Within just a couple of months, owner Rick Knapp and his Nauti Turtle restaurant crew turned the empty shell of a building once known as Channel Mark into a completely nautical experience.
Longtime restauranteur Rick is proud to state his Nauti Turtle (19001 San Carlos Blvd.) will officially open for business Tuesday, Dec. 21.
Before even entering the newly modified restaurant, guests will see the tuna tower atop the roof, a signal that fun is ahead of your seaworthy adventure.
The Nauti Turtle owner Rick Knapp stands by the still-operable helm of a 1967 cruiser – one of the many great nautical treasures within the all-new eatery. Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
Stepping inside the establishment, a hostess greets you with a smile at the vintage helm of a 1967 cruiser. Nautical trinkets and fun treasures adorn the entire restaurant, offering its guests a very relaxed and comfortable feel.
"Everything has been updated and given a very nautical feel," owner Rick said. "As a matter of fact, our Bimini Bar on the outside deck will have one of the largest biminis ever made."
The Bimini Bar is just one of the three full bars the Nauti Turtle boasts. As far as the menu goes, steer clear for smooth sailing ahead, with plenty of unique and tempting menu items to choose from, all fresh-made to order.
"We have anything from appetizers, like peel-and eat-shrimp, grouper bites and wings, to sandwiches, salads and featured dishes from restaurants all throughout the country."
On a regular basis, the Nauti Turtle's well-stocked kitchen staff will offer a signature dish from another area, boosting their logo and their website, in order to give islanders a chance to experience something from another world without having to leave their own.
Other moderately-priced menu items include fresh pastas, steaks, lamb and seafood, with the most expensive meal costing only $17."
"We'll also have some very unusual types of pizzas, like mashed potato pizza," Rick said. "We wanted to keep our restaurant very beach-oriented with a very casual atmosphere."
Each and every day, the Nauti Turtle will offer food and drink specials, along with some "unusual" happy hours, and keep your eyes peeled for additional events and benefits this new kid on the block will have.
"We are going to be very, very involved with the community. That has been my philosophy since Day One," he said. "Right now, we are offering guests a chance to have a brick within our entryway engraved with a personal message for $100. Absolutely 100 percent of that $100 will then be donated to our neighbor, Goodwill. Hopefully we can get the whole front assigned with signature bricks by people all over the world and help out lots of our great local organizations."
Live music will be heard throughout the week during the evening hours of the establishment, and for all you sports fans out there, the Nauti Turtle isn't a sports bar, but they're proud to boast FSU, the Cleveland Browns and the Big Ten.
Enjoy catching The Game on one of their 26 large flatscreen TVs, peruse the gift shop that's well-stocked with Nauti Turtle memorabilia and handmade jewelry, arts and crafts made by local artists, and take in all of the great nautical trinkets and treasures that adorn the restaurant.
Rick lends a neighborly hand by making sure the walls of the establishment are lined with beautiful and one-of-a-kind pieces and paintings done by our local island artists, all available for purchase.
Once the sun goes down, the Nauti Turtle is illuminated with fabulous lighting inside and out.
"This place is absolutely gorgeous at night," the proud new owner said.
Once the new staff is comfortably settled in to the new nautical establishment, Rick plans to hold an official grand opening celebration in early 2011.
"Since we're so new, this will be an ongoing project, and we will continue to evolve for quite sometime," he said. "Come on down and see what the Nauti Turtle is all about."
Hours to the all-new restaurant and lounge are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. For more info, call 765-1100.