By Brian Bokor
By this Thanksgiving, Apollo Beach residents will have another waterfront dining choice on their menu. “As soon as shovel hits dirt, we will work nonstop until the project is finished. Our goal is to be open November 21, and, based on prior experience, I think we will be able to hit that date,” said Michael Disser, owner of Finn’s Dockside Bar & Grill, a new restaurant expected to begin construction this month.
The vacant parcel of land at 1112 Apollo Beach Blvd., located between Bella Sol and Circles Waterfront Restaurant, has been owned by Apollo Beach’s favorite landscaper, Mr. Kim, since 2002. When asked why the almost 2-acre prime waterfront location has sat vacant this long, Disser, who also owns Soho Saloon and the Pinellas area Moe’s Southwest Grill locations, told me he has been working with Mr. Kim for over 8 months trying to get the project up and running.
The two recently came to an agreement on a 99-year land lease, with Disser and his team responsible for construction and all restaurant operations and Mr. Kim contributing to site preparation, dock construction and, of course, landscaping.
When complete, the $4.5M build-out will employ a staff around 80, adding not only a destination spot for locals and tourists alike, but also providing job opportunities to the area. Two individual structures will be constructed, with the indoor dining area covering almost 6,000 sq. ft. with the covered, outdoor patio area spanning roughly another 4,000 sq. ft.
Guests will be able to visit Finn’s by car and boat, as the worn-down docks currently on location will be demolished and rebuilt, adding space for up to 15 vessels and parking created with the capacity to handle 90 vehicles. Thanks to the required 30-foot setback from the seawall, Disser revealed an event lawn and sitting area covered with sand and crushed shells that will make for the perfect transition from sea to land.
The layout and atmosphere of Finn’s will be similar to Salt Shack On the Bay, with guests being able to enjoy unobstructed views of Florida sunsets while enjoying unique, island-themed drinks and a sophisticated yet casual menu highlighted by fresh seafood along with sandwiches and burgers. Entertainment under the stars will be provided nightly at the tiki bar along with a variety of happy hour specials for guests to enjoy daily.