Site clearing begins in May for the Tiki Docks, a nearly 15,000-sq.-ft. boat up restaurant and bar on the Alafia River.

A nearly 15,000 sq. ft. boat-up restaurant on the Alafia River is soon to be a reality for Riverview residents. Site construction for Tiki Docks is expected to begin in late May, according to 23 Restaurant Services president Marc Brown.

“We are always looking for good waterfront property, based on the location and we had the opportunity to buy this piece and jumped on it,” said Brown, who noted that 23 Restaurant Services is the same group that owns Ford’s Garage, Yoeman’s Cask & Lion and the Boathouse in Cape Coral, another boat-up, waterfront restaurant.

Situated on 4.25 acres on the corner of U.S. Hwy. 301 and Palmetto Street, the full-service restaurant and bar will offer island-themed food and full-liquor bars inside and outside where there will be a large patio.

Brown said the menu will feature seafood, peel and eat shrimp, fresh oysters, pineapple and watermelon-themed dishes as well as burgers and other items.

“We are really excited about the Riverview community,” said Brown. “Residents have been looking for something like this. The area is underserved.”

“I think it is awesome,” commented Juanita Wild of Riverview, who has been to the Boathouse. “It will give us more choices on the river to eat and hang out and enjoy the beautiful Alafia River and Florida atmosphere.”

While site plans have been approved by the county, building and dock plans are still being finalized. He reported that he anticipates there will be seating for about 350-375 and about 230 parking spaces. Brown noted that the property is only accessible off of Palmetto Street and the group does not have final traffic plans. The entire project is has a budget of about $7.5 million.

He added that in addition to the restaurant and bars, ultimately, Tiki Docks will offer Jet Ski, jet boat and paddle board rentals.

Whether guests come by boat or by car, Brown noted, “This will be a fun, cool place to hang out and spend the day.”

The anticipated opening of Tiki Docks is November or December of 2018.

For information, visit www.23restaurants.com.