World of Beer managing partner Dean Lambert said he had his eye on Eat Here’s building and approached the restaurant, hoping to take over its lease.
“I wanted that location. I loved that location,” Lambert said Sunday in a phone interview.
Eat Here’s downtown location was shuttered on Sunday evening. Signs in the windows announced the coming World of Beer.
As I wrote earlier, the Main Street World of Beer will be almost twice the size of other World of Beers in the region, and will feature a full kitchen serving tavern fare. The pub will have 40 to 50 beer taps and about 500 different bottles of beer, Lambert said. He said this WOB will be one of the more unique ones, with two stories and a rooftop patio.
“We’re going to get going as quickly as possible,” he said, and he hopes to be open by October for the beginning of tourist season.
Several restaurants failed at the Main Street site before Eat Here opened in 2011, but Lambert said he’s not concerned because the area is becoming “more of a destination place.” He said with McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre and Ker’s Wing House opening nearby -- along with new condos in the works -- the east end of Main Street is now more attractive.
“And we have parking,” he said of the garage that’s attached to the building.
Eat Here’s other restaurants on Siesta Key and Anna Maria Island will remain open, according to an advance copy of a news release.
"We are certain that the upscale, World of Beer craft beer and tavern fare offerings will be a welcome addition to Main Street and the downtown Sarasota entertainment district," Eat Here owner Sean Murphy said in the release. Murphy said most of the senior Eat Here staff will be offered positions at his other restaurants. Murphy did not respond to phone calls or an email seeking further comment.
World of Beer is also building a pub in Bradenton and expanding the bar on Tourist Center Drive near the soon-to-open Mall at University Town Center. Work is proceeding at the Bradenton site, Lambert said, noting that the building (a former bank) will take more work to convert to a World of Beer than Eat Here will in Sarasota.