matt LaFon started the concept in 2007, and the company's first franchise opened at 8217 Tourist Center Drive in University Park. The 50th location opened in Brandon last year. The company will see about 20 locations open this year throughout the country.

The bar carries more than 500 craft beers, has its own smartphone app and offers a loyalty program. It started serving food at select locations. The Bradenton one will be among those that feature "tavern fare."

During a media tour I participated in for Eat Here and Beach Bistro in 2012, Murphy said then that he wasn't sure what he was going to do with the upstairs area, but it was included with the deal, when he took over the space and he was intent on marking it work.

Merchants on the eastern end of Main Street in Sarasota have been trying to get more foot traffic there to help businesses. Across the street, Ker's WingHouse Bar & Grill opened earlier this month after Half Shell Oyster House moved last year to University Park and rebranded as Half Shell Seafood House, in part because of the low foot traffic.

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