Shrimp Boat Is Under New Management

Shrimp Boat Is Under New Management

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - One of St. Andrews' landmark businesses is changing hands.

A local resort company, 'By The Sea Resorts', has announced it is buying the Shrimp Boat restaurant complex on Beck Avenue.

Managers said they want to bring a little of the beach to this side of the bridge by changing everything from menus to banquet facilities.

"There's so many changes that we want for the company, because 'By the Sea' is growing and expanding and once we find out that 'By The Sea' has purchased this I think it's going to build our clientele," said Shrimp Boat General Manager Brittany Hood.

Businessman Lowe Smith built the original Shrimp Boat restaurant in 1950.

After many successful years, it fell into disrepair and was on the verge of being condemned.

Smith's son, Loren, decided to rebuild, opening the new restaurant in 2008 at the height of the building boom.

However, when the recession hit, it forced the bank to seize the Shrimp Boat in 2015.

'By The Sea' stepped in 3 months ago and bought the facility.

New Executive Chef Larry Eppler from Sarasota said he wants to take advantage of one of the area's greatest assets.

"I feel like all the seafood that I can get in this area, I'm going to get first. Then what I'm going to do is if I can't get it from this area then I'll ship it in from other areas."

'Gracie Rae's Bar' and the 'Salty Hawg Oyster Bar' will be combined into 'Barefoot on the Bay'; serving oysters, wings, fried seafood, and lively entertainment.

"What we're trying to do is... bringing them 'Barefoot by the Bay' that way we have a little part of the beach here in St. Andrews," said Hood.

There will also be a big emphasis on banquet facilities to include the old 'House of Bourbon' bar.  

"There's not a lot of facilities that overlook the water way we do. We also provide full service. We set up for you. We service your events and we take care of the breakdown," said Sales Manager Casey Suggs.

Next week, Shrimp Boat will be closed from Monday to Wednesday.

On Thursday the restaurant will be back open with an entirely new menu.

The public grand re-opening is scheduled for July 22nd, 11 a.m.

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