Gecko’s Hospitality Group Family of Restaurants
Founded in 1992 by Mike Gowan and Mike Quillen
Mike Gowan was born at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, graduated from Sarasota High School and attended Manatee Junior College on a tennis scholarship before transferring to the University of Florida. After college, he returned to work and live in Sarasota. Mike has one son.
Mike Quillen moved to Sarasota as a young boy, graduated from Riverview High School, and also attended Manatee Junior College on a tennis scholarship before transferring to New College. He and his wife, Mary, have two daughters.
The two Mikes have been friends since 1970. They have been business partners since 1992.
Their motto: “You can’t buy friendship but you can find it at Gecko’s … eat, drink & be merry!”
The Gecko’s mission is to provide exceptional hospitality, fresh locally sourced fare with a gourmet twist, and a menu that is accessible to everyone. Gecko’s has long been a partner with Sarasota’s Honeyside Farms, a fourth-generation Florida family-owned sustainable farm, which coordinates their crop plantings to supply our restaurants with their delicious produce & fruit. The GHG family of restaurants also partners with family-owned Dakin Dairy Farm in Parrish which supplies our dairy products at all six Gecko’s locations, and at our Better Burger concept, Smacks Burgers & Shakes, which joined the Gecko’s family in 2013. In 2015, GHG acquired the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, a local gem situated on the coast of Sarasota Bay on Longboat Key and in May, 2016 Dockside Waterfront Grill on Dona & Roberts Bay in Venice became the newest restaurant sibling in the GHG family. Most recently in 2019, Signature Events & Catering made its debut as a dedicated catering and event venue located in the former space of the original Gecko’s Grill & Pub at The Landings. Mike & Mike’s Polished Casual, Local Seafood and Better Burger concepts are also joined by a legendary local Bar & Package store, The Red Barn Bar which complete the Gecko’s Hospitality Group family.
Family and community-oriented … they have a passion for what they do. Their ties to the community run deep, as does their commitment to making our restaurants the most family friendly pubs in the area. When asked about their businesses, the Mikes say, “The very foundation of Gecko’s was built on friendship and that remains a central tenet of how we run our business … enjoying longtime friends and making new ones every day.”
Gecko’s Hospitality Group Expands
Following the success of the original Gecko’s “At the Landings” which opened in 1992 and relocated after 25 years at that location to Stickney Point & 41, the Mikes have continued the Gecko’s good fortune and expanded Gecko’s Grill & Pub to the following locations:
Twelve Oaks Plaza (I-75 & SR 70) in 1998
Braden River Plaza on SR 64 in 2002
Palmer Crossing (Clark Rd. & Honore Ave.) in 2006
Southside Village (Hillview St.) in 2010
Fruitville Road (Fruitville & North Cattlemen roads) in 2014
Stickney Point & 41 in 2017
Gecko’s Hospitality Group has been creating economic stimulus through their restaurants and local sourcing since 1992. We currently employ over 600 Floridians.
Committed To Community
In addition to a substantial community involvement and charitable giving program, where Gecko’s supports hundreds of not-for-profits, charitable events, and philanthropic community endeavors, Gecko’s has concentrated our community giving within the schools. Gecko’s has been a proud Business Partner with dozens of Sarasota and Manatee County schools for years; it is our privilege to give back to our community.
Gecko’s is a key supporter of Sarasota’s Y Youth Shelter, which provides temporary housing and safe care for youth ages 10 to 18 who have run away, or who are experiencing family conflict, and Operation Second Chance, which is committed to serving American wounded, injured and ill combat veterans, Sarasota County 4-H Foundation, UniDos Now, No Kid Hungry, among dozens of other charities and philanthropies. We also proudly support the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Charitable Foundation, whose mission is to help law enforcement and their families who are experiencing extraordinary personal or family need.
Honors and/or Awards
Family-owned and operated since 1992, Gecko’s has been consistently awarded and honored with “Best of The Best” awards, including Best Happy Hour, Best Sports Bar, Best Business Lunch, Best New Restaurant, Best Burger, Best Fries, Best Wings, Best Ribs, Best Take Away, Best Dinner Under $10, Coldest Beer,Best Lunch, Best Bang for Your Buck, Best Place to Take the Kids, Taste of Sarasota People’s Choice Awards, Best Entrée, Best Appetizers … and more! Additionally,the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation honored Gecko’s by selecting it as a Florida Restaurant Neighbor & Cornerstone Humanitarian Award Winner for five consecutive years and as the National Restaurant Neighbor in 2017. The Restaurant Neighbor awards recognize outstanding restaurants around the country and honor restaurateurs who go above and beyond in community service. Their aim is to inspire other restaurateurs to get or stay involved in their local communities. Biz941 Magazine awarded Gecko’s Hospitality Group with the inaugural Greater Good Award for the Hospitality industry, recognizing those businesses who act upon their belief that they have an obligation to help the community that helped them succeed; and they not only believe this—they embrace it. In 2018, SRQ Magazine named Mike & Mike as a LocalPreneur of the Year, an award honoring trailblazers and innovators in our community.
Good Luck at Gecko’s – A gecko is considered a good luck lizard and, like our valued guests at the GHG family of restaurants, are welcomed whenever they go.