NEWS & AWARDS

Gecko’s owners buy Longboat landmark

By: Business Observer

September 24, 2015

Gecko’s Hospitality Group, one of the largest independently owned restaurant companies in the Sarasota-Bradenton market, has added another location to its portfolio: the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill on Longboat Key.

The Dry Dock, on Gulf of Mexico Drive, facing Sarasota Bay, has been a Longboat mainstay since 1989, when owners Cindy and Eric Hammersand opened it. The restaurant is known for fresh seafood, its extensive drink menu and expansive views.

Mike Quillen, co-owner of Gecko’s, says he and his partners have been in discussions with the Hammersands for several months about an acquisition. “We are really excited to add it to our portfolio,” Quillen tells the Business Observer. “It’s casual, but a little upscale.”

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Quillen says the Dry Dock name, menu and staff will remain the same when Gecko’s officially takes over Oct. 1. The acquisition also includes Dry Dock’s four boat slips.

Gecko’s Hospitality Group owns six Geckos’s Gill and Pubs, from one on Clark Road, in south Sarasota, to one on State Road 64, in north Manatee County. Gecko’s also owns S’macks Burgers and Shakes on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and the Red Bar Barn in Sarasota. The company, founded in 1992, has around 400 employees.

Quillen says in addition to the waterfront location, another positive in the acquisition is the service-first culture at Dry Dock mirrors the approach Gecko’s strives for. “They are a wonderful restaurant,” he says. “They do it right.”