Siesta Village is fortunate to have a wealth of riches to attract both residents and visitors, since there are numerous places to dine, have a drink or shop for gifts and souvenirs. But in the first of the year, the Village will be gaining a new establishment that is sure to stand out.
The corner of a building at Avenida Messina and Ocean Boulevard will soon be housing something that is completely new to the Village—a sports bar/village pub. By late January or early February, My Village Pub, or MVP, should be open in the space that Napoli’s Italian Restaurant used to occupy, at 5200 Ocean Blvd.
This will be the latest endeavor to be undertaken by the dynamic real estate investment team of Mike Granthon and Chris Brown, who also own the Beach Club, Summer House Steak & Seafood, the Cottage and the Hub Baja Grill on Siesta Key, Smokin’ Joe’s in Downtown Sarasota and Mad Moe’s Pub and Grill in Osprey. In addition, their portfolio includes several other properties on Siesta Key.
Operations front man Granthon is originally from Peru, but has now lived in Florida so long, he’s practically a native.
“I’ve been in the States for 35 years and in Sarasota for 25 years,” he said. “Chris and I started working together 13 years ago when we became partners at the Beach Club. I had been in partnership with four or five other partners there when Chris came in.”
Soon it was just the two of them, and they worked so well together that they began seeking other properties to buy. In addition to the restaurants, the partners bought several buildings in Siesta Village in 2014, one of which was the then Siesta Market.
In total, there were eight buildings on the property, which also included the Sea Shanty, Meany’s Mini Donuts and Siesta Key Hardware. Since the purchase, Morton’s Siesta Market now occupies the main building and Siesta Village Liquors is in the former space of the hardware store.
In this latest project, they also have another partner, Peter Geannopulos, who was the owner/Chef of the Hillview Grill for several years, and is an investor in Mad Moe’s as well. By putting in a new restaurant in a building they already owned, the partners now have almost complete coverage of the busiest intersection in Siesta Village.
In the corner “strip mall” where the restaurant will be are several other existing businesses that plan to stay in their space when My Village Pub opens. But Granthon says that when they’re done with renovations, the overall appearance of the building will be completely different.
“We will be going with something like a Martha’s Vineyard/Nantucket/coastal look,” he said. “We’ll be putting awnings all around, with wood railings and a big clock tower at the top. This is a beach town, an old fishermen’s village. We love the charm of it, and we want to keep that and stay true to what it is.”
Renovations inside will be extensive and will also include expanding and updating the kitchen. There will be both inside and outside seating, providing a new prime people-watching spot in the Village.
Granthon said that Brown has been collecting sports memorabilia for years, which was one of the incentives for the new restaurant’s theme. Brown’s plan is to not only display many pieces of his collection inside the new restaurant/bar, but to also offer some of them for sale to interested buyers.
Though each of the partners’ properties stands alone as its own business, the duo has created a new parent company called Above the Bar Hospitality Group, which will be the umbrella for all the different entities.
Granthon said that he and Brown have always had the practice of hiring their management team from within, because they feel that they understand and have already bought into the company’s culture.
“The philosophy of our company is the same as it has always been—we put family and people first,” Granthon said. “We take a ‘servant leadership’ approach and we invite all of our employees to come up with creative ideas. By empowering the staff, we can make the customer experience better.”
Between all the various properties the partners own, they now employ more than 200 staff members, each of who is considered a valued member of a team.
Granthon says that he and Brown are looking forward to continuing to improve on the businesses they have and adding even more restaurants and properties to their portfolio in the future.
“Right now, we’re looking at some possible new locations in Downtown Sarasota,” he said. “We have a lot of energy and a lot of great people who help propel us in everything we do.”
Above the Bar Restaurants/Bars
Summer House Steak & Seafood
149 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key
153 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key
The Hub Baja Grill
5148 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
The Beach Club
1551 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
Smokin’ Joes Pub
1448 Main Street, Downtown Sarasota
106 North Tamiami Trail, Osprey
My Village Pub (early 2019)
4200 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key