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Bigger, better back yard coming to Yucatan

December 2, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

'Tis the season for all things festive, so the timing of the backyard transformation that's underway at the Yucatan Beach Stand is perfect as far as owner Tom Kolar is concerned.

"We hope it will be done by Christmas," Kolar said of the construction of a new and permanent outdoor courtyard at his island-themed restaurant at 250 Old San Carlos Blvd. "We want our guests to be able to enjoy it during the holidays."

The area will be home to 20 tables that will accommodate approximately 100 diners. Up until now, only a handful of outdoor tables were available on a covered deck.

Article Photos

Tom Kolar, left, and his son, Tommy Kolar, admire the 25-foot-tall banyan tree recently planted alongside their business, the Yucatan Beach Stand. It will be the focus of a new outside dining area that can seat as many as 100.

Relocation of the establishment's parking lot is making way for the new courtyard, and its centerpiece will be an expansive 25-foot banyan tree that should provide plenty of shade. It was purchased from a grower in Tampa.

"It required a 40,000-pound crane to lower it in," Kolar said.

Other touches include the installation of several tiki torches and the laying of red brick that was imported from Barcelona, Spain.

"We want that old Florida charm they'll be lots of bamboo and you'll really feel like you're in the tropics," Kolar said. "Or maybe you'll feel like you're at Disney World."

The restaurant's inside will also see some renovation, as new sliding-glass doors will be put in place as a gateway to the courtyard.

"We want those sitting inside to still feel part of it," Kolar said.

Another inside addition comes in the form of a waterfall that will welcome patrons at the restaurant's entrance.

The new look should enthuse the staff as well.

"We're very excited it's nice to know we'll also get to enjoy paradise," said Darlene Russell, the general manager. "Anytime you get to step outside in the sun, even if it's for a few moments, it's a real boost of energy. To feel that breeze in your hair is so nice.

"Quite a few of us have been here since we opened our doors (in 2008) so we've spent a lot of time indoors."

Kolar said he took control of the property 10 years ago from his grandfather, who first owned it in the 1960s and constructed the current building to house a Pizza Hut restaurant.

It had suffered damage in 2004 at the hands of Hurricane Charley, eventually causing a three-year delay before the Yucatan could become reality.

"It's so great to see what it's become considering where we started," Kolar said.



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